Since we’ve been packing in the past couple weeks we’ve also been attempting to rid ourselves of the clutter that tends to accumulate, no matter how hard we try to prevent it.Â We really try to keep it to a minimum in the course of daily life but it sneaks up on us and suddenly I find myself with bbq tools that we inherited and have never been used, clothes that I haven’t worn in years, papers that are piling up, and all kinds of other junk.Â
I’ve discovered over the years that purging is good for the soul. It makes me feel so free.Â It’s nice not to be tied down to “things”.Â Especially things that just take up space but serve no useful purpose.Â Of course, my mother-in-law has accused me not having “a sentimental bone in my body” but this is not true. I simply like to be sure that things that I keep for purely sentimental reasons are kept to a minimum.Â
Here are some of my suggestions to reduce the clutter in your house.Â I’m no Martha Stewart but, in my experience, these ideas have helped:
- Always have a box or bag dedicated to items you are ready to get rid of.Â This way, if you notice something that you want to give away it doesn’t get forgotten and end up cluttering up your house for years before you finally remember to do it.Â When it is full, drop it off in the Community Living Bin or at the Salvation Army or another donation site.Â If you aren’t already on their list, sign up for Community Living (this is in SK) to come by your house every few months.Â They always call to ask if you have items to donate and they pick up all kinds of things.Â If you don’t have anything you just tell them and they’ll call you again in a few months.
- If you haven’t opened a box in more than a year you are probably ready to get rid of it (except special memorabilia items).Â People are always afraid to get rid of something in case they “need” it again some day.Â In my opinion, holding on to mountains of junk for the slim chance that you might need some small item one day is a waste of space.Â On the off chance that you do need something again there is almost always a way to borrow or buy the same object again.Â I’d go out on a limb and say that if you’re not sure you’re going to need something again chances are good you won’t.
- Use moving as an opportunity to purge.Â Move as little of your belongings to your new home oras possible.Â If you haven’t looked at or used something since you last moved, you probably don’t need it.
- Memorabilia is tricky.Â I think it’s probably fair to go through boxes of items that hold sentimental value occasionally just to see if it’s all still as “special” to you as you once thought it was.Â You can’t keep every piece of baby clothing or every drawing you (or your children) drew.Â You have to pick a couple things that are special and save those.Â Even better, for truly special object with an important history, find a way to display them.Â Shadow boxes, picture frames, decorative shelves, or whatever works. If it’s important to you, find a way to enjoy it on a daily basis rather than hiding it away in a box.
- Label, label, label!Â It’s so much easier to keep things organized if you know exactly what is in a box.Â It’s easier to go through and decide what you want and what you don’t and you won’t waste as much time trying to remember where you put certain items.
- Organize regularly when the mood strikes you.Â Even if it’s just one of your cupboards in the kitchen or the linen closet in the hall.Â It feels good and it will inspire you to find other ways to keep your home uncluttered and remind you of things you want to give/throw away.
So do I live by these principles?Â Not as much as I’d like to.Â But I know that I feel really good when I do.Â I don’t know if this will inspire anyone but I actually feel inspired just by writing this stuff down. So I guess it’s just a good reminder to me.