Out With The Old

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hunting down storage space around the house has been a quest of mine since the birth of my second child. We don't have a lot of square footage to begin with and we seem to constantly be acquiring new stuff. This is never more true than right after Christmas. We come home with our car packed to brim with new things to shove into our overstuffed house. Well, this year I decided that we were going to get out in front of this problem. After all, what good is it to have nice things if you can't find them?

So I took to sorting through our old stuff. I do this every year, but this time I was brutal. I wanted the clutter out! Here are a few guidelines that I used:

  • Disengage From Sentimental Feelings So often I get caught up in what an item means to me. I have a box of truly special things, like my son's first onesie and the kids' artwork, that I will never touch, but every thing else went through the ringer. If I hadn't seen it, used it or wore it in 2010 and I couldn't make use of it in the immediate future, it got tossed. Sure, I may miss that sweater I was wearing when I met my husband, but the real keepsake from that day was the hubby not the outfit. And its not doing anyone any good packed away in my garage.
  • Assess True Usefulness In addition to nostalgia, I am also a sucker for re purposing. I keep many items around my house that out live their usefulness because I think that they have potential to be used for something else. But instead of putting them to use, I pack them away in boxes. Again I followed the rule of thumb, if we hadn't used it in 2010 and I couldn't put it to immediate use, it was out.
  • Assess True Value I junked anything that was chipped, stained, ripped or broken. So often I hang onto things past their prime, because they used to be so nice and I am too cheap to replace them. So I pretend that they are still nice, but really that stained silk tablecloth wasn't fooling anyone. I also got rid of any clothes that I liked the idea of, but not the actual item. You know, the dress that looked great on the hanger but just doesn't fit right. So you think I have this amazing ABS dress I can't get rid of it. But it will never be worn, because every time you think of wearing it you remember that it doesn't fit right.
  • What They Don't Know Won't Hurt 'Em I sorted through our toys while the kids were at school. This was not to sneak one by them, rather just to avoid unnecessary melt downs. When my 6 year old helps me with this chore, he wants to hold onto everything-from happy meal toys that are several years old to his old teether toys. Most of these things he doesn't even remember he has until he sees them because they have been socked away in the bottomless pit of a toy bin for the past year and a half.
So now after 2 days of purging, I emerge feeling refreshed, renewed and about 7 garbage bags of junk lighter. Sure, I may have to buy a few odds and ends that I may have been able to re-craft, but that cost is well worth the fact that I now have a clutter free house.


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