Stuff Dominating Your Residence?

If you are the type who doesn't know what to do with all your stuff (or someone else's), keep reading.  Chances are you think you need to keep everything because, "My friend said she is coming back to get it...I don't know what I will need one day...Well, it all looks important."

Here are some simple tips to get you organized while opening up more room for the things you need.

One.  Sort through your stuff.

Checking out everything that is hidden, taking up valuable space, and boxed will help you get a sense of what is important and what really isn't.  Your interests may have changed.  People may have moved away.  Ask yourself, "Why am I keeping this?"  Sometimes we hold on to things as if they are people.  But remember, things are just things.  You may have to do some self-talk to motivate yourself to want to part with certain items.  Contact individuals to help you rid yourself of certain things that do more harm than good.  From letters to family heirlooms, if it makes you cry, depresses you, causes fear, or brings other negative emotions every time you look at it, say goodbye to it. 

Two.  Group your things.

If you have more than one of anything, group it.  Do you need these items now?  Are you still interested in a certain hobby?  Put the most important things within view so that they will act as a reminder for you to tend to them.  Give yourself about a month or two to do something with those items.  If you find yourself, letting them collect dust, then part with them.

Three.  Purchase clear bins or boxes and label them.

Any small items should be put in containers, bins, drawers, etc.  This way you are able to find them easily.  However, bigger items need a storage place if you intend to keep them.  From books to shoes, if you haven't picked them up in a year, you most likely won't.  Don't let the memories persuade you into keeping them.  Seasonal items that are in use keep well when they are enclosed.  However, if you stopped celebrating certain holidays years ago, rid yourself of them.  Those bins and boxes do nothing more than take up space.

Four.  Call relatives and friends to come get some things.

For items that are relatives and friends, give those people a new deadline to come and get their things or else. The consequence could be any number of things, but be sure you communicate that ridding yourself of stuff is what you are planning to do if they don't show up.  If you must box a relative's stuff up and mail it, do it. Don't worry yourself any longer about storing items that obviously aren't yours and you have little use for. If someone really wants their keepsakes, they will come get them. Stand your ground and don't falter when they say, "Well, I can't get my boxes...why are you getting rid of my stuff...?" Start charging a storage fee, note your intent and give that person a copy.

Now if all your stuff is yours, you might want to give things away you know you aren't using.  Take items out of closets, dressers, etc. and label what you will be giving away.  Your mind will tempt you into keeping something, "because one day you will be needing it."  But once again, if you haven't used that item in years, you most likely won't be in the near future.  List what you have and see what others might be able to use especially young people in transition and new parents. 

Five.  Seek out organizations that will appreciate your stuff.

There are many groups that ask for donations.  If you have a lot of office supplies, consider a business start-up program that helps entrepreneurs.  Maybe you have many items that are in good condition, consider helping someone out who is trying to make some extra money.  Check the phone book for groups that help the homeless and others who are in need.  Partner with a local church or civic group.  Post fliers with your list of items available for sale or free.

Six.  Hold a garage sale or reserve a table at a local flea market.

Many people enjoy selling items at flea markets not only because they make money, but because they get to meet new faces.  From crafts to used household goods, most items at flea markets are reasonable so seek out items in your treasure that are useful, clean and will turn a nice profit.

Seven.  Clean and arrange your room in such a way that you get the most use out of it.

After all your sorting, giving, mailing, and selling items, it is now time to look at the space you have gained.  Clean the room that housed your stuff, make necessary repairs if need be, and arrange your furniture in such a way where you and others in your household feel comfortable.

The biggest hurdle about organizing stuff is the owner.  He or she is going to find every excuse in the book to keep from cutting down on stuff.  When your stuff is getting in the way of your lifestyle or others and keeps you sick, upset, or miserable, it's time to say, "No more."  Many people buy things or bring freebies home that they really don't need, because there are underlying issues that they either don't know of or refuse to address.

Nicholl McGuire 

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