Keep, Sell, Toss or Donate

home-organization-tips

 I love organized spaces.  I adore those Pinterest posts with pantries that have magazine racks to hold canned foods, glass jars labeled for cereal, pasta and flour.  I drool over the cabinet doors with cork boards for pinning notes and chalkboard paint for writing lists. And don’t get me started on those mudrooms with a little cubby for each member of the family.  If won the lottery, half my house would be from the container store, Pottery Barn office, or Restoration Hardware.  I love organized spaces, and yet my life is cluttered chaos on a good day! 

I seem to constantly be at war with myself.  I love an organized room, but when I’m being creative the mess is of tornado proportions! If I can see my sewing room floor, I consider that to be a miracle-having everything in its place is a pipe dream at times.  I have found the more chaotic my emotional life, the messier my house is.  I’m usually pretty good about containing it all to one room, but lately one room has become the whole house.  And given that I’m preparing to move… this is not the ideal.  So, for at least two hours a day for the next several weeks, my goal is to PURGE.

Organizational experts say that a good PURGE should be done seasonally.  When the weather changes, your life changes, or a holiday comes to a close is always a good time to re-evaluate, restock and recycle.  I have personally hit the change trifecta this week.  It’s the end of the holidays, the weather is becoming more spring like, and I’m getting a divorce.  So its time to purge!

They say start in one room or area and work top down, work quickly, and limit distractions.  So for me the first room will be the basement storage area.  I have to put holiday decorations away, as well as sift through mine and his.  I’ll start with the highest shelves and work to the floor.  Everything comes out of the room and goes into four piles; Keep, Toss, Sell/Donate, and of course-HIS.  I’m supposed to ask myself a series of rapid fire questions when it comes to every item; Have I used it in the last year?  Is it of any value? Does it bring me joy?

These seem like simple questions.  If I haven’t used it in a year, chances are good I don’t need it.  If it’s of value I can probably sell it.  If it brings me joy, I should keep it and find a way to display it.  By doing a rapid, Keep, Toss, Sell/Donate through the room I can later go through each pile and do a secondary Keep, Toss, Sell/Donate evaluation.  I may love it, but if it doesn’t work and can’t be fixed-Toss pile it goes.  My biggest obstacle is papers.

I am a writer.  So I often keep notebooks, slips of papers, or even napkins with ideas for stories or dialogue that I intend to use for later.  They are of absolutely no value or use to anyone but me.  So what do I do with all of that? It should be tossed, but to me its like throwing away a newborn child.  That spark of an idea, could someday become a great story.  The same happens with awards, souvenirs, and certificates I don’t display.  If I were a scrapbook-er I’d put them in a lovely scrapbook… but I don’t have time for scrapbooking.  So I think I’ve found a solution or two to my paper problem.  I’m going to gather all of the papers, ticket stubs, museum programs, playbills and etc. and either photograph them or scan them into the computer.  This way I’ll have them but they won’t be cluttering up a room someplace.  I can put them all on a zip drive or a memory stick for safe keeping.  And the items I can’t scan or photograph like old costume designs or theatrical posters I will put into a binder designated by year and project.  I’ll do the same with old magazines…I’ll cut out articles that I want to keep and scan them to the computer or keep them in a binder.  This way I don’t have piles and piles of papers sitting around collecting dust.

I have this belief, that if I get rid of the old, the new will have room in my life.  Holding onto the old clutter is weighing me down.  Letting go is never easy, but being stuck in who I used to be is not where I want to be either. Doing something like this is never just as simple as Keep, Toss, Donate/Sell.  There is a big emotional component to it as well.  I have to do this as a way of reconciling my past.  I did all of this stuff, I bought this or that, and at the time I had a good reason. I kept this thing because it reminds me of where I’ve been, what I’ve done, or who I was. I held onto this item as a symbol of my possible future-but that future is different today than I imagined. I know I’ll end up keeping pieces of my past, the ones that fit into the jigsaw of who I am.  But I hope that by letting go of the past, symbolically and literally, I can move forward to what I am meant to be now.

Wish me luck! And if you don’t hear from me by Wednesday- I’ve been buried alive in stuff… come save me! LOL

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