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Downsizing My Life: Tips for Decluttering

Declutter Your Life

More isn’t always better. More can be clutter. More can be stressful. When more gets in the way of your life or destroys your budget, it’s time to realize that sometimes less can be better than more. I’m a category 3 hoarder, the what-if-I-want-this-someday packrat, and it’s time for me to get bring it down a notch.

Closet

Ladies (and gentlemen), I know you’ve all had the thought, “I can’t remember the last time I wore that…” Your closet is an easy place to start downsizing.

For the past 6 months every time I put away my laundry, the newly cleaned items go on the far left side of my closet. Now there’s a small section of clothes on the far right side of my closet that I haven’t touched. To make room for my winter gear, I’m taking those unworn clothes to Plato’s Closet and Goodwill.

Makeup

In the past year I’ve been very good at keeping my collection clean and organized, regularly going through each makeup drawer every 3-6 months and tossing items that are old and unloved. There are a lot of non-profits that will take your gently used cosmetics!

It’s hard to resist a good 20% off sale, but when I look at my lipsticks, I realize half the colors are more or less the same shade. Next time you pick up that eyeshadow, ask yourself: Do I already own a shade similar to this? Do I really need this? Do I have room for this? Can I afford this?

Kitchen

When I took a close look at all my cooking gadgets, I noticed I have two garlic choppers, and I don’t use either one. I have a honey dipper… not sure how that got in there. I have two cheese graters, cause you never know when you’ll need to grate two cheese blocks at the same time.

I keep items that I rarely use, like platters and bowls for dip and other items for entertaining, in a large box in my garage. Each time I bust it out, I reevaluate each item and toss items as needed. Go through the kitchen and sort everything into three groups: Keep, keep in storage, donate.

Books

Looking through my  collection I saw that several of the books on my shelf are books I haven’t read and have no intentions of reading. Dialogues of Plato, The Fountainhead and random bargain bin finds. Let someone else love your unread books!

Keepsakes & Gifts

My trick to letting go of keepsakes and gifts is to take a good hard look at the item, and ask myself: Who gave this to me? What does it remind me of? Why is this important? If you’re at a loss, it might be time to say goodbye. If you’re afraid of forgetting something, take a picture of it.

Let go of that guilt you feel when you ditch a gift from a friend. If you’re never going to use that electric wine opener, return it, gift it to someone else (yep, I said it), sell it or donate it. Just don’t keep it! Say thank you, and move on.

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I will never be a minimalist or adopt micro living, but it’s a growing priority of mine to keep my belongings in check. It’s an ongoing challenge, but I have a game plan. Do you?


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1 Comment

  • Reply Lisa

    Thanks for the tips. I am a pack rat also. I always feel the urge to get rid of stuff since I have so much of it, but then when I actually dig into the closet I MAYBE (if it is a good day!) get rid of ONE thing. I can spend an hour and get rid of ONE thing. I seriously have a problem lol but I just feel like I might need it one day or I feel bad giving it away if someone gave it to me who is either not around anymore or who is around and might ask where it is!

    November 1, 2014 at 9:15 pm
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