Thursday, January 31, 2013
Sorting Your Stuff
Welcome back to my series on clearing out your clutter. Today I am going to give you some questions to ask yourself as you deal with each item in your home. But before I do that, you will need to have the proper supplies in front of you in order to make the process of de-cluttering easier.
You will need 3 containers in front of you - one for donations, one for trash and one for things that need to be put away somewhere else in the house. If it's paper that you are de-cluttering then you will need a container for recycled paper, one for documents that need to be shredded, one for paper that needs to be filed and a spot for an Action File (those papers that require you to do something).
These containers can vary with whatever you have on hand. Obviously a trash bag for trash and you could use a box or a clear plastic bag for donations. One tip that I have is to never use a trash bag for anything but trash. It is just too easy for donations to be mistaken for garbage and set out at the curb (trust me on this!). Personally I use two pop-up leaf bags to hold a trash bag and a clear plastic bag for donations. I bought them at Lee Valley. Laundry baskets are great for your put-away pile. They are easy to carry from room to room as you put items away.
You will notice that there is no container for items you are not sure about. I don't believe in a "maybe pile". Think of the term OHIO (Only Handle It Once). It's too easy to make a maybe pile that you never get to later. You are wasting your valuable time going over things again and again. Make a firm decision, even if it takes you a little longer.
Another thing that I am not a big fan of is yard sales. I find that they are a lot of work for the amount of money that you actually make. However, if you insist on having a yard sale then the best time to price your items is while you are sorting them. Nothing will make you put that yard sale off more than a garage full of items waiting to be priced by you. By having a pen and some stickers in front of you you can save some time and sanity.
Now here is a list of questions that you can ask yourself as you decide whether or not an item is worth keeping.
Does it have a home? - Everything in your house should have a home. If it doesn't then you either need to make a home for it if it is important or it needs to go.
Would this mean anything to my children if I died tomorrow? - This question was suggested by a reader and I love it. Especially for those whose children are older and may be faced with handling all of your stuff some day.
Next week I am going to share with you the number one tip that I have for finding the time to de-clutter your home. It made a huge difference for me and I hope that it helps you too.