Neighbor.com has an awesome blog post about Marie Kondo, who, according to Neighbor.com is “one of the most prolific organizers of our time, might just have the best advice for how to get rid of things”. Her philosophy? “Can you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a closet or drawer that you have forgotten its existence? If things had feelings, they would certainly not be happy. Free them from the prison to which you have relegated them. Help them leave that deserted isle to which you have exiled them.” There is so much truth to this!
But, let’s be honest about holding on to things. What does the thing mean to me? What is the emotional connection to this item? Another fantastic article written by Silversolutions.com discusses having to pack up or declutter the family home. The one you raised your children in. Lifelong memorabilia. You haven’t touched it in years, but the emotional connection is great. Dictionary.com defines decluttering as to “remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place)”. The point is: we don’t have to throw them away! Decluttering is an entire process used to remove the things we do not need and organize the rest to make a space that is open and free of unnecessary items! So, you ask, “But, how do I do it”? You have to be prepared with your “hows” and “whys”. Are you moving or just doing a spring clean? Do you need to secure storage or perhaps even a dumpster? Do you have packing materials and all necessary items to jump in and get busy?
First things first: Let’s break it down and begin the process.
- Expired food items should be the first thing to get rid of. I wrote a blog here about what NOT to put into a storage unit.
- Mismatched plastic containers and lids (you know you have an entire cabinet full of these….the nightmare trying to find the right lid.
- Broken dishware (even if it is your favorite)
- The entire drawer devoted to condiments, plastic forks, straws, extra napkins. You don’t need these things I promise. (Megan’s Moving mentioned Marie Kondo in this article as well – she must be on to something!!)
- Small appliances that you haven’t used in ages
- The coffee cup collection
- The water bottle collection
- How many tongs does one family really need?
Anything broken, mismatched or in excess should be discarded. Usually these items will need to go in the trash, but you can recycle small appliances – go HERE to learn how.
- Extra bedding
- Thin out the seasonal items (coats, scarves, gloves)
The bedroom is a great place to gather items to donate to Goodwill. This is also a great place to START when you are in the process of decluttering. I don’t know about you, but I am likely not going to be able to wear the jeans that I wore 20 years ago. It may be time to let those babies go….
The bathroom is really a no brainer. You’ve got 16 shampoo and conditioner combos that are mismatched and half empty. One of two options here: combine all the shampoos and all the conditioners into one or two of each and use for camping, as extras, or to wash the family dog with. OR – just throw them away! But, for real, here are things that should be audited to be thrown away from the bathroom:
- Cosmetics – these do actually expire. Check the date, if there is one, or group by items that you currently use versus ones you used to use.
- Linens and towels. You *CAN* donate these items if you would like, but throw out the ones with stains, tears and rips. I know the purpose is to declutter, but old linens and towels also make good rags to use for the garage or in the garden.
- Hair styling appliances (if you don’t use it, let it go!)
- Medications – This is what the FDA says about disposing of certain medications. We all know the safety reasons – let’s be responsible with cleaning out our medicine cabinets
- Toiletries. Keep what you need for travel and the like, but trash the things you won’t use in the future or that you have in excess. Did you buy 1600 rolls of toilet paper during the great toilet paper shortage? Perhaps you should consider some storage for all that extra TP. We don’t want to waste that commodity!
Here is where we get heavy. The family room. Where all the family has all their items all crammed into one area. So for this room we are going to have to be conscientious of other people’s things. This is the room that gets the majority of use as a family. This is where the kids start in the hallway and try to jump onto the chair via the couch to grab the remote. The stuff in this room is used frequently!!! Throw away anything broken, uncleanable, missing parts, or just no longer used. Take the kids toys and put them in a box for the kids to go through. Go through all the books, CDs, movies, games, cords, electronics, magazines, etc and either recycle or donate them. Even your pet items – old toys, old bedding – anything stinky. Outrageously large furniture pieces may reside in this room: do you want to move that with you? Will that fit in my new place, or do I have room for this item anymore?
So when do I get rid of all my stuff?
Well, that depends on your end game. Are you moving or just decluttering? If you’re just decluttering, your time limit is decided by your goals. As I had mentioned prior, start with ONE ROOM. Make that room your priority “right now” until that room is done. If you are moving, you may be on a tighter schedule than just decluttering for your own peace of mind. Forbes wrote a quick guide to decluttering and purging before a move. This might be a good time to check in to a storage facility near you. At R&R Self Storage of Jasper we provide the solution to your storage need. But why do I still need storage if I am decluttering. The fact of the matter is, Americans have too much stuff. Don’t believe me? READ this article.
The hardest part is just getting started. Just taking that first step – making the list of the rooms you’ll start with, and starting there. Dedicate your day to that one room. Find someone to help with the kids that day so you can complete the ONE ROOM – this will help motivate you to go to the second room, and then the third. Perhaps tackle the room that you use the least – a spare room? Closets? Other people won’t be affected by your purging in these rooms as much as they would, say, their own room or the kitchen where time is still spent together.
As daunting as it all sounds, decluttering and moving are a chance to start anew with areas that are organized and clean. Storage is always an open-ended solution when moving or purging. Month to Month leases make it easy and affordable to grab yourself a storage unit so you can keep the items you want to keep while purging the items you no longer need.
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