How To Declutter

Clutter can really mess with you.

I am one of those kinds of people who cannot handle clutter at all. If there is a bunch of papers on my desk, clothes all over, shoes everywhere, dishes piled up, it makes my day just wonky. (do you like that word, “wonky”? My mother used to use it all the time) I can’t seem to really focus in a mess. Maybe that’s just my OCD, maybe there’s some real truth to that, I can’t say for sure. What I do know is that when I have a clear desk, no dishes in the sink, laundry all put away and garbage emptied, I am able to think, write, and study better. I am also in a much better mood, truth be told. Just ask my hubby and kids. NO, wait…maybe you should just take my word for it.

clothing mess

Decluttering isn’t that difficult, really.

It requires a different way of thinking about things, though. For example, do I really need 5 aprons? Sure, I love wearing them in the kitchen to protect my clothes, or when I gather eggs, or when I am cleaning and using the pockets to carry stuff, but do I need five of them? I can only wear one at a time, anyway. So, when I first began massive decluttering, I started there. I kept one cloth apron that I liked wearing the most, and one “rubber” one (it’s an old restaurant dishwasher’s apron that repels water) for when we butcher, or I have to clean the duck pools. And I donated the rest. Notice I didn’t save the fabric for projects later on, or tried to figure out how to upcycle them. In my case, at this time, hanging on to them didn’t mean I was going to actually get around to using them, they just took up valuable space.

When you start the cycle of removing clutter, ask yourself those questions

Do I love this? Do I find this beautiful? Do I use this at least 6 times a year? (this one is for seasonal items, such as camping, canning, and such) If you can’t answer “yes” to at least one of those questions, chances are you should let that item go.

Sell it, donate it, or toss it.

If you can sell the item, remember that it’s only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. No one wanted to pay retail for my year old Bosch mixer. I had to either continue to store it, or allow someone to get a “deal”. If you can’t sell it, but it’s still got life left, consider donating it. Get a receipt for a possible tax deduction (check with your local guides on that). And feel good about helping others.
If it’s not in good shape, toss it! And let it go. For good. It’s not doing you any favors taking up space in your home, forcing you to find room for it, clean it or around it, and mock you for not using it when you pass it.

For clothing, I love the turned hanger idea.

This is when every January, you take all the hangers in your closets and turn them backwards. As you wear clothing, wash and hang it back up, hang it normally. In June, donate all the clothing that is still facing backwards. Then, turn the hangers again and do the same until January. This will help keep the “just in case I lose/gain weight” clothing down to a minimum. You don’t need endless clothing that doesn’t fit, doesn’t look good on you, and you don’t like. There’s no room anywhere for that, really. Besides, that gives you more room for when you find that perfect shirt or dress you WILL love to wear often.

When it comes to appliances, one use items are out!

You don’t need to have a strawberry slicer, a tomato slicer, and an avocado slicer, do you? One knife will do all those jobs and more. If you can’t find more than one use for an item, it needs to go. You’ll feel better, trust me. If you can’t get rid of it right away, use the old trick of boxing it up, dating the box and storing it out of the way.

After 6 months, donate the entire box WITHOUT OPENING IT. You have either learned to live without it, or you have replaced it with something better. Just remember when purchasing new appliances, ask if it can do mutli-functions. If not, do yourself a favor and don’t buy it.

I remember when there was this “egg peeler” gizmo new on the market. My hubby was a total gadget nut and if it was “on TV”, then we had to have it. We spent $15 on this thing to peel eggs. It was the dumbest thing we purchased that week.

It must have taken us 3 dozen eggs to figure out that not only was it NOT a time saver, it destroyed the eggs as well if you didn’t use the right pressure. Then, there was the meatball roller…but we won’t get into that.

toy mess

We used this same technique with the kids for toys.

A month before their birthday, or a holiday they got gifts, we would have them donate 5 things daily. Sure, it may seem like a lot, but when you count each lego as one item, it’s really not much 🙂 The biggest thing we wanted them to understand was that they needed to be grateful for what they had, as well as be able to take care of their things. When there are hundreds of stuffed animals, thousands of legos, and other assorted toys, they tend to not get taken care of as well. Keeping the items down to what they truly loved meant that they played with them and got bored less often. In my opinion, many children get “bored” because they are overwhelmed with too many choices. This helped our family avoid that.

Getting rid of clutter will help you in so many ways.

You will find you have less to clean and can clean in less time, you have more space, and you will save so much money. Also, you may find that your creative juices start flowing better as you learn to “make do” with what you have on hand. It truly is freeing! What are some of your decluttering tips?

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