I am not a hoarder – my house is neat and clean. But a closer look might reveal a few areas that could use improvement and help kickstart organizing my home. Here are a few traits that I recognize in myself.
Most of us share this trait. There are decorations that are seasonal – we pull them out at certain times of the year. It won’t hurt to throw away old or broken items to make room for new ones. There are items of clothing that have a specific use. I have some Hawaiian dresses that could easily be donated. Ditto for shoes. Ditto for those items of clothing that are a size too small, waiting for me to lose 10 or 15 pounds. Get rid of what you really don’t need or can’t wear. Do you buy Christmas gifts in March? Not really necessary, especially since you might see something better in September.
One of my late husband’s hobbies was building and flying model airplanes. There are fuselages and wings hanging from the garage ceiling. The planes will never fly again – the balsa wood is too fragile and the electronics are too old. But they don’t bother me – they don’t inhibit any movement. Someone suggested I take pictures of them for digital memory and then consign them to the trash. I’ll do that one day this summer.
High schools used to hold a lot of recycling fundraisers, but that seems to have tapered off. Many recycling businesses in my area have closed. Countries that used to take our recycling items no longer do. Courtesy of my husband’s computer hobby, I have boxes of electronic parts and wires and will have to look harder for recycling businesses. Some communities require that you be a resident of that city to partake in recycling programs. My worst collection in that of toxic material – old motor oil, glue, spray cans of various liquids, paint and paint thinner. There are forms to fill out and rules to follow, such as not including any container without a top. I can’t get motivated enough to jump through all the hoops. Someday I must. Maybe making these changes in organizing my home will be just the push I needed.
I have several pieces of metal that are too big for the trash. Fortunately, our community has free curbside pickup twice a year for those types of items. I just usually add my items to my neighbor’s items when he calls for a pickup. I don’t have enough for just myself. There is an upstairs two-part desk that I want to put on Craigslist. But first I’ll have to hire movers to get it downstairs and into the garage. A summertime project.
I have 5 stepchildren and am going to let them sort through any things belonging to their father that have special meaning for them. I don’t have anything special that my daughter needs. So this is something that is not a big problem for me. If you are saving something for your children, ask them now whether or not they want it. When my parents were redoing their wills on the sale of a house, they asked my brother and sister and me what items we were interested in and put those choices down in writing.
I brought several metal pictures back from Hong Kong. A beautiful teak salad bowl set that came from the Philippines. I must either display/use them or donate them to the annual neighborhood garage sale. ”Use it, donate it, or trash it” has become my spring cleaning motto.
I used to collect cardboard boxes for mailing Christmas gifts to family members. Now I order online and someone else mails them. But there is still a corner in the garage that is full of boxes. This would be a good habit to break. Don’t collect what you aren’t going to use.
There are a lot of things in my house that belonged to my husband’s parents and my parents. Some things I use, some I don’t. No one else wants them. Don’t feel you are dishonoring any memory as you are organizing your home by donating or throwing away things you don’t need.
I live two blocks from a major freeway that was built on top of a major northern California earthquake fault. Several of my closets are filled with bins of long-lasting food, water, over-the-counter medicine, and paper goods. If bridges come down, I not only have to deal with my own needs, but there will be a hoard of commuters with no place to go. If that happens, I’m hoping the “loaves and fishes” consciousness will fill in for my meager efforts.
My daughter got married and moved into a small condo. She keeps promising to come to sort out her remaining articles of clothing and knick-knacks. But she has no place for them, so I’m not holding my breath.
Even if I never reread most of them, they’ll do well at a garage sale. I donate a lot of books to the local half-price bookstore. In keeping with my new spring cleaning motto, I don’t save everything and that’s helping with organizing my home.
I recently hosted seven ladies from Europe in my home. I bought an extra mattress and a lot of extra twin-size sponges. They are in a storage garage a few blocks away to store big items. The cost is worth it to rent a closet/garage of the size you need for items you might need in the future but that you don’t want to take up space in your home.
Here are some good examples of home organizing systems to help you get started.