Friday, December 5, 2014

Conquer Clutter: Organizing and Decluttering are NOT the Same Thing

As the year comes to an end, I find that I like to get things in order before the new year.  When we had small kids, we would go through toys and donate some before getting new ones for Christmas.  It is a good time to take stock of what you have: clothes, papers, etc.

My husband keeps our filing cabinets very organized.  I can find anything I need right away.  Even though they are perfectly organized, we have more papers than we need.  There were a few more tax returns than we needed to keep that could be shredded, credit card statements that were older than we needed to have on hand, extra years of bank statements that are not needed, quarterly retirement reports that could be shredded and just keep the annual report, etc.  I looked online at several different places to see how long we need to keep records, statements, etc.  I compared a few and went with the more conservative estimates.  Why keep stuff that we no longer need?

Many times we think that if we have things organized that they are decluttered.  Organizing and decluttering are two different things.  An example of organizing would be to take all of your craft supplies, buy containers to put them in, and organize it nicely into the containers.  An example of decluttering would be to go through your craft supplies and keep only what you will need and use.  Then put your reduced supply in a smaller space or container that you already have on hand, and get rid of the other boxes, etc. that you used to have stuff in that you don't need or use.

Think about something around your home today that you have more of than you need.  Get rid of the extras that aren't used.  It will free up space for the things you do use and make them easier to find when you need them.  It is easier to do a good job taking care of things when you have less things to take care of.  Do you have extra cleaning supplies you don't use?  How about make up or personal care items?  How about half bottles of shampoo, body wash, etc. that you don't like?  How about extra papers you don't need in your filing cabinet?  How about extra clothes that don't fit?  How about kids clothes or toys they don't use or wear?  How about Christmas decorations?

Take your extras to a consignment shop, sell them online, and use the money towards Christmas if you want.  Donate the items to others in need who would be able to enjoy them.  It is the season of giving, so why not give yourself a gift by getting rid of the things you don't use, want or need and give others a gift by letting them enjoy your unneeded, unwanted and unused items.

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