It is no secret that I have fully embraced a minimalist lifestyle. I have spent nearly a year going through our house, garage and storage and throwing out, giving away and selling things no longer needed.
NOW, is the time to say “goodbye clutter, hello money”.
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Let me share with you the system I use to make it a easy process and to get things done.
- I set out several Rubbermaid totes in one central area.
- I then mark each one GIVEAWAY, DONATE, TRASH and SELL.
- Next, I pick a room to get started. I usually start somewhere I can see fast progress. Progress will keep you motivated! So, for example, in the laundry room, I go through every drawer, every cabinet, counter tops, etc and use my system. Make sure you get the things like boxes you have been saving (for whatever) and unmatched socks. Either use those socks for cleaning rags or toss them out. This is where I say we are not keeping anything that is of no use. Most people have a hard time parting with something because “they may need it later”. I use to be the same way, but here is what I have learned about that. Most times, I set stuff aside for later use and then I can never find it when I need it OR it is not where I remember leaving it. Anything like that can be replaced at the dollar store. For example, I am a crafter. I see things like toilet paper rolls and old bottle caps as “crafting items”, but in reality, this is the first steps in having a cluttered space and leads to hoarding.
- Next step, is to go room by room using this simple plan. Give away, trash, goodwill or sell. That’s it, no matter how bad you think you want or need something. Let me stop right here and say I am not talking about things like photos, special mementos from your children and things of that nature. Those things are important and have significance and I will share a post with you later about how to tame that kind of clutter.
Do not feel overwhelmed by this task. This is something you can work on for however long it takes. If it feels like it is too much, set a goal. Whatever your pace, it is getting done. Looking back now, I can’t believe I actually paid for two storage building to hold onto things I thought I needed. You too? Well, I justify that by saying, we are not the only ones.
According to Slate.com, One in 11 American households own self-storage space—an increase of some 75 percent from 1995. Most operators of self-storage facilities report 90 percent occupancy, with average stints among its renters of 15 months. Last year alone saw a 24 percent spike in the number of self-storage units on the market. My question? What are we holding onto that is so important?
According to that same article, no other country in the world spends as much on consumer goods as America. It’s never been so easy for so many to amass consumer products. And who doesn’t take pleasure from owning things? But living in a land of wants, not needs, creates its own dilemmas, as evidenced by the concurrent rise of stores like Hold Everything and the Container Store—STUFF TO HOLD YOUR STUFF! Note the curious growth in the “home organization” market: reality shows like Clean Sweep and magazines like Real Simple,or, more strikingly, the robustness of the National Association of Professional Organizers, which saw a 50 percent rise in membership in the past year.
I’m not saying there is no need for the home organization market because clearly, there is. I am a professional organizer. I love to organize things, but there is a difference in organizing things to help us find things and organizing (hoarding) a garage full of stuff.
- Last, it is time to take the Rubbermaid to where they are going. Do NOT think about it or wait weeks to take to goodwill. DO IT AS YOU GO! One thing I love about living in the city is someone is always willing to take your stuff for free. I live on a busy street in Memphis. I simply set all the stuff on the curb and put a FREE sign and within a matter of hours, sometimes minutes, my things disappear. This is great in the fact, it keeps it from landfills. Also, donating it to places like Goodwill, you can get a tax receipt for donated goods for your taxes. I try to do whatever is good for the earth and it helps others out as well.
There you have it!
What are you doing to tame your clutter? Do you have any good tips/tricks that I forgot to mention?