by Susan McCarthy
Everyday Practices: Before putting something into your basement, garage, or attic, question if that is where the item belongs or if you're putting the items there because you don't want to make a decision about letting go of the items.
Decluttering storage spaces can be intimidating. Attics, garages, basements, sheds, spare rooms, and other areas can get filled with items that you’ve delayed making decisions about. You know, “I don’t know what to do with this, so I’ll stick it in a corner of the garage. I’ll figure out what to do with it later.”
And, so, we end up with spaces in our homes that are filled with items from outgrown interests, inherited items we feel obligated to keep (even though we don’t want them), items we use a couple times a year, seasonal decorations, and even some items that we want to store in that space.
Over time, one stack of boxes gets stacked in front of another stack and the next thing we know, years have gone by and we have the vaguest of ideas about what’s in some (many) of those boxes.
Start Decluttering Your Storage Spaces
When you start decluttering a storage space, ask, “What do I want from this space?”
Stay Focused While Decluttering
Knowing how you want to use the space can help you sort through the items you have stored there. What’s more important, passing along the camping equipment you haven’t used in seven years or having a space in the garage for the kids to park their bikes?
Do you want to leave boxes of unimportant items for your adult children to sort through someday in the future? Or do you want a cleared guest room that your grandchildren can use for visits?
Do you want to pay to move boxes that are filled with items you haven’t looked at since your previous move? And prevent yourself from parking your car in yet another garage?
When you encounter stored items that you don’t know what to do with, consider how they support your vision for using the storage area.
Keep Your Vision in Mind
Now, obviously, storage spaces are there so you can store things that don’t get used all the time. But, if you store things that will never again get used, you’re limiting your ability to use that space in a way that works for you and your family.
Decluttering unused items – donating, trashing, or selling them – makes your storage space more effective.
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Susan, chief (and only) organized squirrel at A Less Cluttered Life, pursues learning, practicing, and sharing information about the everyday habits that can lead to living a better life.