When it’s time to organize, though you may be ready, you might find yourself in a quandary because you’re not sure what to do with your stuff. So, you wait. And wait. Until you have piles and pockets of clutter that seem insurmountable. And, you’re no closer to figuring out what to do with them.
Making a decision seems tricky
Making a decision about what to do with the stuff that we have can make us scratch our heads. We’re just not sure how to handle the variety of things we have. Sometimes, it’s a gift someone we love gave to us. Or, a picture our child drew or those little teeny tiny toys they love so much. It could be something we used to love and now our feelings for it have waned. It could be an item that we spent a lot of money on but we no longer use. It could be a broken thing that we planned on fixing…but haven’t. Maybe it’s a bill from a few years ago that you think you might need one day.
It could be anything, but…
You already know what to do
At first blush, it might seem that you really don’t know what to do. But, if you think about it, there are some basic things you do know. For instance, you know that there are some things that you need to…
You might have a sixth bucket for “repairs” or another one more specific to your circumstances. But, these categories give you a specific destination for each item and actionable steps.
Let’s look at those buckets again a bit more closely…
- Keep. These are items that are still useful, not broken, and enhance our current lifestyle. At times, we keep things that have high sentimental value. I usually use a scale of one to ten (1 = low sentiment, 5 = neutral, and 10 = high sentiment). Anything below a five never makes it to “keep” pile. In fact, it needs to be ranked eight or nine, for me to hold on to it.
- Trash. These are things that are broken, tattered, and no longer function as originally intended or in a new way. For example, a deck of cards will be difficult to play with if some cards are missing.
- Recycle. There are many things that fit in the recycling category, like magazines, and plastic and glass bottles. Often, these items have outlived their usefulness even though we may not have used them to their full capacity. Newspapers are like this. Even though we may not have read them yet, they contain time sensitive information. When that time has passed, their time is up.
- Shred. What papers can you shred? Papers with your social security number or bank or credit card numbers for open accounts, and credit card offers all can be put in the shred bucket, literally. Read more about other papers you can shred here.
- Donate. You can donate just about anything (e.g., books, clothing, toys, housewares) as long as they are still in good repair.
You’re still not sure what to do with your stuff
You can find yourself still feeling uncertain and unable to fit everything in a specific category. Instead of beating your head on the wall and keeping your space from getting organized, put those items in a box. Add a label with the general contents, the current date, and include an expiration date. If you still have not made a decision by the time the expiration date rolls around, decide to let the contents go. If they are still useful and in good repair, donate them. If they’re not, put them in the trash. Keep in mind that if you haven’t used anything in the box since you packed them up, it really is alright to let them go.