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Decrease Clutter – Set a Fake Moving Day!

decrease clutterIf you were moving next month, what would you NOT want to pack and take with you? Clutter adds up over the years and it can add a burden that you don’t want to bear. If you were moving you would have to either purge (decrease clutter), organize, or store every item in your home.

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? We likely use 20% of our stuff (clothes, toys, shoes, kitchen gadgets) 80% of the time and the rest sits unused for the most part. Here are a few topics to sift (or dig) through to decrease clutter:

1) Clothes

I learned a tip from another blogger when it comes to purging clothes: Put any item you haven’t worn in the last couple of months into a box. You aren’t going to donate it just yet; you’ll simply set it in another room. Let another month go by and see if you end up going back to get anything. If you don’t – donate the box. This is a proven, effective way to decrease clutter in your closets!

If you got a new pair of dress shoes for work and haven’t tossed the old pair, DO IT. There’s no need to hold on to these items. Since we plan to have more kids I’ve been keeping the clothes and storing them in boxes according to the age (0-3 months, 3-6 months, etc). Thankfully I’ve had two girls, both born in the winter, so I get to reuse everything. However, to decrease clutter, I make sure to donate items I didn’t care for or items that just need to be tossed so I’m not storing unwanted items.

Another thing to sort through – socks. Honestly, how many pairs do you need? Again, do you think you’ll ever find the matches to your lone sock pile? Save yourself the eyesore and pitch them. As you sort through your clothes ask yourself – do I like this or use this enough that I would pack it up and take it with me if I moved? If not, then decrease clutter and get rid of it!

2) Kitchen Supplies

When was the last time you used that blender? We got it for a wedding gift, but we’ve maybe used it 5 times in the past 5 years. Our magic bullet is used multiple times each week and we only ever make enough for one or two people so the big blender is just taking up storage space. If we wanted to decrease clutter in the kitchen, the blender would probably be the first thing to go.

There are exceptions for dishes that make an appearance for special occasions but I’m talking about the non-special occasion stuff. I suggest emptying out your utensil drawer and only putting back what you use 80% of the time. Why do you have 5 spatulas? They are taking up valuable space and wasting your time since it takes longer to find what you’re looking for.

3) Paper

Paper clutter is the worst! I hate it so much that I immediately go through our mail and put it in the shredder, our recycling, or deal-with-it-this week pile. If you’re pretending you are moving then it’s a great time to sort through your paper stash and get rid of that extra weight to decrease clutter. If you don’t have a filing system then this is also a prime opportunity to get things in order so you only keep what you really need.

4) Kids’ Stuff

Do you have kids who have moved out of your home and into their own? A couple years after I got married my mom had me sort through my stuff so she could make my bedroom a better guest room. I had a few boxes of high school and college memories and some clothes I didn’t take to college. I took some stuff back to my own home and tossed or donated the rest.

My parents stored a couple bags of toys in the attic for the day grand-kids would roam the halls but for the most part they made us clean up! If you still have kids in the home, encourage some generosity this season and have the kids fill a box with toys they don’t play with anymore and want to donate to a family who can’t afford presents this year. It’s a great way to decrease clutter, and also to get your kids into the holiday spirit.

5) Pantry/fridge/freezer

How long has that box of pudding mix been in your pantry? I use this example because I recently found a box of pudding mix that had a “use by” date of 2009 in my parent’s pantry! It’s taking up space and clearly you aren’t going to use it, then decrease clutter and toss it! Going through your fridge or freezer can even save you money with meal planning.

6) Storage

Our basement is our storage area. The saying is true- the bigger the box, the more you can put in it. I’d say my husband and I lean more toward the minimalist side but having a basement allows for the temptation to put things down there and “deal with it later.” There have been many items I said I’d just sell on Craigslist but I haven’t gotten around to listing.

There are a handful of things I would toss if we had to move so why are they still down there? Just in case? For many of us, a storage closet has easily become the adult version of stuffing everything under your bed when mom said to clean your room. It’s time to decrease clutter people…

Time is money

However you look at it, time is money. Thankfully, most of us are not moving next month so you don’t have to sort through your entire house in 30 days. However, taking 15-20 minutes to walk around your house with a garbage bag is a good place to start or sort through one cabinet or drawer each day this week.  Clearing clutter around the home can save you time (which is money), money, and energy (you could be using to invest in something more worth your time), stress, and sanity.

What would you get rid of if you were moving next month?

Battle of the Mind Money

AUTHOR Derek Sall

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.

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