As I’ve mentioned before, I joined the 365 Items in 365 Days Challenge! And I have to tell you, it’s been GREAT! The Facebook group is full amazing, encouraging, positive people who make it easy to keep the momentum going. If getting rid of your clutter is something you struggle with, or if it’s something you’ve just been putting off, I strongly encourage you to join the challenge. It’s not too late, just hop on over to Hilda’s blog post here, and then head on over and join the Facebook group, you will not regret it! With all the decluttering going on, is it any wonder that I have clutter on the brain?
Getting rid of clutter is the first step to leading a more organized life. Now, I know what some of you are thinking, I’ve been in your shoes before. “I don’t have to get rid of anything, I’ll just organize it all!” As a recovering clutter bug, I’m here to tell you that just won’t work. You can sort it, shuffle it, stick it a box and slap a label on it, call it organized and yet it will still be clutter. Now it’s just hidden clutter. All the professionals and even the amateurs will tell you,
“Your can’t organize clutter!”
And I’m here to tell you they are right! I know, I know! I moaned and groaned and yes shed more than a few tears when I came to this realization. Because even though it’s clutter, it’s still our stuff right? And let’s get real for a minute, we’ve worked hard to accumulate it all. We’ve purchased, thrifted, and created items. We were given precious gifts that mean the world to us because so-and-so was thinking of us when they bought it. We’ve allowed items to be passed down into our waiting homes to make sure they don’t go to waste. Getting rid of clutter can be emotional, and if you’ve never really done a big purge before, it can be really hard, the first time, to know what it clutter and what isn’t.
The general rule of thumb is, if you don’t love, use it, or find it beautiful (and have ROOM for it) then it’s clutter. But uh, two of those are really subjective. What if I love it all, or find what I’m not using to be beautiful? It can be really tough to let go, so I thought I would share with you something that really helped me.
Enter the clutter box! All you need is a box, a marker, and a label or paper to write on. As you declutter, when you come across an item you’re not sure you can part with, or if you’re not sure you’ll need it, stick in the box. At the end of your decluttering job, close the box, but don’t seal it yet. Stick the label on top, and decide when it must leave the house. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time, say 30 days. Now, decide what you’re going to do with the box when the time is up. Are you donating the items? Selling them? Giving them away? Or they garbage? Mark it down on the box, and don’t forget to mark where it’s going or who it’s going too. Now, put the box somewhere you won’t forget about it. By the front door is a good spot. When the date arrives, don’t open the box, just seal it with packing tape and take it to where it goes. Mark your calendar, plan for the errand, whatever, but DO NOT reopen that box. (Unless you are selling the items. If you’re going to try to sell the items, I recommend taking pictures and writing up a product discription after you’ve declutered, and before you close the box. That way, listing them is super easy when the day arrives.)
The idea behind this is to give you time to a) think about the items, mull them over a little bit and b) to see if you truly miss those items. If you haven’t missed them in a month, then you probably won’t miss them if you pass them on. The only exception to this, is seasonal items. For seasonal/holiday questionable items, you can put them in a box and label it too, for the next time that season or holiday comes along. If you don’t go into the box during that time, let the items go.
To make it even easier, I whipped up some labels for you. Print them out, cut in half and attach to box. Simple, quick, easy!
If you’re still having a hard time letting go of items, don’t beat yourself up. It takes time to process sometimes. There are some things that I’ve found that can make it easier to declutter.
- Passing family items onto other family members. When my little niece was born, I went through all my boy’s story books. I’d been wanting to get rid of some, but since almost all of them were from when my brother and I were kids, I just couldn’t bear to part with them. I gladly passed at least half of them on to my brother so that he could enjoy them with his little girl. Total win, and it was so easy to pass them on. Spread the joy!
- A local crisis can be a great time to pass on items you no longer need. About 4 years ago, there was a massive fire in our town. A whole apartment building was left gutted. Families lost everything. When I heard that a local thrift store was accepting donations for anything and everything for the people who lived in the building, I went through our home with ruthless determination. Extra sheet sets, towels, the vacuum I never used, (we had two) spare dishes, you name it. Toys, teddy bears, I was a woman on a mission. And you know something funny? It felt good to have a purpose to passing this stuff on, and we haven’t yet missed ANY of it!
- The more sentimental items you hold on to, the less they stand out. I used to keep every gift given to me. I had a ton of items from my grandmothers who have all passed on, and I never wanted to let go of them all. But once I did, I noticed something amazing. I had spent years surround by items of ‘meaning’ and never really appreciated the meaning behind them all. With just the few items I have left, I find I’m more likely to stop and remember and appreciate that moment. Give your sentimental pieces the weight and honor they deserve by keeping only those most dear to you.
If you’re still not sure where to start. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then really think about joining the 365 Items challenge. All you need to worry about is 1, O-N-E, a day. That’s easy right?
What have you been decluttering lately?