Clutter creeps up out of nowhere and before you know it, you are shutting the closet doors with your backside and ducking when you open them for fear of being knocked unconscious from something incredibly important that is stuffed up in the highest space of that top shelf-you just can’t remember what it is…. Most people want to declutter and organize their homes, but it is typically not that easy to accomplish. Decluttering can be overwhelming, time consuming and emotional, but fortunately the reward is freeing and gratifying for most people.
Some basic guidelines for decluttering are:
1. Focus on one thing at a time. Try one closet or room a week to prevent becoming overwhelmed.
2. Only keep items that you love, are functional or beautiful and bring you joy.
3. Every item has a home-make sure it stays there unless it is being used.
4. It is easier to give things away when you feel they are going to a good home or to benefit a good cause. Here are a couple websites to help you find new homes for your old things:
- Schoola.com is a unique site allowing clothes to be donated to raise real dollars for your local school. The site offers brand name labels up to 90% off! Just request a bag and fill it with items and leave for the postman. Schoola takes care of the rest. The clothes are sold at a discounted rate, and the proceeds go directly to fund important programs at the schools. 22,000 schools across the country are taking part and hundreds of thousands of dollars have already been raised.
- Gazelle.com offers cash for buying your pre-owned consumer electronics. The process is easy – just look up your old device on Gazelle.com and receive a cash offer. Gazelle sends packaging materials and pays shipping costs. Then just wait for a quick payment by your choice of check, Amazon.com Gift Cards or PayPal.
- ecoATM kiosks offers another way to get instant cash for old, unwanted, electronics. It’s easy to find one at many stores and malls nationwide. Simply plug an old smartphone or tablet into the machine and receive cash for it right from the dispenser! It’s also a great way to safely dispose of broken phones so they don’t end up in a landfill.
When the task is too much to take on personally, consider hiring a professional. They may work in one space, teaching you some techniques and motivating you to continue the process or declutter your entire home. Bonnie from Declutter and Design in Santa Rosa explains how she begins decluttering a room: “I think of rooms as being a bare or blank canvas. I like to have everything out with the exception of furniture, then add things back. This often entails discarding some things that are no longer useful. I work closely with the family to know what will work for them so it is very personalized.” She is very aware of the emotions that go along with sorting out a special space and works with her clients in a sensitive yet effective manner.
“By the time people want my services they have become acutely aware of how clutter is making their life unmanageable. Because of this awareness they become willing to make changes. Still, they may need to make changes in stages so that they don’t feel overwhelmed. I am very sensitive to this need. I find that as clients trust me they gain confidence in the process. Usually a client wants to be present. However, I would be fine with it if they wanted me to do it without them.
I consider clutter the excess baggage that we no longer love, need or have any use for. It takes up space that leaves no room for the new things, or the here and now. So, if I have a psychology or philosophy I would draw from my own experience. To discard that which is no longer useful, meaningful or joyful. To make room for new items, thoughts and ideas. While at the same time holding in reverence what still gives me joy, meaning, and usefulness and allow these things to express themselves in my environment. On a practical level, I want to keep my environment simple and easy to maintain while still having it be beautiful.”
Oprah Winfrey agrees with the power of decluttering “I’m not just cleaning my closet. I’m cleaning out my life. And I’m keeping only that which delights me or enhances my well-being. That means another big ol’ garage sale coming up: clothes, shoes, dishes, furniture, stuff!”
*Bonnie at Declutter and Design can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org