I’ve always thought fall cleaning should be a thing. It’s a perfect time to get rid of your stuff – right before the holidays.
You get a clean house – which means less stress – plus more room. And who couldn’t use that?
We are hoping for a transfer for my husband back to our home state, so I’ve been watching and reading a lot about getting a house ready to sell. Which includes getting rid of your stuff, or at least some of it.
I saw this video the other day and the guy said we do all this work to clean and fix up our homes just so we can sell it to someone else. Why, instead, don’t we do those things for ourselves? It makes perfect sense, really.
Why do we fix our homes up for others, but not ourselves? Have you ever fixed your home up to sell, then looked around and wonder why you made that decision? I know I have. (I also know that sometimes it’s the only way to get my husband to finish all the things he didn’t complete.)
I know this is coming a little late in the season, but you still have time to get something done before the holidays.
All I’m saying is to go through your belongings and get rid of some stuff. No organizing, just decluttering.
And by doing it, you’re blessing not only you and your family, but possibly others as well if you donate what you don’t need or use. And this would be the season for that, right?
Start with Your Head
The biggest obstacle to getting this done – and getting it done quickly – is between your ears.
Maybe you’re a little too indecisive. I get it. That’s why I’m still wearing a lot of the clothes that I was wearing over 30 lbs ago. (Lost, not gained. 😊) Plus I don’t like to spend money on myself.
So maybe you suffer from the “I might need/wear this one day” or “I paid $X for that”.
I have a vintage Pendleton blazer that I bought for $50 on Poshmark. It’s from the 1960s and in perfect condition. It fits me really well. But blazers aren’t really my style, and it’s a brown houndstooth check. I don’t really wear brown. But it was such a good deal.
How can I possibly donate it?
Or maybe your Aunt Edna gave you that knick knack and how could you part with it? Yep. Got a few of those too. Two serving pieces and a teapot. Never used. but they’re old and they have sentimental value.
Ordinarily I would suggest that you do this with a ruthless minded friend who would get rid of the stuff for you – or at least talk you into it. Don’t invite the one that will mix up a bunch of margaritas and distract you altogether. Ask her over for later.
But we can’t do that right now with the virus.
So, the one thing you need to unpack and put to use are your big girl panties. (Me too.)
Find positive reasons to get rid of things instead of holding on to them. Wouldn’t it be better that Aunt Edna’s knick knack went to someone who loved it? And maybe my serving pieces could actually do what they were meant to do – serve – instead of sitting in a cupboard for 40 years.
True. I’ve had them that long and never used them. It’s way past time they found a home that will love and use them.
Work Fast, Don’t Think
The way I envision this, we’re on a mission and a deadline. Get in, get rid of your stuff, and get out.
If I were completely honest with myself, I could have my closet cleaned out in under an hour. That blazer would be gone too.
I could probably go through the whole house in three hours or less and clear it out. That’s not counting my husband or son’s stuff. That’s not mine to clear.
I say that, though, because I’ve been clearing for some time. Anticipating that big move. I know that once my husband’s company makes the decision, he’ll be gone in a week or less. So I’ve been clearing for a few months now. Here and there.
I understand that you haven’t had that advantage.
But maybe it would help to think of it this way: this is not “sort, declutter, organize”.
This is more of a “weeding out”. Staring reality in the face and learning acceptance.
How much fun would it be to finally lose those pounds and then fit into clothes that have been hanging in the closet for years? Clothes that might look a little shabby now and out of date?
Wouldn’t it be more fun to celebrate that weight loss with a new wardrobe?
And the other stuff you’re hanging on to?
Recently I got rid of two pitchers and a vase that had sentimental value to me. They sat on the kitchen counter for days while I thought about them.
Finally, they went into the recycling bin. I know I should have donated them, but they needed to go fast or I wasn’t sure they would go at all.
And that’s what you need to try and do.
Take your heart out of the picture.
I know that sounds cold.
But I don’t mean throw your mom’s wedding picture away because it’s old and taking up room. On the other hand, if you’ve got a custom bowling ball and bag in the closet, and the last time you bowled, stirrup pants were in style…..
A Plan is Always Good
You know I’m a big fan of planners.
And you know,
Failing to plan is planning to fail.Benjamin franklin
So the smart thing to do (and I know you’re smart – and crazy busy) is to pull out your planner and see when you have some free time. Soon. An hour should do.
And then you should make a list of the areas you want to tackle. So you can get rid of your stuff.
Maybe you could order them in terms of importance.
Then find a few more hours in your schedule. One at a time. Half-hours if you must.
Engrave those dates into your calendar. Do not “pencil them in”. Do not block them off with a maybe. And absolutely do not think they’ll be open and you’ll just do it then.
Because you won’t.
Believe me, it will all be worth it in the end.
And guess what?
There’s no prep work involved.
No gathering of supplies, other than some trash bags. Maybe a box if you’ve got dishes and the like.
This is super easy.
Your Plan of Attack
Pretend you’re racing the clock.
Get rid of your stuff faster and you win more time, more space, and more peace of mind.
That’s a real thing.
Clearing stuff out of your home, leaving it less cluttered, means less to look at and deal with.
And that, in turn, gives you more peace of mind.
We could all use some peace of mind around the holidays. And this year. we could have used more peace of mind all year.
So don’t wait, don’t hesitate. Put your fighting clothes on and keep that date. (Sorry. I had a rap song going there. OK. Not really. My kids would be embarrassed.)
But seriously. Try it. Keep that first commitment on your calendar. Clear that space out. Fast. Before you have time to think. Just do it.
And the minute you’re done – walk those bags right out to the car and throw them in. Oh, and make sure those bags are tied as tight as can be. So you won’t be tempted.
And if you can get someone to drive them to the donation center (or box), even better. Wonder if you could call an Uber for that?
Lots of churches (and other places) have donation boxes now. Did you know that? So you don’t always have to drive all the way to Goodwill or the Salvation Army to donate.
Dream a Little Dream
Fast forward a few weeks.
You have Christmas presents to hide before you wrap them.
You have ALL this space to choose from since you got rid of your stuff.
Someone asks you what you want for Christmas.
You can confidently tell them that you need a new wardrobe item, because since you got rid of your stuff, you know exactly what you have and what you need.
You’ve got a few people coming over for a visit. No sweat.
The house looks great cause you got rid of your stuff and it’s so peaceful now.
Getting into the habit of doing this sort of weeding out once a month or even every quarter could be a “just right” New Year’s resolution. Except, you know, one that you actually keep.
Because if you do, it will make a tremendous, positive difference in your life.
And we could all use more of that.