Decluttering and downsizing can be difficult. Here are some tips to get you going:
- Before you start, decide where discards will go and make arrangements: You may decide to take a few bags and boxes to your favorite thrift store. Conversely, you may need to contact a hauling service.
- Evaluate what will serve you going forward: Treasured memorabilia, special family heirlooms, the right furniture, age-appropriate toys, useful appliances, select housewares, your favorite clothes and footwear.
- Start with an area that’s easy for you: Storage areas likely contain items you don’t need often. You may want to save memorabilia for last.
- Move from quantity to quality: We use 20% of our possessions, with 80% sitting dormant. Do you like it? Will you miss it? How easy is it to replace? Do you frequently use it or wear it?
- Watch your visceral response: Does a piece of clothing make you feel like a million bucks? Or does it make you feel guilty for spending all that money and it never fit right?
- Curate memorabilia: Select one or two objects that serve as the BEST reminder of an event, a relationship, or time in your life. Would you try to save this in a fire?
Most of all, be realistic and be patient. You won’t go through a lifetime of possessions in one weekend. In addition, this can be physically taxing work. It may require lifting, squatting, bending or moving up and down stairs. You may encounter dust, mold and perhaps even critters and their leavings.
Next month, we’ll look at what to do if you are making less progress than you like.
If attempts to get decluttered and organized on your own don’t lead to the desired results, consider hiring qualified help. Professional Organizers help clients declutter, organize and take control of their space efficiently and effectively. The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) provides a convenient practitioner search tool at their web site www.napo.net .