By Kathy Swann
What are the best times in your life when it’s sensible to clean house and get rid of stuff you don’t use? Take advantage of these opportunities to clean out your home and downsize your belongings.
When you move from one house to another is the best time to get rid of things you no longer need. Why move stuff you haven’t used from one place to another where you won’t use it either? Think kitchen gadgets and closets as your best place to start.
Do you have a wok but can’t remember the last time you cooked anything stir-fried? If you rarely entertain, do you really need all those wine glasses and extra sets of dishes? How many plastic containers are in the cupboard and how many do you really use on a weekly basis? Get rid of the sizes you never use. Spend a little time to consider how much of your stuff you really use and make up your mind to let go of what is just taking up space.
Of course, when I say here to get rid of something, I mean donate it- don’t throw it away unless it doesn’t work or it’s broken. There are plenty of charitable organizations happy to have your stuff as long as it’s usable.
Look at your linen closet- how many of those sets of sheets to you really use? If you have towels that have lost their fluff, out they go. Old makeup and medical supplies should be tossed, especially if it’s now past the expiration date.
If there is stuff in the basement or garage still in boxes from the last move, it’s safe to say you won’t use it again. Test your courage by just tossing the boxes without even looking in them. If you can’t manage this without your palms starting to sweat, then check to make sure there wasn’t a hidden treasure in one of them.
When your kids grow up and move out, it’s time to clean out the stuff they didn’t take with them. Don’t feel you should keep your kids’ room as a shrine to them. While I understand you want to keep your memories, you don’t need to keep sports equipment from high school or every trophy they ever won. If it’s not important enough for your kids to take with them to their new place, you shouldn’t hold onto it either. Offer them the chance to keep what they want, but set a deadline for them to move out their things.
If you’ve always wanted a reading room or a place to work on your crafts, now you’ll have it. Or, make this into the fancy room your guests will be thrilled to spend the night in. Redecorate, renovate and make that room your own!
At some point as you get older, you may decide your house is too much to keep up and you’ll move to a smaller place such as a condo. Now you will absolutely need to decide what to get rid of since storage space will be limited. Once again, your kitchen and closets are the best areas that can be downsized. At this point, your lifestyle may also change- you may dine out more often than at home, causing you to need less kitchen gizmos. Consider your new routine and decide what you will no longer need.
Take advantage of these major life events to sift through your stuff, get rid of what you will no longer need in your new life, and donate it to someone else who could use it to start their new life.
Kathy Swann has over 25 years experience in office management, payroll and Human Resources and also works part-time as a consultant/bookkeeper for small businesses. Using her organizational skills, she has helped many of her clients streamline their office systems to save time, money and maximize efficiency.
She is the author of "How to Win When You Lose Your Job: A Handbook for Those Soon to Be Unemployed.” Purchase this e-book at http://www.loseyourjob.net