Step 1 – Containers – you will need containers to keep the mess your about to make organized. Plastic totes, cardboard boxes or trash bags are some of the most commonly used items. I like to use plastic totes and I keep 5-10 on hand at all times.
Step 2 – Label – you will need to label your containers. Keep, Donate, and Trash. For trash I use a nice large contractors size black trash bag that I get from Home Depot. They are nice and thick.
Step 3 – 1-2 year rule – I do a 2 year rule. However, if you have a large amount of clutter I suggest the 1 year rule to really get rid of clutter. If you haven’t used it or worn it in the last year get rid of it. If you really want to see what you have worn turn all your hangers around. As you wear each item, put it back facing the other way. In a year you will see what you haven’t been wearing and it’s time to get rid of it unless it’s a special occasion piece.
Step 4 – Be Brutal – if you can’t be brutal, find a friend or family member who will be. This is what I do for my mom. She is very like my grandfather in that she keeps everything because you don’t know when you might need it. Nothing is allowed to go into the keep pile unless I ok it. For her I do a maybe pile. She almost always puts everything from the maybe pile into the donate pile when we are finished. She just needed a little more time to let go of the items in the maybe pile.
If you’re having a really hard time getting rid of something, I suggest putting it in a container with a date on it for one year later. If you haven’t used it by the date, then out it goes.
Paper clutter is a completely different beast and you need a 3 boxes. Shredding, Recycling, and File. If you need a guide to how long to hold paperwork here is one from the government which is pretty good. I use a small fireproof safe to hold the items I need to keep. This would be my tax returns for the last 7 years, birth and marriage certificates, passports, will etc. I use a safe that needs a key. Some people like to use ones with codes but I prefer not to have to deal with batteries. I also keep a filing cabinet in our study which I keep owners manuals and I keep a separate file for anything that we would leave with the house if we ever moved.
I recommend having a high-capacity shredder. We use it every 3-4 months to shred older bills and receipts. Cross cut shredders are preferred. You pretty much want confetti . High capacity is better as it will take longer to heat up so you can do more in one setting.
Until next time.
Take care y’all