Since moving into our new home I am more determined than ever to eliminate clutter and simplify. In our 8 person household we tend to accumulate a lot of stuff. Some of it we need, lots of it we don't. As we are unpacking our boxes I am realizing just how much we can live without. The kids have too many toys and too many clothes and I have too much kitchen stuff and too many decorative items and we have entirely too much home school stuff. We've been making daily (yes! every single day!) trips to the donation center with boxes of clothes and toys and books and household items. Many have asked me why not have a garage sale and my answer to that is I don't want to pile up the clutter waiting until I have the time to do a garage sale. For this busy mama it could be months until I have time to put that together. It feels better to me to release the clutter and hopefully bless someone else!
Here are some of my favorite tips for overcoming clutter.............
1. MINIMIZE YOUR BELONGINGS.
Every few months go through clothes, toys, books, games and even furnishings. Give away things you don't use.
2. CAREFULLY CONSIDER YOUR PURCHASES.
The more you have, the more time, space, and energy is required from you to maintain those purchases. Whenever you purchase something new, discard an old item.
3. CREATE A RECYCLE CENTER.
You can purchase a variety of systems or create your own. Locate an easily accessible space to put paper sacks - one sack for each type of recyclable material. We like using large clear Rubbermaid containers. We have one for cans, one for newspaper, etc.
4. GO THROUGH YOUR MAIL RIGHT AWAY.
Use an accordion file folder labeled with your various household bills. Include a "to be paid" section. When you pay your bills move receipts to correct category. Include a "tax info" section to file tax information and receipts.
5. RECYCLE JUNK MAIL.
Don't waste time opening it. Tear or shred credit card offers to avoid theft. Request that catalog companies not sell your name.
6. RECYCLE MAGAZINES.
If you are saving magazines because of good articles, file the articles in a three-ring notebook by category and recycle the magazines. Or share great magazines by passing them on to a friend.
7. ORGANIZE CHILDREN'S SCHOOLWORK.
Purchase large 3-ring notebooks with a clear cover and spine. Let each child design their own notebook. Include grade level, school year and other information. File each child's work you want to save in their notebook. Another idea I love is to take a picture of the child with a favorite project. That way you have a picture to save instead of the whole project. We can't save everything!
8. CREATE AN INFORMATION CENTER.
Install some cork on the inside of one of your upper kitchen cabinets to keep all your notes and loose paper information.
9. IMPLEMENT "THE BOX".
Find a box (I have a basket) that will fit in a closet or some enclosed space. At the end of each day collect items your family chooses to leave lying around and put them in "the box". Items can be earned back by doing extra chores. If they are not redeemed within one week, the items are yours to do with as you please. (* this applies only to the children in our home, not my husband, he can put things where he chooses!*)
10. GIVE TO CHARITY.
What is extra or unused might be needed by someone else. Teach children to give away extra toys. Let them choose the charity and go with you to drop them off.