Let it go, let it go, can't hold you back anymore

When you walk through your home, are there piles of stuff everywhere? Do rooms seem to flow from one to the next without a clear demarcation because there is overflow of things?

Do you open drawers and have no idea what is in them? Or when you are digging through them, do you find stuff that you have no idea what it's for or where it came from? Do you keep things for someday, but years later, someday has never come?

If so, it is probably time to do a clean out. This can be incredibly overwhelming when you first start. Especially, when you aren't sure where to start. This week we are going to talk about clearing out and I'll give you a high level list of areas to clean out. I would recommend following the list in order as much as you can. The reason for this is that you will be able build on your progress as you get going. Each day, letting go will get a little easier. You will likely find that you will not be able to complete the clean out in a week. That is okay. I usually do this once a month. Each month there is less to clean out but I'm always surprised by how much I am able to clean out. I usually have a donate pile and many bags of garbage.

You are going to need some supplies to get started. I would recommend having trashbags, boxes and cleaning supplies on hand as you go through this process. I found having different color bags made it easier as I started bagging up trash (white bags) and donations (black bags). I also used boxes for the breakable or fragile items to take them to donate. Have some large storage boxes on had for the sentimental items that you need to put to the side for now.

Here is a recommended list:

  1. Trash Day: Take a trash bag and walk through your house. Put all trash that you see in the bag. Be ready to fill up to a bag per room.

  2. Bedroom: Go through your closets and dressers. Put all items you do not wear, do not fit or do not flatter you in a bag to donate. If you find sentimental items that you're not ready to get rid of them, put them to the side in a storage bin.

  3. Living Room: Go through the living room and entry way areas and clear out any items that you don’t need or that are creating clutter. Put them in a donate bag.

  4. Kitchen: Go in your kitchen and open the drawers and cabinets. Any items you do not use or need should be placed in the donation bag or box.

  5. Bathroom: Go through your bathroom. Pull everything out of the cabinets and cupboards. Put all expired medications to the side to take to your local pharmacy or fire department for proper disposal. Sort the items you pull out of the cabinets into piles - keep, donate, and trash. Dispose of the trash items. You can organize the items into similar groups to locate them better in the future. If you have worn out linens, put them in the trash or donate piles. Often times you can donate towels to your local SPCA.

  6. Laundry/Mudroom/Junk Drawers: These are the areas in the house that often end up filled with odds and ends, junk and extra supplies. Clear it out. Donate as appropriate and toss the junk. If there are items that need to be put back where they really belong, put them to the side and when you are done with the space, put them away.

  7. Office/Workspace: We already talked about this last week. Make piles of paper (shred or recycle) and file anything that needs to be put away. Go through your drawers and toss or donate the items you do not need. Make a pile of items to donate as you work your way through the room.

Once you have gone through the rooms, it is donation drop off day. Pack up all the donation items in your car. If you have too many large items to deliver, you will have to coordinate donation pick up. If you have items that need to be picked up by waste management, you can schedule a large trash pickup. It's time to let go of the clutter.

Congratulations. You have started the journey to letting go of the clutter.

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Christy Zuehl

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