Saturday, November 18, 2017

Got Clutter? Tips to Destash and Declutter!

There is an element in creativity that demands we let go and let ourselves run free.  In my world, that also means periodic chaotic mess in my work space because, well, that's just how crafting is done. When the creative frenzy ends, however, I simply clean up and put things back in their places until the next inspiration or deadline.

But it is different when I look around my home and see living spaces that need more than just a bit of tidying up.  In that context, the clutter is simply excess out of control. It is visual chaos, confusion and bad feng sui. It also makes me feel overwhelmed and out of control.

Let's face it.  We ALL have stuff we don't use, don't need or have simply outgrown. It is just part of being primal human gatherers.  And in a world bombarding us daily with retail temptations like Black Friday sales (basically year round) and coupons coming out of our ears, how can our homes remain pristine and clutter-free?

The answer is actually simple.  Routine "de-stashing".  Every time we bring something new into our living environment, we need to get rid of something that is already there.  If we never increase our belongings, we will never experience out-of-control clutter.

Sure, it's easy relatively easy to gather and give away the obvious--like the shoes that hurt to wear or the useless gadget that jams the drawer each time we open it--but what about all the items that fall into that 'grey' area?  You know the ones.  The jeans we LOVE but are still too snug to actually wear comfortably for the past 2 years (or more).  Or maybe that cool tortilla maker we used once when we had a free afternoon to actually cook from scratch.  Those are the difficult decisions to make because we have an emotional connection to those items. 

We need ninja decluttering strategy tips to deal with those areas of clutter:

1. Enlist a friend who is not emotionally connected to any of the items in question to help us make decisions or actually go through those "grey" piles and box them to give away or sell for us.

2. Identify items that we perceive as having special value and find new homes for that will appreciate them.  Knowing that the items will be "loved" makes it easier to give them away.

3. Take photos of items or groups of items that have emotional meaning before boxing them to give away. Taking the photo serves as a symbolic act of saying goodbye and can give a sense of closure. And a few photos take up waaaay less space!

4. If you are parting with a large collection of items that have significant emotional meaning or are items additional family members may also be connected with, place those photos into an album.  Knowing you have the memories safely stored will make the de-stashing easier.

5. Find a good cause that you believe in and donate items to be used for fund raising or to help people or animals in need.  Knowing that the items will be helping others gives the act of de-cluttering a sense of purpose.

6. Box those hard-to-part-with items and put those boxes away with a note to reopen them after one year.  If you find you have forgotten all about them after all that time, you will find it may be easier to sell or give them away.

7. Have a garage sale and celebrate your de-stashing by spending the money on experiences instead of on more "stuff". 

Next time, I will address the destash and declutter process that relates to so many creative thinkers.  Yep, fellow crafters, I feel your pain! This is the one area in which I totally struggle. How on earth do I declutter all that craft stash?!

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