It's National Pack Rat Day! I will admit, I used to be one of them coming from a family that breeds pack rats. I have been cured however and I'm here to help cure you as well from a life of clutter.
Photographs generally sit in boxes or giant photo albums and over time, the pictures tend to fade. Lucky for all of us, the digital age is upon us. It is super simple to preserve your memories on a DVD and an online photo album to keep forever. This is also great for your kids artwork. It is important to keep some items from your children's past, but not all of it. Keep the best of the best of their work and take pictures of them holding the rest and make a DVD album for them as they are growing up.
The only papers that should be kept are tax papers and after 7 years, those can even be thrown away. Most bills, even previous ones from years ago, can now be found online. Important documents like warranties, wills, insurance, social security cards and birth, death and marriage certificates should be kept in bank safety deposit boxes. Any other papers should be tossed.
For cards from birthdays, holiday, achievements, etc., should also be thrown away. Keep the best of the best in a photo album if it has some meaning to it. Most likely, you want ever look at most of them again so keep the ones that you will look at.
Many people find it hard to also get rid of their books; even ones they haven't read in years. There are a few solutions; sell your books online for a nifty profit, donate them to a library or turn your favorite book covers but not favorite books into shadow boxes and recycle the paper. It's ok to keep your favorites that you like to read repeatedly.
Let's be honest, you travel and you buy a souvenir, but do you actually display or use it? Most likely not unless it's an everyday product. Most store their souvenirs in boxes. Save money and space by taking pictures of objects and adding them to your DVD photo album.
- PARENT'S BELONGING
It's hard when someone passes. It's harder on the families when they are left to decide what to do with their loved ones possessions. Before anything is sold or given away, have an appraiser come in to evaluate everything. Once this is done, only keep the heirlooms or items that actually mean something to you and sell the rest so other people can make new memories with them.
- Give Away One Item Each Day
Every single day, choose one item to give away to someone or to donate. Over time, you will see a huge transformation.
- Fill A Trash Bag
Grab a large garbage bag and fill it with stuff that can either be thrown away or donated. Do this once a week or even a few times a week.
- No Touch, Yes Toss
If you haven't touched it in the past couple months, toss it. Chances are, if aren't using it now or in the past few months, you won't be using it in the future. Give it to someone who will or donate it so someone can have the chance to put it to good use.
- 12-12-12 Challenge
Find 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate and 12 items to be returned to their proper home. This may only be 36 items, but when you get everyone in the house to do it with all different items, then it can really add up.
- Don't Get Overwhelmed, Break It Up
Set aside 15 minutes a day to tackle small areas. By doing this everyday, you will get into a routine of cleaning and soon enough your problem areas of your house will be areas you can finally entertain in.
- The Four Box Method
Bring four boxes into the room you are working on. Each box represents a category; trash, give away, keep and relocate. Each and every item in a room will be placed in one of the four boxes. No exceptions.
- Quick Decisions
When you think too long about what to do with an item, you are most likely going to come up with a fake attachment to it and keep it. Go through a pile of items, making quick decisions about everything. They will be your true feelings about the item and will make the process quicker and easier.
- Imagination Shopping
Look at the item in your hand and ask yourself if you saw this in the store today, would you buy it and how much would you spend on it. This will help you see that you don't need or want many of the items you have living cluttered in your home.
De-cluttering a house is not the easiest task to do, especially for first time pack rats. After you are finished, grab a tasty treat and relish in the new clean and clear house you now live in.