October 2007 Newsletter
Tip of the Month: Permission to Let Go
Ideally, our homes and offices are filled with things that we love or find useful - and I mean useful now (or at the appropriate time of year), not "someday it may come in useful."
So I hereby give you permission to get rid of all of the following:
1. Gifts. Even those who love us dearly will sometimes give us something that just doesn't do much for us. Or maybe it's an old gift, that was perfect at the time but doesn't fit who we are 25 years later. Releasing the gift does not mean you care about the person any less; it just means you also care about yourself, and won't let your space become cluttered. Yes, sometimes you might need to hold onto something so as not to hurt someone's feelings - but we often keep items that no one will even realize are gone.
2. Something you bought which you realize was a mistake - even if it cost a good bit of money, and even if it's never been used. If you're never going to enjoy using it, why keep it around? Do you really want to be reminded of that mistake every time you come across it? Done is done, as Morgaine said in The Mists of Avalon. If you donate it to a good cause, give it away on Freecycle or craigslist, or sell it for a bit of money, you can make the best of the situation.
3. Things that are perfectly good - but you have something better, and you're never going to use the one that's second, third, fourth, or fifth best.
4. The leftover holiday cards with the family photo on them. Keep one as a memento, but you don't really need to keep a box of 17.
5. Memento-ish items in general (cards received, photos, school work you did in 7th grade, etc.) if they don't have particular meaning to you. Everyone is different; keep what's precious to you and discard the rest without guilt.
Someone was horrified to hear I'd discarded my high school yearbooks (after ripping out a few pages that I did care about), but they were just clutter to me. On the other hand, I did keep the high school literary magazine that I worked on with some friends.
6. Things that are broken, if you don't have the skill to repair them, or you don't have time to allocate to making the repairs.
7. Things you think you maybe should use, but you know in your heart of hearts you won't: the 20-piece cookware set if you just aren't that much of a cook, the exercise eqipment that only serves as a clothes rack, the book someone recommended that you know you'll never read.
8. Things that could probably find a second, creative use if you were Martha Stewart - but you're not.
Updates from Prior Newsletters
Back in July I wrote about companies that would take old t-shirts and other textiles and create a custom quilt for you. The nice folks at stitch'T wrote to tell me they also provide that service; you can see lots of examples on their web site.
And back in May I wrote about a woman in the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers who was coordinating the distribution of toys sent to her in Iraq. Although she has returned to the USA (before her expected date in November), other people have taken over the role. If you'd like to donate toys to children in Iraq, you can read all the latest details on Parent Hacks.
Organizing Quote of the Month
Life is constant change. So when something comes into your life, enjoy it, use it well, and when it is time, let it go.
-- Karen Kingston, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui
Donation Idea of the Month
Try donating furniture you no longer need to your local furniture bank. In the United States, the National Furniture Bank Association has a web site where you can find the furniture bank closest to you. I'm also aware of furniture banks in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; if you know of others outside the U.S., please let me know!
Highlights From My Blog in September
There were 25 entries in my organizing and de-cluttering blog in September. Some of the most popular entries were:
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