What Do I Do With All My Stuff???Posted: July 2, 2020, 10:27AM
Do you look around your house and think "Where did all that stuff come from?!" Our house is small, and I have no idea how I managed to cram so much in such a small space! Since I've been working from home, I am constantly reminded of my need to get rid of some of my possessions.
A colleague is a professional organizer and she has some suggestions that might help with our kitchens. Our kitchens tend to get cluttered with dishes, devices, pots & pans, and any number of things. Think about your cabinets. Purge unused items, clear out the spice cabinet and the food storage getting rid of outdated or expired items, move heavier items to about thigh height and within arms reach. Try using baskets with handles, slide out drawers, and large labels.
Clothing and closets: Do you still have the size 4 pants that you haven't gotten one leg in since 1990? What about clothing you've not worn for over a year (or haven't even seen in over a year)?
Paperwork is another area that is difficult. There are some things we need to retain forever (birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, home deeds, etc). There are other papers we need to keep for a number of years (tax statements, for example) and there are still other papers we can get rid of fairly quickly (utility bills, etc). Google "document retention" for information on how long you need to keep your paperwork. Consumer Reports and Bank of America have information on record retention.
Consider donating for reuse:
Clothing - YWCA Boutique, St Vincent de Paul
Bedding (blankets, sheets) - animal shelter
Household items (pots, pans, dishes, storage containers) - Sophie Moses Free Store (Youth Services), House of the Carpenter, Catholic Charities
Towels, washcloths - House of Hagar
Crafts - nursing homes, assisted living, residential care facilities, schools
Ipods - nursing homes for Music & Memory programs
Eyeglasses - Lion's Club
Keep in mind that our children may not want those items that are extremely dear to us. Values change. Styles change. So much of what we hold on to is due to the emotional charge that accompanies the items. It was my great grandmother's wash stand or my great aunt's Jewel Tea. These things mean the world---to us---but not to other people.
Decluttering and downsizing is not just for "moving". We can do it now and feel that we have been productive. We can have more room and more peace of mind. Decluttering our living space also declutters our minds!
Sort your items into categories: Keep, recycle or donate, throw away. And do it!
You don't have to do it all in a day. Decluttering can be overwhelming. Set a time. Work on your area for a set amount of time, then quit and move on to something else. Go back to it later. Getting so overwhelmed that you can't face the task is not helpful. Be patient with yourself and work on your clutter in manageable time blocks.
If you are donating items, please check with the various organizations. They may have different times of operation, pick up, or limited times to receive items due to the pandemic. People still need items, and organizations are still helping them.
Get busy on that closet!!!