The “Whys” of Clutter

So, you know your life is full of clutter — things you don’t need, things you don’t necessarily want, and way more than you’ll actually use. But where the heck did all this stuff come from? 

 

It might be hard to pinpoint the exact moment when clutter invaded and took over your life. Maybe you grew up in a cluttered household, so living with an overabundance of “things” has always felt natural. Or perhaps clutter is just beginning to form. (In which case, it's time to nip it in the bud!)

Why are some people more prone to clutter than others? Following are a few reasons. If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, take heart. By recognizing what leads you to accumulate clutter you can make the transition to a clutter-free life.

You inherited it from your parents: If your parents were packrats, you can thank them for your love of abundance. And as you continue your life full of clutter, consider the fate you are dealing your loved ones if you don’t attempt to change. Your children might continue the cycle of clutter, or you may drive your mate and friends crazy.

You might need it “someday”: Back in the days of the Great Depression and the World Wars, people justifiably saved just about everything because of scarcity and rationing. However, in this day and age, there is no reason to continue this thought pattern. Thinking something will come in handy “one day” is NOT reason enough to keep it. By letting go, you’ll find that most of the time you’ll never need those things again. And if you do, you’ll likely find similar (or better) things to replace them.

Clutter is part of your identity: Is your identity somehow related to your possessions? Or, are you overly sentimental about your things? Remember that even if you get rid of the clutter, you still have the great memories associated with specific items. Allow yourself to release unloved or unuseful gifts from well-meaning friends and family. You are not throwing away your friends’ kindness or love; you are simply releasing the unneeded items to make room for the things that matter most to you.

You’re bombarded by “more is better” reasoning by marketers: Do catalogs invade your mailbox? Are companies constantly trying to sell you the newest do-hickey, clothing, or home decor? Look around your kitchen and count your small appliances and gadgets. Most likely, they simply add clutter to your life, taking up space. Next time the urge to buy grabs you, ask yourself if it will REALLY make your life better.

Clutter fills a void in your life: Clutter can help to hide loneliness, anger, fear, and other important emotions. It fills time and space and keeps you focused on things other than your problems. When you free the clutter, you’ll free yourself to deal with the real issues around you. It may be tough at first, but the rewards are endless. Similarly, some people want to hide in their clutter. They use an abundance of “stuff” to hide or shelter themselves from the outside world. A good way to start getting back into the swing of life is to declutter just one room. You’ll still be able to retreat to your safe place, but the lack of clutter will begin to feel freeing rather than terrifying

Of course, you may not see yourself in any of the above scenarios. Perhaps you’ve simply accumulated a little clutter in your life due to a shortage of time, too many work or family demands, or a lack of organizing skills. This is perfectly normal. Not everyone who defines her life as “cluttered” will fit into the above scenarios. But for those who know that clutter is seriously affecting their lives, the above reasons may help define the source and allow them to start the decluttering process.

Whatever the reasons you’ve accumulated clutter, once you recognize them, you can move forward and begin your new life. 

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Archive Your Files With Ease

What shape is your filing system in? Are your filing drawers stuffed so full that it’s nearly impossible to get another piece of paper into — or out of — them? Once a year, you should take time to review your files and purge as much as possible, leaving room for next year’s papers.

1. Determine what to keep. As you sort through papers, ask yourself, “When will I really need this again?” “Can it be easily recreated or retrieved elsewhere?” Don’t hang onto things unless you have a really good reason! Be ruthless — remember, 80% of the things you file will never get referred to again!

2. Keep records retention guidelines in mind. Your accountant, attorney, or professional organizer can tell you which documents you should keep for legal purposes.

3. Keep only day-to-day paperwork at your fingertips. For rarely-used files that must be kept, archive them in an out-of-the-way area, such as a closet, basement, or off-site storage facility.

4. Some things can be immediately tossed. Instruction manuals for products you no longer own, old research materials, previous drafts of letters, out-of-date magazines and articles, and receipts for items past their return date can be discarded.

5. Stash important documents in a safety deposit box. It is imperative that you stock your safety deposit box or home safe with the following papers: adoption and citizenship papers; passports; birth, death, and marriage certificates; deeds; divorce decrees; insurance policy papers; lease agreements and loan documents; mortgage papers; personal property appraisals (jewelry, collectibles); Social Security cards; stock and bond certificates; vehicle titles; copies of wills; and powers of attorney papers. And don’t forget to LOCK your home safe. It is NOT fireproof unless the lock is engaged.

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Let’s Have A Sale

Whether you’re planning to move or simply want to cash in on your excess stuff, a garage sale (tag sale, yard sale) can be a profitable way to transfer your goods on to their next destination. However, without proper planning and organization, the day can be a disaster. Here are some tips to hold a spectacular sale:

START GATHERING YOUR GOODS EARLY. Keep a large box in the basement or garage year-round to hold household items you no longer want, need, or love. If you’re really industrious, keep some pricing stickers and a pen in the box so you can price as you stow.

