Yes, again. Find another item that you’ve been holding onto just-in-case and consider for how long you’ve been waiting to find a use for it. You haven’t. If you can replace the item for less than $20, in about 20 minutes, then it isn’t a rare item that can’t be replace should you ever find that you need it.
Here to see what book I'm giving away today? It's Stephanie Bennett Vogt's A Year to Clear: A Daily Guide to Creating Spaciousness in Your Home and Heart. Let me know in the comments below that you're in (your comment might not show up right away, don't worry, you're in). I'll draw the winner's name on 11/27.
My mother saved every glass bottle and jar that she ever emptied. We had bins and bags of jars stored under the basement stairs. I was planning my wedding the year after she died, trying to figure out how to cut costs. I decided to use the collection of jars as part of my centerpiece.
I dragged the jars home and sorted them by size and style. I had enough jars that I could have put a collection of five on each of the ten tables (and still had leftovers), but I decided to use three on each table (each jar filled with a couple inches of Reese’s Pieces and a battery-operated votive candle).
I probably recycled more jars that I used. In an odd way, this included my mother as part of my wedding day.
If you keep glass bottles and jars because they seem useful, try to use them. If you never use them, recycle them.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Look for an item that you keep because it seems useful and eliminate at least half of what you have stored.
I’m always amazed (amused?) to return to an area that I’ve decluttered to discover a few items that I’ve held onto ‘just in case.’ In some cases, I’ve realized that I’ve held onto items for, oh, twenty years or so, so it’s pretty clear that whatever situation I was waiting for, didn’t happen.
Maybe you bought a new light socket to fix a lamp that instead got moved (damaged) into the garage. You saved old light bulbs to turn into cute hanging vases. Are you really going to turn those pallets into patio seating? And, when are you going to transform those PVC pipes into an outdoor sprinkler for your kids?
DIY supplies are different from hobby supplies in that you purchase these supplies for a certain project or hack that you have never managed to carry out.
Do the project, schedule the time for the project, or get rid of these supplies.
As I sit at my desk, I can see my cat curled up, sleeping in a large, shallow shipping box my husband had received an order in three or four weeks ago. Usually, the cat enjoys the newest cardboard box for a week or two before ignoring it. This box, however, is Favorite Box.
Do you hold onto boxes so that you can ship items in the future? Do you nest the boxes within each other or flatten the boxes to save space?
Do you really use the boxes you save?
It doesn’t matter if they are organized by size if you never use them.
Start using these boxes to pack the items you are cleaning from your home.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.