TO KEEP OR NOT TO KEEP: Organizing your stuff
When was the last time I used this? Some people say two years is okay but I’d even make this one year in the case of clothing, kitchen stuff, things in storage areas, etc.
Will I use it again? This better be a firm yes or you’re going to be sitting here doing this again next year — with the same stuff. With clothes, one year…did I wear it last year? No? It’s gone. Someone else really wants that blazer with the extra padding in the shoulders — it’s a Halloween costume in the making. Kitchen stuff, how long has it been since you used that? When was the last time you baked muffins? You can always get another muffin pan from Value Village or freecycle.org.
Why am I keeping this — sentimental reasons? I never know how to call this one. I just know that it gets easier to dump stuff the older I get (and the more times I have to pack and move it.) If it’s photos, they can be neatly stored, but things like corks from the first bottle of wine you shared…is that really as important as the memory? If you’re left with a pile of stuff like pressed flowers, a crappy t-shirt, a dog collar from Old Yeller then consider getting someone to write about the memories for you and perhaps take pictures of the item. It might be quite cathartic and it will give a writer work*…and it will save on wrapping the things up every time you move. You’ll know when it’s time to let something go after you really examine it. Don’t feel pressured to get rid of something just because it doesn’t look good in your loft but do get rid of it if you can look at it and it no longer evokes the kind of feelings that it once did. (That’s the key).
Does it belong elsewhere or to someone else? Put it back now. Give it back now. They’ve been waiting long enough. If it’s a book, apologize for keeping it so long.
Have I got more than one of these? Can I make another one easily? Think about it: we’ve now got access to scanners, copiers, computers that copy CDs and DVDs. Now look at your stuff again. Need to keep those six copies? Or even two?
Am I in love with it? Examine this feeling from all angles. If it’s true love you can keep it. If not — let it go, it won’t come back to haunt you.
Can someone else use this more than my closet can? This is a good time to let out your inner altruist. What’s your closet doing with this stuff anyway? Nothing! An actual person could be using this. Try freecycle.org or torontocraigslist.org, or you can wait for one of those organizations to call you during your supper — the ones who want your old stuff that you’re not using anymore. Yeah, that stuff right there blocking the path to your bed.
If you’re still having trouble, call Fair Trade Cleaning. We’ll help you. 416.537-7979
REMEMBER — REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.