A Pack-Rat's Guide To De-Cluttering Your Home

Hi, I'm [river in Ireland], and I'm a pack-rat. I have things in my kitchen cabinets that I can't even identify. I still have unopened wedding gifts, and we've been married seven years. I have clothes in my closet I haven't been able to get into for years but am holding on to in the hopes of being able to wear them again. Needless to say, I'm a total pack-rat. Fortunately, there is a lot of advice out there about how to rid myself of this habit-and my extra stuff. Here are a few tips I've found to help you stop the pack-rat madness. Hopefully, while I'm typing, they'll sink in for me too.

Donation, Donation, Donation. If you're not going to use it, someone else probably can. If there are things your kids can't wear anymore, odd dishes or toys your children don't play with, give them to a local charity or thrift store. The same thing goes for that huge stack of books you know you're never going to read or those dumbbells you don't use; many cities have 'specialty' second-hand shops that pay you a little bit for each items you donate. For things such as old magazines, find a way to re-purpose them. Depending on what they are about or how old they are, a local doctor's office or library might have a use for them. If not, you have a whole stack of litter box liners. :)

Garbage In, Garbage Out. When you get the mail, don't just put it on the table and walk away. Take that opportunity to look through it to see what you can get rid of (junk mail, random credit card offers, bills you already paid, etc). This is especially true if you are like me and get tons of coupons and local promotions in the mail. That “Money Mailer' is very useful and the restaurant coupons that come inside the local magazines are too, but only if they are in date. Instead of just putting them on the table or in basket (like I've done), sit down and start to go through the coupons to see what you want to keep. Expired coupons, duplicates and promotions you'll never use can now be tossed to make room for the coupons you actually want to keep.

Expiration Date. Make it a point to put an 'expiration date' on things like clothing, tools and craft items. If they aren't used by whichever date you pick, out they go. The same thing can go for the chocolate fondue set your aunt gave you or the crock pot you've never used. If you don't actually use something within a certain time, get rid of them. You can donate them, throw them out (if they have an actual expiration date) or even 'regift' them. That last one might not seem 'polite' but remember, what people don't know won't hurt them. Just change the packaging and make sure you aren't re-gifting it to the person who gave it to you, and you'll be fine!

Hopefully reading this post has motivated you to clear out the clutter in your home. I can't tell you how to rid yourself of people you don't need (actually, I already did-How To Identify And Deal With Toxic People), but your house should be a bit cleaner now. Speaking of which-

Can someone hand me a trash bag? I have a few hundred old coupons to throw out!

1 comment:

  1. Very good tips for trying to come out of the pack-rat mindset. Something I just had to bring myself to start doing was just throwing those items away that I didn't need or use, because I had to face it, I was never going to have that yard sale, and I was more than likely going to forget 5 more times to take those huge filled to the brim trash bags still sitting in the garage by the Goodwill.