I am completely amazed at how quickly Boo, Boudreaux and I have accumulated an inordinate amount of stuff. Stuff that we don't use frequently. Stuff that we don't use at all. Stuff that “I think I'm going to use one day.” Stuff that “someone will want one day.” And far too much stuff that I no longer know why I bought or saved.
Even with my half-hearted attempts at decluttering several times in the past year, we still have quite a lot of stuff to toss or donate. According to two different articles I read recently, we could easily rid ourselves of thirty percent of our belongings and never miss them. Somehow, I think Boo and I could do without more than that. We'll see.
I've settled on separating our things into three piles: things to keep, things to donate and things to toss. That seems self explanatory. If I had more time, a yard sale or an online sale might be a good idea for some of the items that we'll be donating. That isn't something I've time to do right now. Another time, I would like to revisit the idea...especially the online sale.
Things to Keep
- Is this something that we've used frequently in the last year?Yes, then it's probably a keeper.
- If we haven't used it often, is it difficult or expensive to replace?Even if we haven't used this item often, keeping it may yet be a reasonable decision.
- Is the item in good repair?If the item needs repair, I have to make a quick decision about whether it would be worthwhile to keep and repair once we move or whether it would be better to donate or toss the item.
- Does this item have sentimental value?OK, I admit it. We likely have more sentimental things than we should and some aren't in good shape either. Still, they're important to us...emotionally at least.
Things to Donate
- Is this item in reasonably good shape?It doesn't have to be in perfect shape, but useable.
- Is this something that would be useful to someone at a different stage of life?When we moved once before, I donated over four hundred books. Many were children's books that we no longer needed. (The children already have the books they want and we saved quite a few for grandchildren.) I donated children's clothing, unused and duplicate kitchen items and DVDs. This time, I'll have many clothing items that we just don't wear anymore, audio books that Boo and I won't listen to anymore and other things that we just don't need.
- If the item is no longer useful for it's intended use, can it be easily repurposed?Felted wool or stretched cashmere sweaters can be reused by crafty people. Bits and pieces left from completed craft projects and broken jewelry are hot items in thrift stores around here.
Things to Toss
- Is this item damaged beyond repair?Don't think, just toss.
- Is this something unlikely to be used or appreciated by anyone else?My old lecture noted from school aren't likely to be appreciated by anyone and need to go. (Can you believe I've kept some of them over thirty years?) Macaroni necklaces and toilet paper roll crafts from my children need to go too...after they're photographed, of course.
- Is this something that I can store in another way?Like my father, I've accumulated some magazine and newspapers articles that I want to save. It's easy to scan or photograph them and toss the originals. I can save them on a flash drive and be on my way. Besides, I threw away most of the articles without saving them. I realized I just wouldn't reread them and they needed to go.
This time, I've set some rules for myself.
I set a timer and take breaks when the timer rings.
I put all trash in black bags. I can't see it. That helps. At meal times, I take all my trash bags outside.
All donated items go in white trash bags. I label each bag...large men's clothing, for crafts, etc. Not necessary, but it makes me feel better.
Sweep, dust and mop as I go. Sure I'll have to do it again, but it won't be as intense.
One of the reasons I hate to declutter...besides the fact that I'm a pack rat...is that I find it deadly dull work. Originally I planned to listen to an audio book while I worked. That didn't work too well. Instead, I've found myself praying.
Praying for those might need those things that we no longer need...as I pack things to be donated.
Thanking God for all the many things with which we've been blessed...when I feel overwhelmed by all we have.
Asking for discernment about what we really need...as I quickly sort all our stuff.
Thanking God for the blessing of my husband...as I sort and pack his things.
Asking for energy, strength and serenity for myself...as I sort and pack my things.
Isn't that just like God? Taking the deadly dull job that I dread, forcing me to work quickly and turning it into a blessing.
Yep, all those prayers I was begging for earlier are really working. Thank you...all of you...so much. Please keep them coming. I'm no where near finished and I'm still trying to arrange everything for the day we move.