by Tammy Taylor
Before we moved here to the ranch, RancherMan and I had to clear out our previous home of items we didn’t want to move with us. There were tons of things left behind when the children one-by-one moved out of their childhood home to begin their own lives as adults. There were also all the duplicate items from blending two households when we got married. And there were of course those sentimental things we each held onto for various reasons. The first cut was pretty easy. Things that once belonged to the kids that they no longer wanted – outta here! Things that were duplicates – keep the nicer ones and donate the others, etc. Pickup truckload after truckload left the house and came back empty. How refreshing! Kitchen cabinets were cleared of duplicate sizes of casserole dishes, serving platters now way too large for any of our current needs, etc.
Once we actually moved out here to the ranch we did another declutter. There were things we initially thought should move with us but we decided we could actually do without. Our home became so much less cluttered of things I never used anyway – I loved it. But how to keep it decluttered?
I think one thing for me that has made much difference is by reducing items I purchase. I simply ask myself this question first: “is it worth throwing away the whatsit we already have to replace it with this same type of whatsit in a different color?” Sometimes the answer is yes but most of the time the answer is NO!
Some of the thoughts that run through my head are: Well I know these coffee mugs are cute, but where will we store them? Will I need to get rid of the cute coffee mugs I already own to be able to have the space for these new cute coffee mugs? Or: These sheets are beautiful, but what about the sheets I currently have? Are they ready to be replaced or will this set just add to my already-tight storage space for yet more sheets? Or even: These towels have a beautiful pattern, but how will I store them? This cuts down on many impulse items & would-be purchases coming into our home.
It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of buying something new but I’ve found once you quieten the buy, Buy BUY monster it’s just as easy to think it through first. It’s meant a huge clutter reduction as well as budget saver for us! Good for the environment, good for our budget.
What about the things we already have? About once a year I go through my closet and take a good hard look at my clothes. Typically when my clothes are washed they are rehung on one side of the rod in our closet. So the things hanging on the other end of the rod haven’t been worn in a while. Sometimes it’s a seasonal item or a special-occasion dress that still makes the cut to remain. But oftentimes is a lesser-loved item. I’ll pull them out of the closet and separate into two stacks. One indicating it has outlived it’s useful clothing life and ready to be turned into rags. And another stack to throw into the washer to freshen up the fabric, then fold them nicely and send them off to a thrift store so someone else can love them like I did.
Once the closet has been decluttered I take a walk around the house for anything else that needs to get outta here on this thrift-store run. Coat closets and kitchen cabinets are examined. Desk drawers and guest-room closets get looked at too. I make a box of things that should go. Then I list them on a spreadsheet that I keep for income tax purposes. I list every item going to the thrift store and apply a fair-market value to each item, along with the date donated and the total value. I add to this document any time throughout the year that we make a donation to a charitable thrift store and it’s printed out at the end of the year and attached to the thrift-store receipts for our donations. Oh yeah, I really like EASY at tax time!
What about you? How often do you declutter? How do you determine what stays and what goes? Where do you send your still-usable items?
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