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Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

WLR Blog
Posted: Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring is a great time to declutter

Have you ever had that moment when you’re overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have? You know it’s time to declutter, but where do you start? You have a home full of things you’ve collected over a lifetime, and it can be difficult to part with your favorite items. The reality is, though, that some of those items may not serve you well any more.

Decluttering is a great first step in downsizing, or “right-sizing,” as some prefer to call it. It’s what you’ll do when you move from your large family home into a more appropriately sized residence, such as a retirement community.

Michele Connolly, who runs a Web site that offers advice about getting organized, and other experts suggest adopting a set of rules to stick to as you go through your stuff. First and foremost, don’t tackle too much at once. Start with one room and set a time limit.

Here are some of the criteria from which to craft your own plan. If you have trouble deciding whether to keep or get rid of an object, ask yourself:

  • Do I love it?
  • Is it useful or beautiful?
  • Did I choose to bring it into my life?
  • Would it be hard to replace if I needed it again?
  • Do I need to save it for tax or legal reasons?
  • If there were no guilt associated with getting rid of this item, would I still keep it?
  • Have I used it in the past year? The past 5 years?
  • Does it fit with my vision for the life that I want to lead?
  • Do I have more of this kind of thing? How many do I need?

The most difficult decisions center around family heirlooms and other items that have sentimental value. Say you have a huge mahogany secretary in your living room that’s taking up lots of space. You kept it because your dad used it to pay bills, but it really doesn’t fit your décor. Ask yourself whether you really have room for that item in your home and your life. Would you be just as happy by taking a photo of that secretary to preserve the memory and offering it for sale on eBay?

Decluttering gives your space a new lease on life, but you’ll need a plan to keep it from filling up again. Connolly suggests adopting two rules to tame what she calls “clutter creep”:

  • When you buy a new item—a pair of shoes, book or gadget, for example, get rid of an old one.
  • When you and/or your family undertake a task, such as cooking dinner, playing a game or even watching TV, make cleaning up and putting things away part of the activity.

Clutter does more than just take up space in your home. It requires you to spend time maintaining and cleaning, or just looking for things.

Clutter can also mess with your mind and influence your behavior. For example, there’s scientific evidence that a cluttered kitchen can cause you to eat more.

It’s important to dispose of clutter properly. Sort as you go. Many unwanted items can go to a place that accepts donations of unwanted items. Clothing in good condition can be taken to a consignment shop. Recycle everything you can to keep stuff out of landfills. Shred any documents that contain personal information. Be sure to dispose of hazardous items appropriately.

Following these suggestions can take away the stress of decluttering. You’ll love the result!


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