Facing a move where the cop and I are going from 2 separate living spaces to a small 1 bedroom has been daunting. Thinking about the move has made me realize just how much stuff I own. After a bit of reflection I can admit that I am one of those people that needs to hang onto things. It really bothers me to give away something that is useful, even if I haven’t used it in a year. That being said, you can really only amuse the hoarding habit if you have the luxury of a home with storage options. A basement.. maybe a garage… even a little attic space helps. The challenge that we are facing is that this apartment, for which the cop is tied in by lease, has a whopping total of 2 closets. 1 in the bedroom. 1 in the living room. There is no linen closet, hallway closet, or alternative storage area.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is a good enough size apartment. But when you are squeezing two peoples’ belongings into just 2 closets (and no they are not walk-ins…) you need to take the time and prioritize your stuff. What stays? And what goes?
Enter the ‘Great Declutter Campaign’. I do not want the clutter of my life to break the back of this relationship. I would like to avoid the moment of panic he will inevitably face when he sees 54 boxes labeled “Random Stuff” and at least 15 labeled “Clothes I Hardly Wear”.
In general I’m following these simple tips on the GDC.
(1) Attack Room by Room. I tend to get completely overwhelmed when I start a cleaning or organizing project at my home. I’m really not the person that thrives on that feeling of getting organize… I’m the person that panics and feels like the end is nowhere in sight. Typically when I start a clean up project the room looks worse than when I started it. That is why for this project, where I’m literally going to declutter the unnecessary items from every aspect of my life, I’m going to start by attacking room by room. Only 1 room will be a disaster area at a time. Each room will be tackled on a different day so that when one room is done I can feel a sense of accomplishment!
(2) Repeat the Following Questions: Have I worn it/used it in the last year? Am I holding onto this due to obligation?
(3) Sweep Each Room Twice. This may seem like a waste of time to most people, but I’ve found that going through each drawer, closet and bookshelf twice I tend to weed out more stuff. The first time around I may have made excuses about keeping things, or felt like I was giving away too much. The second round (performed at least a week later) means that I am looking at the remaining items with fresh eyes. You’d be surprised how much clutter goes into the ‘give away’ pile on the second look.
(4) Get Rid of the Evidence. Once you’ve dumped the items into their prospective piles, whether ‘donate’ or ‘throw out’, get rid of them! The worst thing you can do when decluttering is leave the pile of clothes to give away sitting in a box in the corner for a month. You don’t want to change your mind about any of the items! Haul the garbage items out to the curb and load your car up with anything you plan on giving away so that you can drop it into the donation box the next time your drive by one.
(5) Find Creative Ways of Dumping your Stuff. Aside from my shopping habit and natural love of holding onto things, I think I struggle the most with getting rid of items that I believe have value. I hate the idea of throwing something away when I might need to buy it down the road. It seems wasteful to have no one using that item. So part of the way that I appease that fear is by coming up with creative ways to unload my unwanted items.
- Donate to Charity – This one is obvious but it is certainly one of the top ways I get rid of clothing. At least someone is wearing my old clothes and getting use out of them! And the added bonus is that I always get a receipt so that I can write the donation off on my taxes.
- Give to Friends – For some of the clothing items that are not at all worn, but they might not fit or simply not appeal to me anymore, I often contact friends to see if they’d want them. I’ve given away countless blazers, dresses and pairs of shoes and it makes me happy to know at least someone else is wearing them.
- Have a Sale – With this move I am playing around with the idea of having a garage sale. My thought is this, even if I only make a few bucks it will be enough to cover bubble wrap and boxes. Might be worth an afternoon spent in the yard. Immediately after the garage sale everything left will go into the truck and be driven to donate.