Ten Questions to Help You Let Go

give away bags

This person is letting go of lots of stuff!

Are you having trouble letting go and uncluttering?

At some point, I may want or have to move from my present home, and will need to ask myself some questions regarding what to do with all of my possessions. Whether you are moving or staying put, answering the following ten questions honestly will help you decide what to keep and what to let go of:

1. Do I use this item regularly?  YES  NO

2. If not, do I love the item?  YES  NO

3. Am I keeping this because I think I should love it?  YES  NO

4. Do I feel obligated to hold on to it?   YES  NO

5. If I let go of it, will it really hurt someone else feelings?  YES  NO

6. Am I holding on to this item because someday I will repair it?  YES  NO

7. Am I saving this ‘just in case’ I may need or use it some day?  YES  NO

8. Do I have extras (I never use) of the same thing?  YES  NO

9. Can I use another item that will work just as well?  YES  NO

10. Can I store something more useful in this space?   YES  NO

If, when answering these questions you found that you don’t like, will never use, will never repair, or feel guilty letting go of something, you’ll know that the item doesn’t mean that much to you. And, that it’s time to get rid of it, or give it away.

If you notice that you have a hard time deciding, or saying NO to particular items, put them aside and look at them in a couple of days. Then, ask yourself these same 10 questions, and you may be surprised that you change your answer from NO to YES. 

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

Do You Have a Clutter Problem?

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You know you have a problem with clutter when:

– It’s hard to part with items and clothing that you don’t use
– Your closets are filled to the brim and overflowing
– Stacks of newspapers and magazines are piled sky high
– You are embarrassed or ashamed to invite people over
– Your stuff is hindering your ability to function
– Your clutter controls you

You’d like to get organized without any help but:

– You just don’t know where to begin
– Anxiety, shame, fear, procrastination are some of your road blocks
– You may not be at the stage where you are ready to let go.

If you are ready; some tips for you to get organized on your own:

This process can be anxiety provoking, so TAKE BABY STEPS
Select one specific area you would like to un-clutter in your home or office such as the surface of a coffee table, or the top of the file cabinet. Take the items off that surface and sort them into five separate piles. Categorize the piles as: recycle, throw away, give away, charity, keep. Label five grocery sized bags, or plastic kitchen trash bags with the titles: RECYCLE, THROW AWAY, GIVE AWAY, CHARITY, KEEP. Then ask yourself:

Do I need this? Do I love this? Will I really use this? Am I willing to recycle it, throw or give it away?

As you make your decisions, put each item into the appropriate bag, and then distribute the items to their appropriate place. Be sure to reward yourself for taking these baby steps!

Continuing the organizing process:

If this process was doable and not anxiety provoking, keep choosing small areas in your home or office and repeat the steps until you have cleaned up the clutter. If it is difficult for you to even take the first step, think about contacting a Professional Organizer to help you let go and get organized.

To schedule a complimentary 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

Getting Rid of Clutter: Four Key Questions to Ask Yourself

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Here’s a New Year’s Resolution you might want to make!

To make it easier on yourself in the decision making process to get rid of clutter, ask yourself these Four Key Questions:

  1. 1. When did you last use this item? If you know it’s been more than 12 months, the item may no longer be really useful. Could you borrow or rent this item if you needed it in the future? Would someone else benefit from it? Perhaps you can trade it for something you really need. I have a little pull cart with a canvas insert for holding things that I bought at the Somerville Garden Club plant sale at least 5 years ago, and it’s  been in my attic used only once since I got it. Why am I still holding on to it? I know I’ll never use it again as it wasn’t that useful for my needs. Hmm, maybe I will use it at some point. My good intentions have been; I’ll bring it back to the club’s raffle or annual plant sale, or give it away to a friend for Christmas. Now that’s a great idea – a gift for the holidays! I better practice what I preach, and do this soon! So, if you are holding on to  unused things, get rid of them!
  2.  If you let go of your clutter, how much space and money would you gain? Think of the cost of a shelf that is full of unused books – $35 to over $100? And, think about the square feet this bookshelf takes up. Perhaps you are paying more rent or mortgage payments because you need a bigger space to keep everything. Or, maybe instead of renting storage space units, use the money to invest in your future, or donate it to a good cause. Remember that rental and home insurance costs more for every square foot you live in.
  3. What is the worst possible thing that could happen if you throw, sell or give away your clutter? As I’ve gotten myself organized over the years, I haven’t regretted selling or giving away any items that met these first two questions; has it been more than a year, and how much space and money would I gain. When in doubt, throw it out!
  4. What are you doing to stop acquiring more clutter? I used to collect decorative watering cans of all shapes, colors and sizes. Friends also bought them for me as gifts. Enough already! Finally, one day, I decided to give them to Goodwill instead of displaying them on my shelves to collect dust. I kept a choice few small watering cans, and now enjoy them with relief. If you collect cat or dog memorabilia or any other things, have more than you can manage, and are sick of the care and management of these collections, make that commitment to yourself to sell or give them away. Use the money you’d spend on acquiring them on donations to animal shelters or to another charitable cause. And, most important of all, make a promise to yourself to think about real values instead of just adding more clutter to your life.

I’d love to know the impact these four questions have on you as answer them ‘one at a time’.

Duplicate Buying

Popcorn duplicates.

 How many of you go to the grocery store, hardware store, clothing store, etc., and buy an item you think you need, and then get home and find that you already have at least one or two of the same item?

