Perhaps you hold onto stuff “just in case” you might need it someday. This is a common behavior. There is some practicality to this thought…a bit of a waste not, want not philosophy. While I am all over that philosophy, many of us end up holding onto a whole lot of stuff that never ends up being “needed”, or worse yet, we don’t even remember that we have it.
Over time the “I might need it someday” stuff turns into clutter that doesn’t serve any purpose in your life. In her book entitled “The Happiness Project” Gretchen Rubin highlights eight of the most common kinds of clutter:
1. Nostalgic Clutter – relics of your past. Decide what is truly sentimental versus just a relic.
2. Conversation Clutter – useful products, just not useful to you.
3. Bargain Clutter – but it was such a great deal. It’s only a great deal if you use it, wear it or gift it.
4. Crutch Clutter – Things you keep but shouldn’t, like worn out clothing with holes and stains.
5. Aspirational Clutter – Things you aspire to use, but never do. This would fall into the category of DIY projects, learning a new skill or sport. Be honest with yourself, are you really going to use the ab-buster you bought on HSN?
6. Outgrown Clutter – This is the opposite of aspirational clutter where you’ve used something so much it no longer works or its seen better days. Probably the sweats you’re wearing right now as you read this article.
7. Buyer’s Remorse Clutter – Hey, we’ve all made those mistake purchases. Why have that reminder in your closet when someone else could be enjoying it? Isn’t that what eBay is for?
8. Forgot I Owned it Clutter – This sort of sums it all up. If you start to have so many types of clutter you can’t find the things you truly like and want to use.
Since today marks the first day of Spring (and the birthday of this blog author), what is a more perfect opportunity to sort through the “someday” pile or piles? Don’t we all want to be surrounded by things that add value to our lives, versus those that just take up space or represent clutter?
While it may seem daunting to start this task, the process is so cathartic I guarantee you will be thrilled with the results. If you can’t bear the idea of tackling this by yourself ask a friend to help. Who knows, it could even be fun!
Start small. Choose a small closet or area that you know needs your attention. Put on some music, dress in comfy clothes and grab supplies. You’ll need some trash bags or large shopping bags for lightweight and soft items, and boxes for breakables and rags for cleaning shelves, etc. Pull everything out of the closet or drawers and sort each item into categories. Designate areas of the room for each category: KEEP, DONATE, TRASH, and SELL.
Once you’ve categorized everything, decide how you want to organize what you are keeping. Will these items stay in the same place? Do the items need to be redistributed around the house? Do you need storage containers to make these items easier to find in the future? Think about how you can maximize the storage in the closet or space. Put like items together and label the containers for easy retrieval. Utilize the vertical space. There are so many over the door hooks and storage options that can maximize vertical space.
For the donation items drop them off at your charity of choice that day or call for a pick-up. Try to recycle any items identified as trash (paper, plastic, etc.). If you’re planning to have a garage sale, designate a space to store these items. Choose a date now for the garage sale. You don’t want to trade one kind of clutter for another by clearing out a closet only to dump everything in your garage until you decide to have a yard sale “someday.”
If you are selling items either on ebay or Craig’s List take photos and list them asap. Again, you don’t want to create new clutter that becomes another “someday” I will sell it pile.
As you go through this process remember that as you are clearing out the physical clutter you are also clearing away emotional and mental clutter, making space for the good stuff. So spring forward today, not someday!