For most of us, losing weight, eating healthier and making more time for ourselves and family, is part of the promise we make as we start off the new year. If you want to make good quality family time, take on the challenge of decluttering your home. It can be good therapy. Not only will sorting through items and moving things around give you a physical workout, it will give you a chance to do some mental decluttering too.
When my Mom died in Jan. of 2004, it was just easier to take all her stuff and put it in my basement. My sister and brother had all their stuff in their own basements and as the youngest daughter I grateful accepted the boxes of memories of my parents and their 50 plus married years of together. Old black and white photos of life in the 1950’s and 60’s and the 70’s 80’s and 90’s, a rare painted photo of my grandparents wedding, and items that sat as decorations in my old house in a part of Omaha know as Little Italy.
It has been tough to let them go. When the holidays roll around you can pull some of those boxes down and have great conversations about life growing up in a much more innocent age. But as I get older, I want to pass these things on the next generation. So I want to share with you the three tips I used to helped me get started in decluttering my house.
First, I created three piles, a keep, giveaway and throwaway pile:
- Keep Pile
Sort through your items with relatives or friends, it may make things easier to get through. Going through your items with others can be a time where you revisit special times associated with items. Photos and souvenirs were kept for times like this.
- Give Away Pile
Many of the items you want to give away may not be worth much, but it may hold a precious memory for others in the family. Since I have a big Italian family, I decided to scan all of the old photos and take all of the 8 mm film my Dad shot and convert it and place it on a USB key for my nieces and nephews. This is also a good time to look through old clothing and items that someone else could use, so don’t forget to give those things away to charities who help the underprivileged.
- Throw Away Pile
If the items you have stored away in boxes doesn’t meet your keeping or donating standards, then toss it. But the hard part is how do you decide what to toss? If you’re fighting years of deep-seated procrastination, or a profound sense of being overwhelmed, then don’t let indecision about what to keep or giveaway stop you from clearing the clutter. Instead, simply put everything into a bag and let it go. Now, I’m not suggesting you throw stuff away out of laziness. I gave myself permission to start that process because my stuff wasn’t doing anyone any good just sitting there.
I will have to say, I am feeling better about this plan I have put down on paper. I feel good about sharing my family’s legacy with the next generation, donating future bags to worthy causes and l am gaining a new-found confidence that I am finally dealing with piles of items and photos that have needed sorting for so long. When the process is completed, I know I will feel better about my progress and my family will be happy that everyone can share in our family legacy.
Happy decluttering readers!