Organize + Energize: 10 Things You Can Toss Right Now That You Won’t Miss
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalWorcester Organizing Expert
If you’re overwhelmed and stressed and want to get organized but don’t know where to begin, let’s start with decluttering. You can move on to organizing later.
As you’re going through these items, think about why you’re holding on to them. Say it out loud. Do you reasons sound silly? Why are you holding onto things that you haven’t used in years? It’s just adding to the stagnant energy in your home. Close your eyes and let it go. Trust me, you won’t miss it!
At some point you’ll have to declutter these items. Let’s start with these 10 items:
Old sheets. Go through your linen closet. If you open the door and everything falls on top of you, it’s time to let some items go. How many beds do you have and how many sheets do you need? Once you answer that question, it will be easier to get rid of these items.
Dead plants. The word dead is your cue to toss them. They represent death and weaken the energy in your home. If you can nurse them back to life, put that on your to-do list and start paying them some attention.
Books you haven’t referred to in years. Go through your bookshelf and really take a look at what’s there. Be honest with yourself. If they’re in great condition, libraries, schools, senior living centers, etc. are always looking for donations.
Dusty magazines. If they’re dusty, don’t give them a second thought. Chances are you aren’t going to curl up on the couch and read them this weekend. Let them go, let them go!
Phone books. If you have a smart phone, you probably haven’t used a phone book in years. The minute I receive mine, they don’t even make it in the house. Gather them and take them to the recycle bin.
Take out menus. Unless you don’t have any internet access, let go of the take out menus. Are they scattered all over your home? If you were to go to look for one, would you be able to find it?
Old nail polish. If you have dried up, crusty nail polish, it’s time to say goodbye. Why are you holding onto it? This is one thing you definitely won’t miss.
Occasion dresses from the 90’s. You know who you are. Do you have pictures from the events where you wore these dresses? Is that enough for your memories? You’re not offending anybody by getting rid of these dresses. Are you planning on wearing one to the next wedding you have to go to? I didn’t think so. Grab these dresses and make room in your closet for your current clothes.
Business cards. This is a problem for so many people. Everybody has stacks and stacks of these cards. Nobody ever refers to them! Connect with people on LinkedIN. Put important numbers in your phone and throw them away!
Gifts that have never been used. This is a tough one for so many people. You receive a gift that you really have no use for and decide to put it in the back of a closet or throw it on a shelf in the basement. Your friend will not feel bad if you get rid of it. Don’t be that person that has a room full of these items that never get used. It’s ok to let these items go. You won’t miss them because you’ve never used them.
Start with these 10 items and take note to how you feel once you’re done. Are you energized to move onto other areas? Let this be the catapult for you to make this your year to declutter and get organized. Start small and then move to bigger projects!
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.
Paper in any form
This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.
To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.
When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.
This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.
The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization. Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.
Office at work
Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.
If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.
Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.
When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.
This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.