Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Clutter Be Gone

I have been taking extra moments here and there to go through boxes and bins in the basement. We are attempting to prep the area for a possible new bedroom, bathroom and laundry area. Those details have yet to be determined and scheduled, but in the meantime I plan to make space and clean house. It has proven beneficial so far. I have several extra and empty bins just lying around. Our outdoor trash bin is full and it only gets picked up on Friday. That's several days yet of garbage and we share the bin with our neighbors (to keep costs down). You do the math.

Anyway, I was forwarded this blog and ran across this posting about How To Clutter Your Home. There are 15 suggestions here for sure ways to add clutter chaos to your living space.

One particular thing I have done in the past is label or set something aside because of its assumed value for the family down the road. Most of these things are actually something sentimental, that I want us all to share in at some lovey dovey sentimental time in the future. But, let's face it. If I really don't need it now, there is very little chance I will absolutely need it in the future.

And, one thing I am convinced of lately is the need for practicing and perfecting our story telling. We can "hand things down" with a rich oral tradition. No need to store the stories anywhere but in our heads. Sure, some details may be changed or altered, intentionally or not, but that's part of the fun, I think.

Not everything is garbage material. It seems there is a reasonable amount of things you ought to keep for their value of holding memories and sentiment. But, I think much could be weeded out and turned into a really good story.

I also find it is hard to get rid of things I no longer use but paid good money for. I like calculating in my head how cheap an item is now based on the years I have owned it. But, nothing is cheap enough if it takes up space and just sits there. Ask yourself, "When was the last time I used this?" If it was over a year ago, pitch it. Give it to someone who can use it. Give yourself permission to part with those things your household no longer uses and needs.

I have also found it helpful to have a goal in mind when looking at a space. I picked a shelving unit in the basement, looked at Ben and said, "I will empty that shelf and we can either get rid of it or move it to the garage where it will be used better." It was helpful to imagine the shelf empty and to make a new plan for it. I did get rid of everything on it, either re-locating to a more efficient and convenient space or disposing of it. The shelf is now my "garage sale" spot for collecting items to be sold and then will be officially empty at the end of May after the sale. And ready for a new home.

Tackling small spaces like a set of shelves or even one shelf of a closet can be liberating and helpful in the long run. Most of us don't have the luxury of lots of time at once to tackle big projects. But, over the course of a few weekends, one could substantially alter for the better those pesky spaces you'd rather close off and pretend are not there.

Even the small stuff adds up. Recently I got rid of several paper clips; return address labels I will never use; manuals for appliances we no longer own; the Spanish version of manuals for the girls' cameras; a beautiful vase we received as a wedding gift, but no longer need; a coffee mug (how many do you really use at one time?)...all of this plus more added up to a lot of clutter.

So glad it's gone.

I doubt I will ever miss it.

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