When you look around your house and all you see is stuff, you may find yourself asking “why”? Why do I have all of this stuff, most of which has absolutely no purpose in my life? Sure, we like to decorate, we like to collect, we hold onto mementos, and we even hold onto every little thing our children make for us. My rule, if it doesn’t have a purpose and it doesn’t have a home then it is GONE! That should be your rule too if you ever want to take control of your home back from that clutter monster.
De-cluttering is not just about cleaning house though. It is also about cleaning your mind. When your life, and home, are filled with clutter you get stressed more easily, you may suffer from anxiety and headaches, and you may even suffer from bruises and broken bones from tripping over all of that junk all the time. Rules. We need rules in life for everything. Rules or some sort of instruction manual. Well, if you’re too lazy to go buy a really good book on cleaning up your clutter then at least my simple article of what I do might be able to help you!
Papers are important. You have school papers and work papers and tax papers. BUT, you don’t need to keep all of them forever. Tax papers only need to be kept on hand for seven years, so if you have any that are old than that, shred ’em. School and work papers, depending on what they are should be kept until your are finished with and have paid off school, or have finished that job and gotten your last check already. Papers for your vehicles and homes should be kept while you are in possession of said vehicles and homes. Art your kids drew in kindergarten and they are in their thirties now? Find a home for it or let it go. Ask the kids if they want their old stuff. Design a scrap book of all of it and gift it to them some holiday.
Your closet is getting full. Where is that black mini-skirt? Well, if you haven’t worn it in the last six months chances are you never will. Donate it to Goodwill ™. One of the great tips I read in a book some time ago was to turn all of the hangers backwards in your closet, then at the end of the month the hangers that haven’t been righted, because you wore those clothes, bore the clothes you did not wear and could thus be gotten rid of. Great idea, I suggest you do it. And maybe try a similar trick with those eighty pairs of shoes!
Okay, I am not going to clean your whole house for you, so my last rule of thumb is that if it doesn’t have a home, give it a new one, outside of YOUR home. You spent time collecting all of those cute little animals and now they sit in a box. They either belong on a shelf, displayed for everyone to see, or they belong on a shelf at the thrift store. Money wasted on junk that sits in boxes in your house is money wasted for nothing. Stop collecting. I make it a rule to only bring things into my home now that serve a purpose. Does a porcelain doll serve a purpose? Not at all, ever. So get cleaning and good luck!
Don Aslett’s ‘Clutters Last Stand’ and ‘For Packrats Only’