ADVERTISE. Make large, colorful signs. Be sure to list the date, time, and place, as well as the types of items you have for sale (kids’ clothing and toys, furniture, tools, collectibles, etc.) Place the signs in high-traffic intersections within a few miles of your home. Consider running an ad in your local paper’s classified section. Place flyers at local stores where allowed.

SET UP THE SALE. Give yourself at least two days to get the tables set up and items arranged and priced. Make sure everything is clean and attractive. Group similar items together: put stuffed animals in a wagon, arrange household items on tables, place books and tapes/CDs neatly in boxes, display toys at kids’ eye level, and hang clothing on racks. Put big-ticket items, like furniture, tools, and larger kids’ toys, near the edge of the driveway to attract passersby.

BE SURE TO PRICE EVERYTHING. People are often too shy to ask. Attract people with balloons and banners. And have a “free” box prominently placed.

DON’T FORGET THE LITTLE THINGS. Make sure you have enough change, especially ones and fives, and a calculator handy. Have bags and newspaper for packing breakables. Play upbeat music on your boombox. Have lemonade and popcorn for sale to prolong browsing. Hand out free candy to kids if okay with parents.

COUNT YOUR CASH AND CONSIDER DONATING. After the sale, donate the leftover items to charity rather than returning them to your house. Many charities will pick up all unsold items. 

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

What Is Home Staging?

Staging:

A process of neutralizing, decluttering, organizing, and beautifying — allows potential buyers to picture themselves living in the house by tapping into their emotions. Staging also starts the “letting go” process for the sellers, as they transform their beloved home to a more neutral-looking home.

A staged home looks similar to a model home. For examples of how your home should look to get the best price, visit some local model homes during their open house periods.

Staging will help you sell your home quickly, at the best possible price. A 1999 Palo Alto real estate survey found that staged houses sold in an average of 14 days for 6.32% more than the asking price, while unstaged houses sold in an average of 31 days for only 1.6% over the asking price. Even if you’re just thinking about moving, it is never too early to start. You’ll have plenty of time to stage your home, and you’ll get to enjoy your improvements for a while, too! And remember: many improvements related to moving can be tax deductible, including the fees for staging your home! Check with your accountant for more details.

Professional stagers assist homeowners by offering advice on clutter clearing, furniture placement, creating “emotion” settings, and much more. Stagers also offer an objective view of a home — a fresh eye and perspective.

Some stagers own and rent out furnishings if a homeowner needs higher-quality or more neutral decor. These professionals are called “full-service stagers.” Other stagers work with what you already own, making recommendations for purchases of only small-priced items when necessary — perhaps a new shower curtain to brighten a dingy bathroom, a beautiful vase full of fresh flowers to welcome visitors in the entryway, or a sparkling new kitchen faucet to add visual interest. Home stagers can tell you:

• what buyers are looking for in a new home

• how to give your home curb appeal

• which inexpensive improvements will add value to your home

• which expensive improvements could be poor investments 

• room-by-room staging suggestions

Hiring a professional stager is a great investment, ensuring a quick and lucrative home sale.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Always Organized...Tips for Closets of All Kinds

Allow only pressed, clean, ready-to-wear clothes in your closet. If an item needs to be mended, cleaned, or ironed, it should not be in your closet. Keep your ironing or mending pile in a convenient spot so that you can tackle it while watching TV or talking on the phone.  

Place hooks on the back of the closet door to hang bathrobes, belts, or ties, or to lay out your next day’s wardrobe.

Be sure to use the entire closet space, including the vertical space under hanging clothes. For instance, underneath short-hanging garments, place a low trunk full of sweaters. A set of plastic drawers or a simple wooden dresser can hold lingerie, swimsuits, and socks.

It’s helpful to standardize your hangers. It doesn’t matter what type you prefer, just make them consistent and always hang clothes in the same direction. This will help reduce visual clutter and allow you to review your clothes at a glance. Wooden, padded, plastic tube, or velvet "huggable" hangers, rather than cheap wire ones, will keep your clothing in top-notch shape and avoid tangles. Get rid of extra hangers, which just take up space. See if your dry cleaner can recycle your unneeded wire hangers.


For shoes, consider clear plastic shoeboxes, which keep shoes dust-free and easily viewed. Or use over-the-door shoe bags or a neat shoe rack on the floor.

Building closet management into your weekly routine will reduce time and stress in your daily quest for determining what to wear. It will also allow you to make the most of your wardrobe and feel great about getting maximum use out of clothes you already own. This project may seem daunting, but its rewards are many! If you’re stuck, consider enlisting a trusted friend or The Organizing Pro to help you with the process, especially the clutter-clearing steps!

© 2016 Articles on Demand™