Monday, January 17, 2011

Purging: Part 2

So you want to get rid of your stuff but don't know how to go about it in an eco-friendly way?
Here are a few suggestions on what to do with the things you no longer want in your home.
Last week I mentioned a few ways to get rid of your clutter in order to simplify your surroundings.  

A quick recap:
- Scan as many papers as you can (& don't forget to backup the computer)
- A place for everything, everything in it's place
- Go through your kids belongings every few months to weed out the toys & clothes no longer used
- Designate a spot to put things to sell, donate, consign, or give away (freecycle)
- Recycle what you can
- If you have a lot of personal papers no longer needed, take to a shredding event in your community

Here are 5 more tips on how to declutter & get rid of your stuff:

Tip #1: Pick a "home" for the stuff & make sure it fits in it.
One of the most useful tips on those hoarders/organizational shows is to pick a container for your stuff (it's new home) and make it a goal to fit everything in that place.  The example one show used was a house overrun with toys.   Their solution was to condense to only what could fit in one bin.

Tip #2: Get rid of something before bringing something else in
As an incentive not to build clutter in the future, that same couple was told to make sure they got rid of something before they brought something else in.  That's another GREAT tip, which could be applied to the closet, the kitchen, the bookcase, or any other room in your house.

Tip #3: Baby steps
You can't expect to declutter your house, or even one room, in a day.  But if you do a little bit (15 minutes) a day it will progress.  Before you know it you'll have cleared out a space and wonder why you didn't do it before.  It seemed to be a daunting task for me to get rid of the papers and papers and papers that I had in almost every room in the house, but I'm chipping away at it and feel great after a day's worth of purging.

Tip #4: Give yourself some distance
Every school year when the kids get out of school, I go through their papers and instantly throw out the things I don't want to keep.  However, as time goes by, I wonder why I kept most of the stuff to begin with.  The longer you wait to get rid of the stuff, the less you'll keep.

Tip #5: Make a photo book
For your children's artwork and some school projects that you want to keep, you could scan them into your computer and make a photo book.  Sites like Shutterfly or Snapfish are great places to get these things made, often at discounted prices if you become a member.  This is definitely on my to-do list once I condense the piles and piles of stuff I want to keep.  You can keep those drawings without adding to the amount of crap you already have in your house.  Lovely!

Some more suggestions on where to take the stuff you don't want:
Books: Library or used book store
Toys & baby items: Church, daycare, preschool, some high schools
Clothes: Planet Aid bins, consignment, yard sale, thrift store, homeless shelter
And everything else: consignment, homeless shelter, ebay/craig's list, freecycle

I've been purging for about a week now and it is mentally exhausting.  But with the goal of having a simplified and clutter-free home, it's worth every minute.

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