I’ve done this before. I’ll buy a bag of pre-popped popcorn and realize that I already have an unopened bag on the pantry shelf. This could be a good thing, as when I run out of the first bag, I’ll already have more popcorn. The same goes with the soap I buy. I think I need another package of soap and then find I have some at home.

If you do this kind of buying, chances are you are spending money you don’t need to spend, plus the items are taking up space on a shelf that could be used for something else.

Can you identify with this? Do you have a ‘what if I run out’ way of thinking behind buying in quantity? Are you afraid there might be a shortage and you won’t be able to get what you need? Don’t worry, stores are well stocked, plus most items can be purchased via the internet.

Or, ‘do you have so much clutter that you don’t know what you have’ on the shelf or in the closet because things are stocked so tightly, or piled up and covering up stuff underneath. And, once you buy the item you think you need, you find it at home and exclaim “I didn’t realize I already had this!”

To conquer this habit, the next time you are going shopping, take a photo on your phone of the pantry shelf or closet. While at the store, refer to this image and be aware that you already possess the item. Or, to keep track, keep a written/typed inventory of the things you buy regularly, and put a check next to each item you finish or use up. Or, tackle your clutter and let go of excess stuff so you don’t buy duplicates.

Let me know if you buy ‘extras’ and how you control this habit.

To learn more about how Judy can help you de-clutter your home, email her at:

ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

Crummy weather? Attack Magazine Clutter!

Too many magazines!

Too many magazines!

Ugh! It’s been raining for several days straight now. I can’t go outside to garden, or take a walk in the woods. But, I can do something useful. Like, attack all of my magazine clutter!

So, on this yucky, rainy, cold day, I plan to sort through the many gardening magazines and catalogs I’ve been holding on to. (YES, I have some clutter) In fact, I just looked under the table next to my couch, and in addition to the magazine rack in my living room that’s in plain site, I saw a magazine rack I’d forgotten was there! My goal for today is to recycle some, and give some away. And, to only keep a few of the most relevant magazines and up-to-date catalogs.

You can do the same on any bad weather day. Gather up all the magazine subscriptions you currently receive. Pull together all of those catalogs that have been laying around taking up space. Do you truly enjoy all of them? Are they a good use of your time? Or, do you let them pile up thinking you’ll read them when you have the time, but never do.

If not, call the magazine’s subscription office today to cancel any magazines you no longer want.

To cancel your catalogs: http://www.catalogchoice.org/

For each current issue you receive in the mail, toss old issues.

I think you’ll feel a bit lighter when you do this. Let me know the progress you’ve made on letting go.

Spring Cleaning and Organizing

kitchen junk drawer

“Spring cleaning is the practice of thoroughly cleaning a house in the springtime. The practice of spring cleaning is especially prevalent in climates with a cold winter. The most common usage of spring cleaning refers to the yearly act of cleaning a house from top to bottom which would take place in the first warm days of the year typically in spring, hence the name. However it has also come to be synonymous with any kind of heavy duty cleaning or organizing enterprise.” (definition taken from Wikipedia)

But, the question is: Will spring really show up this year? I’m beginning my spring cleaning and organizing even though it’s going to be 15 degrees overnight, and there are still some big frozen snow banks in Somerville. March is coming in like a lion, but hopefully, it will go out like a lamb.

Have you begun your cleaning and organizing for spring?

Here are some tips to help you get started:

1.  Thoroughly clean one room each week. If your home isn’t too big, this should take you to the end of April. Vacuum, dust, rearrange furniture, purge, and organize the stuff in each room. Yesterday, I cleaned my bathroom. Next week, I’ll give my living room a thorough go through.

2.  Sort through one shelf, drawer, box, cabinet and bin at a time. Keep it simple, so you do not get overwhelmed. I am going to sort through and organize a kitchen junk drawer (see photo of cluttered drawer above) that holds kitchen utensils, plus a lot of rubber bands and baggie ties.

3.   Practice the age old expression: ‘When in doubt, throw it out’.  If I don’t love, need, use, or want an item, I throw it out! Or, give it away, or recycle it.

4.  Don’t spend money, be creative and re-purpose the containers you already have! Look around and you will most likely find empty boxes, canvas shopping bags, or plastic containers for storage. I have a bunch of them up in the attic. You can also sort through and purge any full containers you have to make them re-usable.

5.   Take a few minutes before work or after work to recycle plastics, wash a counter, sweep the floor. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that life will be easier if you take on this task each day. It works for me.

6.  Don’t worry about following someone else’s system for cleaning/organizing. Use the system that works for you. My way may be different from yours.

7.  And, make a promise to yourself to not procrastinate. Get it done! I’m a big procrastinator, but when I get a household task or organizing project accomplished, I feel great!

Do you have any TIPS for spring cleaning/organizing that work for you? I’d love to hear about them.

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning/Clearing – Go Green and Re-use!

Reuse tiny boxes for storing jewelry

When spring de-cluttering and purging, re-use what you already have in a new way!

Re-use  tiny cardboard boxes (you know, the ones you can’t bear to give away because they are so cute and maybe you’ll use them someday?), old ice cube trays, or empty egg cartons for storing jewelry or other small items.

Or, instead of putting a used plastic flower pot into the recycle bin, clean it up and use it as a pen and pencil holder. Checkbook boxes can be used as drawer dividers. And, if you have items you don’t want anymore but are usable, giving them to a charity of your choice helps support the charity, and will be useful for the next owners.

Look around your home or apartment to see what  you can use in a different way. Let me know some of the green choices you’ve made!