One of the unfortunate consequences of getting married, having kids, and living in a home for any amount of time is that you start to acquire a lot of clutter. It doesn’t occur over night, and it’s often such a gradual process that you don’t even realize it’s happening, until one day you wake up, take a look around, and realize that you have managed to cram drawers, cabinets, and closets so full of stuff that they barely close. De-cluttering your house may seem like an insurmountable task, but if you go into it with the right mindset you can clean everything out quickly and painlessly. Just keep these points in mind as you start to go through your and your kids’ stuff:
1. If it’s something that hasn’t been used in years… Despite the fact that you may think you’re going to use that item that has been steadily collecting dust for the past five years, the reality is you probably aren’t and you probably won’t miss it when it’s gone. Go ahead and get rid of that and stop hanging onto the “maybe one day…” mindset. This goes for children’s toys too – unless there’s some sort of sentimental value attached to a particular toy, it’s best to box up toys that kids have outgrown and donate them so that other kids can get some use out of them.
2. If it doesn’t fit… Women especially have a tendency to hang onto clothes that don’t fit anymore and usually without any real good reason. Whether it’s too big, too small or if it never really fit the way you wanted, the fact is it doesn’t fit and it needs to go. Hanging onto clothes that don’t fit correctly means you’re hanging onto clothes that are just taking up space. As kids begin to outgrow different outfits it’s a good idea to donate them to friends or family with children that can utilize them. That way if you have another child you can get them back, and if you don’t then the person you donated them to can do with them as they please.
3. If it’s broken… You may have the best of intentions of gluing back on the piece of that figurine that broke six years ago, but it’s probably best to just trash that too. If you haven’t fixed it up to this point in your life, you probably have no real intention of doing so and should just let it go. With broken kids ‘toys it’s best to remember that kids tend to get so many different toys throughout their childhood that, unless the broken toy is their absolute favorite, you should just get rid of toys that aren’t in perfect working condition.
4. If it’s a present that you’ve never used… A lot of people feel guilty for trashing, donating, or selling presents because it was something that was gifted to them, however if you aren’t using it then it’s better off in a home where it will get used. The same goes for children’s toys – since kids don’t hand pick a lot of the toys they get, they’re likely to have a lot of toys that they’ve never touched. Donate these toys to children who are less fortunate, or re-gift them to friends who will use them.
5. If it has sentimental value… Items with some sort of sentimental value are tricky. A lot of times people attach sentimental value to things that they would never use otherwise, and sometimes it’s best to just preserve the memory and let the item go. If it’s something that you or your child can’t part with, then box it up with other items of sentimental value that you aren’t ready to get rid of and put it in a closet or the attic.
As much as we may despise the thought of cleaning out clutter, once you get going with the cleaning out process you’ll warm up to the activity. The more cleaning out you do, the easier it will be to part with things that don’t have any real value, allowing you to get back to the point where your home is clear of clutter.
Ken Myers, the editor in chief, is a frequent contributor of http://www.gonannies.com/. Ken helps acquiring knowledge on the duties & responsibilities of nannies to society. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.