Tips for the mega pack rat: How to get rid of stuff you just don't need

Learn to love your home again by weeding out all the unnecessary stuff and re-discovering what you truly love.

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  • Clutter seems like an inevitable part of life. The older we get the more stuff we accumulate, and many of us reach a point where we feel overwhelmed by our stuff. The easy answer is to do a whole house purge and get rid of all the excess. However, we often have emotional attachments to physical objects that make it challenging to let go. If you're having problems getting rid of things, here are some steps you can take to stop your pat rack nature in its path.

  • Use the "One Year" rule for everyday objects

  • Some items are sentimental, but other objects are only functional. Try not to get emotional over functional objects. If you feel overwhelmed by 15 sheet sets, five can openers, years worth of old magazines, and a closet full of unworn clothes, commit to toss anything you haven't used for one year. If you can go an entire year without using a functional object, then it obviously isn't serving a function in your life. Let it go and clear up some free space.

  • Properly store sentimental items

  • When objects have true sentiment, such as photos, family heirlooms, and keepsakes, treat them with the respect they deserve. If something is important enough to keep around, then handle them carefully. Preserve family photos in an acid-free environment away from water sources, and consider having priceless family photos scanned and converted into digital images so that you have a backup. Create family heirloom boxes for larger items and store or display these objects safely.

  • Kick out duplicates

  • Everyone needs one set of dishes and a few sets of towels, but it's easy to hang onto duplicate items that you don't need. When you're looking for a place to start purging, duplicate items are a logical place to start. As you evaluate multiples of the same item, ask yourself which one you really love and only save that one. Surrounding yourself with things you truly love will make the purging process less stressful, and you'll discover long-lost treasures hiding in your home.

  • Keep the clutter from coming back

  • Once you've gone through your house room by room applying the one year rule, storing sentimental items, and purging duplicates your job becomes keeping your space clutter free. Your first step is finding a home for all the beloved stuff you've kept. Implement an organizational system that makes sense to you, and keep an eye out for problem areas where clutter seems to accumulate.

  • Next, identify your buying triggers. You can't develop clutter if you're not buying things to bring into your home. If you can't seem to walk away from a sale at the mall, start avoiding the mall. Maybe your problem shopping habits include flea markets, second-hand stores, and garage sales. Whatever your shopping addiction, learn to avoid tempting retail situations.

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  • Most importantly, only allow beautiful things that enrich your life to occupy your space. There is no sense in buying things that don't make us happy, so limit your purchases to meaningful items that you can love for years to come. When you surround yourself with things that make you happy, you'll feel less of a need to bring extraneous stuff into your life. Remember that there is beauty in simplicity, and filling up your space with mere things cannot make you feel fulfilled long term.

  • Keep stuff in its proper perspective. Things can make you smile and brighten your day, but they cannot bring you lasting happiness. In fact, purging your life of clutter and excess is a freeing experience, especially after a lifetime of clutter dependency.

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Heather Hale is a fourth-generation Montanan and mom to three crazy boys.

Website: http://moderatelycrunchy.blogspot.com

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