The average U.S. household has 300,000 items, from pencils to ironing boards. Do we need all of the stuff we have? Probably not!
It can take a special skill to part with beloved objects, a skill that can be difficult to master. But as with any other skill, most people can become better at letting go of items by practicing. On October 23, nearly 100 people took the first steps in letting go when they attended a workshop at Household Goods presented by Rhea Becker, also known as The Clutter Queen.
Attendees learned about the negative impact of clutter on someone’s mental and physical health and how changing their environment can enhance their well-being. Rhea demonstrated the decluttering process on a “junk drawer,” and shared her top 10 tips for decluttering and organizing. She has also prepared weekly challenges to help people jumpstart the decluttering process. We will be sharing these challenges here, so check back every Monday for the next challenge.
Challenge #4 – Instant Closet Makeover
The Challenge: Open your linen closet and dispose of sheets, towels, and blankets that are ripped, stained, or misshapen. Remove the items you haven’t used in the past year and box them up to donate. Rearrange your remaining linens by category (size, season, color).
Did you know? Financial support is essential to transforming empty apartments into homes for families. Even with donated goods and dedicated volunteers, it still takes an average of $200 to fully furnish a single household. Consider making an even bigger impact by supporting Household Goods with a financial donation. Together, we can help people in need make a home.
Challenge #3 – Top 10 Reasons
The Challenge: Set a timer for 15 minutes. Take a piece of paper and write “When I Declutter…” at the top. Then list 10 things you hope to experience once you’ve decluttered your space. For instance, “I will feel less stress,” “I can have friends over,” or “I will be able to think more clearly.” Did you know? Dedicated Household Goods volunteers power our operation – from accepting donated goods to distributing them to thousands of families in need, and taking care of everything in between and behind the scenes. Every volunteer brings unique skills and interests, coming together to do what it takes to help people in need make a home. If you’re not part of our vibrant volunteer community, we hope Household Goods makes it to your Top 10 Reasons list. If you are already one of our 900+ volunteers, thank you!
Challenge #2 – 7-7-7
The Challenge: Choose a weekend to find 7 items to throw away, 7 items to donate, and 7 items to be returned to their proper place in your home. That makes 21 items quickly taken care of.
Did you know? Over 300 social service agencies refer their clients to Household Goods. These agencies serve thousands of people from an endless variety of circumstances. The 7 items you choose to donate could help:
- Those recently homeless
- Those fleeing domestic violence
- Children, youth or elderly in need of services
- Those living with disability or illness
- Families trying to get by on minimum wage
Challenge #1 – Box It Up
The Challenge: Choose 3 items that you would like to let go of but are feeling a bit uncertain about. Take the items – a set of dishes, unused kitchen utensils, a spare lamp, etc. – and place them in a box. Hide the box somewhere in your house where you won’t stumble upon it. Put a reminder on your calendar or phone three months from now to open the box. Did you miss any of it? No? Donate usable items and discard unusable items. Did you know? Household Goods needs a steady stream of clean, usable:
- dressers, tables, chairs, and other furniture;
- mattresses and bed frames;
- dishes, flatware, and kitchen items;
- sheets, towels, and other bed linens; and
- other household items
to furnish more than 50 homes each week for individuals and families in need. If your box included usable household items that you no longer need, please consider donating them to Household Goods. You can find our donation guidelines and donation hours here.
10 Tips for Decluttering and Organizing
- Start small – You know that little drawer in your kitchen where all the takeout menus, rubber bands, and twist ties go to die? It’s time to dump out that drawer, toss the things you don’t need, and put back what’s left. There! You’ve started decluttering.
- Start really small – Declutter for 15 minutes per day. Set the timer on your smartphone. Choose a small project. It could even be as small as a fruit and vegetable drawer in your refrigerator, the top of the fridge, or the spice rack.
- Go to the corner – When beginning to declutter a room, choose a corner and move clockwise until you’ve completed that room. This could take hours or even days. Keep at it!
- Love your thrift shop – Become familiar with your local thrift shop. It will be your greatest ally in keeping your home clutter free.
- Keep a box or large bag in a convenient place. Put items into it that you are ready to part with. As soon as the box or bag is filled, take it to the local thrift shop.
- Bedtime storage – Use the space under your bed for storage.
- Wear it or ditch it – If you haven’t worn it in a year, it doesn’t fit, or needs mending, toss it out.
- Will you really get that fixed?! If you have stuff around the house that is broken, torn, or missing a part, get rid of it. Most people never get around to fixing things they swear they will.
- Closets, one day at a time – It may be overwhelming to tackle an entire closet, so start with one category. How about shoes? Pair up all your shoes, then purge the ones that need repair, are worn out, not in style, or that you are simply tired of. Take them to the thrift shop. Then start on a new category, say: belts, scarves, pants, or dresses.
- Junk the mail – Open your mail each day, and do it over a wastebasket or recycling bin. Immediately ditch what you don’t want or need. Be sure to bookmark this page, as each week for the next 4 weeks we’ll be revealing a new practice assignment.
Need help? If dealing with your clutter gives you a feeling of paralysis, this is not unusual. You may want to consult with a professional organizer like The Clutter Queen.