If you are like almost everyone that I know, you have probably fallen into a habit of bringing in more STUFF than equals what goes out. This means that your home is filling up and becoming cluttered. I love helping others find their way, to a less cluttered life. After all, a less cluttered life means a less cluttered MIND. Many have even commented how it also means less anxiety! Who doesn’t want a part of that??
So, where should we start? your closet, the coat closet, the junk drawer or the pantry? these are the best places because we go into these spaces avery day.
We all have the odds and ends that are perfectly good, but we will never use. make yourself a promise to use it up in 1 month or to get rid of it. To accomplish this, purge your pantry. Some might even go a step further to purge it of the undesirables of junk food that you know you shouldn’t partake in, but will if it is on the shelf. back to the original plan, put all the “funkies” in a basket or bin. figure out how to use them and then do so. Put the date on the bin that is 1 month out. When the month is up, toss whatever is left. If you are bothered by the waste, donate to your friend or local food pantry. I have found that I have no problem giving a friend permission to toss something, even if I couldn’t. Since they didn’t buy it, or have any “but it was in the gift basket that so and so gave me”emotional ties to the product…they can toss easily! Shallow shelves with easy to see containers are the easiest way to go. you can see what you have and what is empty. We have 7 people in our family. I found that I didn’t need a HUGE pantry, just a well organized one. Really just so that i could see what i have and what I don’t. Ball jars became my Go To storage. It totally rocks! Here is another new idea… those wire shelves that the builder puts in are AWFUL! swap them out and make narrow shelves that go around the perimeter of the pantry. Hey look, you just turned a reach in pantry into a step in pantry! Bonus points!! These shelves were made with simple 1x4s and 1x6s (for the deeper needed items.) I used containers that a particular family favorite treat came in (anderson peanut butter filled pretzels, Costco has the big size) to hold all of our snack items. The kids can see what is available at a quick glance. saved the containers, peeled the labels off and then refilled with chips, etc. nothing gets stale either. And there weren’t expensive containers from “name your pleasure” store!
The Coat Closet:
Purge is the word! look at what is stored on the shelves, it this really the place for tools? is this really where you would first think to look for _______? if not, take it out. If it is, make sure it is easily accessible and easy to find. If it is really a tight squeeze, be sure that you WEAR all the coats that are hanging there. If you have one or 2 “Go TOs” do you really need the other 2 or 4? Let go of it (them), and give them away. If you store your skiing coats and stuff there, but only ski one time every year or 2, then find a new out of the way place to store that stuff. That will keep you from clogging up your daily life. Here are some good things to keep in the Coat closet by the front door: warm coats, rain coats, umbrellas, flip flops or clogs to slip bare feet into before heading out to get the mail, flashlights, dog leashes/collars/baggies, maybe 1 box filled with the “rush out of the door in case of a fire items”. For you this could be important documents (my friends in Florida have this in case of hurricane evacuation), for me it is our Christmas Stockings. They are that special. I can get a replacement passport, and I keep a copy of that stuff in a safe deposit box at the bank. Now Imagine your closet only having the essential items and not having things fall on you when you open the door…Nice isn’t it?
This is a real tough one. You will probably need to do this one in steps. Kind of like a 12 step program for decluttering. F
Step one: pull out anything that you pick up to wear and then put back…for the last 2 years.
Step two: pull anything that is button challenged (missing or don’t like), torn, stained (you really don’t need 10 t shirts for cleaning the house!, etc.
Step three: if you have owned it for more than 10 years, it is most likely out of style, with very few exceptions. If you are saving those work suits for when you return to the work force after the kids start high school, let go now. They will be out of style, and you don’t want to go back looking like someone from Little House on the Prairie in school marm garb.
Step four: do the same with shoes.
Step five: hang all clothes on like hangers (not the metal ones form the dry cleaners) AND in color coded order and by catagory (ex. all pants together, shirts together, jackets, etc). This will do amazing things for simplifying what chaos your eye sees.
Step Six: if you have it, use it. Most women surveyed said that they didn’t wear half the jewelry that they have. Below are a couple of simple ways to store your jewelry so that you see it and therefore wear it. Probably a good idea to purge here too. Sell some on Ebay. You can use simple command strip hooks or go fancy and hang them in pretty little shadow boxes. what ever you can do that works for you!
Hint: we don’t use chest of drawers in our house. They tend to mean that you have to leave the dressing area/closet to get certain pieces, and drawers tend to be too shallow to hold much more than underwear and swim suits. Instead we use shelves to stack shirts and shorts, bins or baskets for underwear, undershirts, socks and athletic stuff. This way you can have the right size to store like items. Just start somewhere.
Now you are off to a good start, more later. In the meantime, keep practicing these skills.
The Junk drawer: this seems to be an american staple for a catch all spot. It is actually okay to have a place where little pieces of strange things go. But if it is not necessary to keep or should be put in its proper place (like with the other screw drivers) then don’t toss it in here to clog up another space.
Now off you go to tackle some challenging places in your home. You will thank me later after you feel the rush of happiness and the freedom from the burden!