Can you keep a secret? Do you have one in your house you are keeping right now? Today I’m spilling the beans about my own clandestine clutter. I’m letting the cat out of the bag and hoping you can learn from my covert collections.
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Hi I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and online program. I just moved out after 11 years in the same house and I found some things that really made me laugh. The top 5 things all have to do with one big theme, and that is that the only thing constant is change. Your lifestyle changes, your family changes, fashions change, and style changes, you’ve got to make sure your belongings change along with that.
I want to share with you about craft supplies. I got rid of almost all the craft supplies I had, because my kids aren’t little anymore. We’re not making popsicle stick crafts in the afternoon & we’re not doing dioramas for school. That was an easy decision.
Ski clothes from when we lived in New Mexico, we obviously don’t need that anymore. The kids are way outgrown from those clothes, and also we can’t just drive over to a ski resort now, living in Texas. I really got a kick out of this one: floppy diskette labels– yeah, that’s pretty old. Well, I found that in my office supplies & that was another easy decision. But it just goes to show you, you have to touch everything & make decisions about it every once in a while, otherwise it just accumulates.
Another thing I got rid of that was pretty simple for me was my china. I picked out this china when I was 20 years old. I entertain very casually, I probably prefer to use paper plates than china at this point, and I would not have picked that same pattern now. I have sold that china and am glad to not have to worry about it and store it anymore. I had accumulated so many rolls of gift wrap & so many gift bags after Christmases being such a big deal with my kids being little and also going to lots of kids’ birthday parties, I don’t do that anymore. I kept a few little gift bags, but mostly I realized that when I give gifts now, I usually just buy a new gift bag, or I don’t need a gift bag for a gift card or something. All of those things have changed, and I made sure that my belongings went along with those changes.
There are things that you keep because they’re perfectly good, and if you don’t have objectivity on your stuff, which is almost impossible to do with your own things, sometimes you find yourself keeping things that you don’t even realize you’re keeping, just because of this “perfectly good” concept. I found I was collecting unwittingly these Christmas tins. And I was buying these ginger cookies, and the tins were so perfect for Christmas candy or whatever I needed to put in the freezer, I didn’t realize I had about a dozen of these things, so it was funny how they had added up and I just had not noticed. I donated all of them because I obviously wasn’t using them.
Another example is cookbooks. That’s a “perfectly good” thing, and they are so attractive on the shelf and they kind of give you that aspirational idea like, “Oh, I’m going to be cooking all the things in that book.” Really, most of us either don’t use the cookbooks at all, or we have maybe one or two recipes inside each one that we actually do use, and the rest of the book we ignore. What I did was scan in those couple of recipes out of the books that I do use, and then I donated most of those books. I don’t have all that bulk and space taken up.
We talk about storing things appropriately to their frequency of use, so we talk about “A” things & “B” things & we talk about “A” locations, & “B,” & “C,” & “D” locations, and one of the things I found was these little discs that are used to make the spine of the Arc notebooks made by Staples that I did some spokesperson work for, they have the small little discs that make smaller notebooks, and they have the larger ones. I had taken these smaller discs and put them in a Ziploc bag, because I didn’t use them, and stuck them right in my top drawer. That was an “A” location for me, the most handy drawer where I have things I use very, very frequently. I put this “C” thing that I don’t use very much right into that “A” drawer, and it was getting in the way every day. It took me going through this and moving to notice that that was there and move it to a more “C” or “D” location in case I needed those discs.
I ran into some journals that I was keeping kind of when the kids were little. I wanted to share with you the lesson of how important it is to have an accountability partner or someone, a friend, working with you to keep you on track when you’re doing large organizing projects. We teach this concept, and I definitely practiced what I preached, because I had my assistant, Brandi, who is my camera person right now– helping me go through some of this stuff and making sure that I didn’t sit down and go through memory lane too much, because it was very tempting to look at these journals. It’s great to work with a friend who can make sure that you stay on target with your goals for the day and get through your work.
The goal of any organizing project is visibility. You want to be able to see what you have, whether you literally see it on the shelf or you have visibility to it via an index or a search, but knowing what you have so that you can use it is very important. As I got rid of those ski clothes I mentioned, I had some great after-ski boots that were very warm and very dry, and I didn’t realize that I had those. I wish I had, because I had gone to Michigan & Chicago a couple of times this winter, and it really would have been great to have those. I was traveling for The Woman’s Day series, Project DeClutter, where I was doing some work with those families. Since I didn’t have visibility to those boots, I didn’t have them with me & I looked like a crazy Texan with ridiculously inappropriate shoes.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this & gotten a good laugh at my expense. If you want some help making these kinds of decisions, we have a team of organizing experts available to you 7 days a week on-line for a very affordable price, and you can get access to us free for 2 weeks; get all your questions personally answered in our Member Message Board area. You can find out more about that at https://www.clutterdiet.com/learnmore.
See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.
You may have been searching for what to do when you have too much stuff or how to downsize when moving.