It’s a new year. The time we take stock of our lives and make a fresh start. A great way to do that is by de-cluttering. The systematic discarding of years of junk is vital and cathartic. You don’t want – or need – to keep stuff. And you’ll feel better if you get rid of it. Plus, you can then put the stuff you keep in some kind of order.
One of the easiest ways to de-clutter is to create an organization plan. Figure out how you’re going to sort things – By room? By category? Or simply “Keep”, “Toss” or “Donate”? Make sure to include everyone in the family so that there are no hurt feelings.
Some de-cluttering guidelines:
- Toss – Old newspapers/magazines, ripped/damaged clothing, cracked dishes, anything broken. (Face it… you’re never going to fix whatever it is.)
- Donate – Things that charities need. i.e. Coats, bedding, toiletries, kitchen ware, storage ware, stuffed animals, toys, children’s books, old technology, sports equipment, even old building supplies. Check with your favorite charity to see what they need or will take.
- Sell – Gold & silver jewelry. Coins. Anything worth over $25. Stuff that looks like junk (old toys, pop culture memorabilia, travel posters, maps, bottles, old electronics, old rugs, ugly vases & lamps) may actually be worth something to a collector. Call in a professional appraiser to make sure you’re not cheating yourself. Once appraised, items can be sold at resale shops and yard sales.
- Empty all drawers, closets and desks. Sort paperwork, bills, mementos, and mail. Once you’ve sorted, get organized! Create a spot that’s just for paperwork & bills, and have a system for sorting things as soon as they come in.
- When you clean out the closets, have a plan for putting things back in. Buy a closet organizer. Shoe racks, over the door hooks, and shelf separators are all good ways to keep your stuff organized. Buy storage containers for large or out of season items.
Once you have everything de-cluttered and organized, make a concerted effort to keep it that way. Teach the kids to use their cubbies or hooks for their stuff instead of leaving it all over the floor. Have designated spaces for everything, and be consistent about putting things where they belong.