Spring is just around the corner, and it is the perfect time for a fresh start, the time to let go of the clutter in our homes that is weighing us down. Many of us have an over abundance of stuff that we no longer use. Prepare to live a little lighter and simpler beginning this spring by following these steps:
1. Do Not Wait, Donate. If you have many items you are holding onto because you want to have a garage sale or sell by another means, consider those that you are helping by donating your rarely and barely used items instead. Is the money you will make selling these items worth the time and effort it will take you for you to sell them? Is it worth the valuable space they are taking up? Lastly, consider the example you set for your children, when you donate to those in need. You can take it a step further and involve them in the process by asking them to donate some of their old toys as well. Also, remember that everything you donate is tax deductible.
2. Don’t Shop Impulsively. Before you bring anything new home, ask yourself three questions; will you honestly use it? Do you have a place to put it? And, most importantly, can you afford it? If you cannot answer yes to these questions, leave it at the store and leave the money in your pocket.
3. Limit Your Collections. I myself am not a collector, because well… it’s just stuff, and I can’t take it with me when I go. I like to say that I cherish people, not things. If you have several large collections cluttering up your home, consider reducing both the amount and size of them. Keep only those items you cherish the most. Too many collections make our homes look like stores, and lose their appeal. “Less is More” is the key phrase here.
4. Live Simply and Consciously. Fight the natural tendency to be materialistic. Be satisfied with what you already posses, rather than always seeking more material stuff. Contemplate the difference between what you want, and what you really need. Challenge yourself not to bring anything home this month other than the necessities. You’ll be surprised how much money you save. Read the book Living Minimalist, written by Joshua Becker. You may not necessarily become a Minimalist overnight, but it will definitely give you a new and improved perspective on how to live a simpler life.
5. Organize Strategically. Don’t try and organize the whole house at one time, as this will not only be overwhelming but it will be less rewarding at the end of the day. If you do a little organizing here and there, it’s hard to see tangible results. Instead, focus on one small area such as your pantry or your hall closet. Move onto another area only after you have completed the first. At the end of the day, you will reap the rewards of your labor every time you open your pantry door and see an organized space.
6. Don’t Shop Before you Sort. Because shopping for organizing products is fun, most people make the mistake of shopping too early. Be sure to sort what you have first, into groups of like items. Then purge what you no longer need after you finish sorting. If you complete these 2 steps first, you will have a much better idea of what you need and will avoid buying too much or the wrong organizing products. Use the prospect of getting to shop later as your incentive for getting the sorting and purging steps done first. You are more likely to complete your organizing project if you save shopping for later.
7. Establish a Donation Box. Keep a donation box in a designated location in your home year around, this will allow you and your family to toss no longer used items in, as they come across them. When the box is full, start a new box. This is a simple trick that will prevent unwanted items from getting shoved back into the drawer or closet.
8. Give Clutter Free Gifts. Gift certificates for restaurants or other experiences like game tickets, or movies are always well received. Offer to pay for a service that you know the receiver will appreciate, such as a massage or car wash. Even a gift certificate to a store is a step above a gift, because the receiver can buy something he or she really needs instead of getting a gift that may turn into unused and unwelcomed clutter down the road.
Written By Laura Coufal - Feburary 2015
Clean & Clutter Free
Laura is the Owner of Clean & Clutter Free, professional organizing services.