As I mentioned the other day, I’m going over our entire house trying to get rid of unneeded belongings. My biggest noticeable accomplishment so far has been working through the closet under the stairs; I was able to get rid of three large boxes worth of things, so there’s a lot of extra space in there now. (So much so, in fact, that Jack wants to move into it, à la Harry Potter—I say that’s just fine. I’d love another spare room.) Although going through the garage storage was a bigger accomplishment, there are still too many piles of things to be moved elsewhere to see it as a FINISHED project. But the closet! The closet! Look what I did to the closet!
Another thing I’m proud of is getting rid of about 50 friggin’ bottles of craft paint. You know, the ones that cost about $1 on sale, and multiply, I’m pretty sure, as they sit in storage boxes for years. Those. I tossed all the almost-empties and dried up ones, and sorted the rest for donation or sale. I now own NO craft paints. When I need some, I will buy some. So there.
There have been lots of things like that in this de-cluttering process, and that’s what motivates me to keep going. In fact, that reminds me that I need to contact April about the banker box full (yes, FULL!) of diskettes I found—she works for a technotrash recycling company. I wonder what they’ll recommend for the four dusty laptops in my garage. And the 79 serial cables. And the 326 telephone cords.
One rule of thumb I’ve been applying to this huge task is the I-haven’t-seen-or-thought-about-or-needed-this-item-in-at-least-a-year one. It works—sometimes. But it doesn’t apply to everything, so last night I browsed the ‘net looking for ideas to help us thin down our possessions (especially with Katie, because the screaming doesn’t seem to be working). I found one site that recommended just two rules: the above rule, but with six months instead of a year, and simply getting rid of 10-15 percent of all belongings.
This means that if Katie has 300 stuffed animals, she would chuck 30-45 of them. I LOVE that idea! She does not.
There are tons of sites out there with tips on de-cluttering. But I’d like your help. How do you decide whether or not to keep things? How do you decide when it’s time to get rid of something you’ve had for a long time? Generally speaking, what’s your best advice for de-cluttering?
Winner of the best suggestion gets my undying devotion. You can’t buy that, Pal.