Getting rid of the clutter in your life

Oldies But Goodies

By Sharon Perea

After all these years of “collecting” now may be the time to do some “disposing.” How to decide what we can really live without is a challenge. Let’s begin with obvious things that we’ve had so long, we don’t realize we don’t use it, like that old chair in the living room. It’s so low to the floor and too hard to get out of, so no one sits on it. The old mattress that gave you a back ache is now leaning against the basement wall. A favorite lamp sits broken in the garage waiting to be fixed. Meanwhile a new lamp with better lighting has taken its place. And that old freezer uses so much electricity and is almost empty because you don’t hunt or buy in large quantities anymore.

Electronics become obsolete so fast you end up with space filled with no longer wanted TV’s, cassette players, computers, and cell phones.

Getting the job done.

  Organization is a must in de-cluttering your surroundings. You need sturdy trash bags and cardboard boxes. Mark the boxes TRASH, DONATIONS, RECYCLE and SELL. Have zip lock bags for small items like jewelry, office items (paper clips, pens, etc.). Use a marker pen and masking tape to label and seal items.

A Good Place to Start

The bathroom drawers and shelves need close inspection. You will surely find expired medications, wrong color lipsticks, dried up tubes or crusty, sticky jars of something once needed. Get rid of those “just in case” remedies that you haven’t used for years. Old towels can be cut into cleaning rags.

On to the kitchen.

Cooking habits change as we get older.  Spices get old and lose their flavor. Crackers get stale. Some things in your cupboard are no longer a part of your diet. And how many pots, pans, and dishes do you use nowadays.  After all these years of playing hostess now those big holiday meals are prepared in your children’s home. Do you have six coffee mugs but always reach for your favorite one?

The bedroom – a big challenge

The closet is overflowing with all the wrong size clothes, outdated purses, ties, shoes that hurt your feet, socks and gloves without a mate. Costume jewelry may have a broken clasp or missing stone. It’s been years and you never did find that one missing earring.

If your body is telling you it doesn’t want to participate in certain sports, it might be a good time to let someone else use that tennis racket, bowling ball, motorcycle, bicycle, etc. There are other great ways of staying active such as walking, water aerobics, dancing, or exercise classes.

Papers everywhere

Your mail, receipts, bills, magazines may be found stacked on a counter, table or the closest flat area as you enter the front door. The surface of the “desk” is where you begin. Take everything off of it. Put back only necessities like computer, calculator, pens, date book, check book. Maybe you own a modern electronic devise that has all those features inside it, except the pen!

Shred or throw out old files and unfinished projects that are long forgotten and unnecessary. Don’t keep bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, credit card records, etc. any longer than required. Get rid of expired warranties or coupons, and directions for items you no longer own.

Can’t forget the attic or garage

Once a year items are usually found in the attic or basement. Holiday decorations are kept year after year. Some of them never leave the storage box .Are you really going to display it next year? Maybe some other household would enjoy it.

Garages are often used to harbor unwanted items from the house and yard. Broken rakes or brooms, cracked hoses, and broken flower pots. There are old useless tires stacked in the corner, alongside batteries that don’t hold a charge. Some worn out tools are still around even though they have been replaced with a newer, fancier model. Plastic containers hold rusty screws and nails. A row of cans contain only a smitten of their contents, always ignored when reaching for the new full can. Forgotten rubber gaskets are dried out or cracked. Oil and grease rags have been tossed in a pile.

Ways to help you succeed

  Don’t listen to your inner voice saying “but maybe someday.” Give each item a 3-question test. 1: Do you really need it? 2: Do you really like it? 3: Do you see yourself or family member ever needing or loving it? If you can’t answer yes to 1 of the 3 questions, toss it, sell it, donate it, or recycle it.

You have now succeeded in making room for “new stuff!”

Point to ponder: Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.

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