Take CONTROL of Clutter

As I sit here and write this, the dreaded S word – #@*w, is falling.  Let’s face it we live in Canada and if you can’t hack it here in terms of weather, you can’t hack it anywhere.  It’s true we are all trying to keep this guest at bay by displaying NO VACANCY signs, that is, by keeping your Halloween decorations up past the 1st of November, but unfortunately this guest is ruthless, and doesn’t care that the calendar indicates the 21st of December as its arrival date. It’s still fall, but with the snow, it feels as though winter is moving in, and it really is a great time to get organized before your winter guest arrives permanently and overstays its welcome.

Hopefully by now you’ve come to the realization that summer is officially over.  It’s been over for quite some time, but I understand the idea/hope of keeping your shorts in your drawer for that crazy chinook that’s bound to arrive.  Reality check: it’ll be another 10 months before you can put those daisy dukes on again so come to grips with the new norm; winter.  In order to make the transition you should take this opportunity to clean out your closet, drawers, dresser, armoire, kitchen, play room, bathroom, well what the heck?, the whole house, and donate the things you no longer need or don’t wear.  Here’s a step by step guide to making the most of this purge.

1.     Get the whole family involved, even the youngest.  It’s important for children to know that not everyone has the same lifestyle as they do.

2.     Go through every closet; as painful as it may be.

3.     Go through your kitchen and your bathrooms.  We tend not to purge those areas, so they are clutter filled.

4.     Take apart the play room and reorganize.  You’ll be sure to find some items that your children are no longer using.

5.     Set a goal. It may be that this purge takes an entire month as you feel overwhelmed with the idea of going through all the closets.  If that’s the case, set a goal for each weekend and take it one step at time.

6.     Be realistic.

7.     Be supportive.  If you working alongside your spouse; be supportive of the decisions they are making.  It can be hard to let go of our “stuff”, but it really is just “stuff” so take a deep breath and do it.

8.     Treat yourself at the end, but just not to more “stuff J

While you’re going through your closets, playrooms, kitchen, bathrooms etc, use these questions to help guide you.

1.     Did I wear it this past summer/season?  We all have those items that every summer we take out, and every fall we put away in the exact same fold as May.  If you are holding on to items like this get rid of them.

2.     Do my clothes still fit? It’s a simple question but one that we often don’t ask ourselves.  Are you holding on to clothes that are too big or too small just in case? WHY?

3.     What do I still like?  I can look back at my summer wardrobe from two years ago and think OMG I actually liked that shirt.  Your style typically changes every couple of years, and you really need to decide if you do in fact still like your clothes.  If not, donate.

4.     Have I used this item in the past 6-9 months? If you answer no, donate.

Once you have your bags and boxes ready to go out the door you need to consider where you will be dropping off your items. Here are some ideas of where your “stuff” should/could go:

Value Village – your donations help support over 140 not for profits that Value Village has partnered up with.  Be aware, Value Village has become increasingly picky as to what they will accept and what they won’t.  Don’t be alarmed if they turn your old tv away.

Goodwill – your donations directly help local Albertans.  In fact, you can calculate the impact that your donations will have through their website and see exactly how your beloved dress, computer, rug or chair will impact community members.  They also work with Power of Work and employ people with disabilities who would otherwise be out of work.

Women in Need Society (WINS) – your donations directly help women and their families.  WINS has several community programs that it funds through it’s donation centre.  The donation centre is also used to help women and their families get back on their feet after fleeing crisis.  They offer free goods to the families and it’s through your donations that this is possible. WINS has specific donation items that they will take (most of everything they accept) listed on their website.  They will also pick up your donation at your home, so it’s convenient for everyone.

Walk-in Closet – if you have great women’s items consider this organization as they provide clothing for women reentering the work force or for teen girls.

Well what are you waiting for?  Get organizing!


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