When did I get so much stuff?

Do you ever open a closet and wonder, “Where did all this stuff come from!” I’m convinced that clutter builds on its own as we sleep…

I come from a family that loves to clean, organize, and declutter. I know, it is weird. It does bring us joy. Even then, we all have a spot that seems to pile up first.

The big thing to remember when decluttering is to start simple! Don’t try to do the whole house at once. Start with a drawer or closet and work up to a room.

Here are some everyday clutter items to help you start. Pick one and go from there. Little by little, it will make a big difference. 

  • Clothes- Most of us have too many! We enjoy them, but after a while, they don’t have to same look or feel. Go through your current clothes and get rid of the clothes you don’t feel good wearing. You know you won’t wear that again. Then turn all your hangers backward. As you wear and hang back up, your clothes turn the hangers back forward-facing. Then you can tell what items you wear regularly and what you never pick to wear. Those need to go!
    • If you have professional business clothes and would like to donate them, there are businesses like Dress for Success that help women get the clothes they need for job searching and to better their lives. 
  • Blankets and Comforters- There are only so many blankets and comforters we need. It’s time to go through those and give away the ones you won’t use again. Shelters are always looking for donations of warm blankets.
    • Adult & Children Shelters need blankets for people in need. Check out your local organizations like Join here in Oregon.
    • Animal Shelters- Check with your local animal shelter. 
  • Board Games- Really think about when the last time you played with some of those games? Keep your favorite and donate the rest. Someone would enjoy playing with those. 
  • DVD’s- Go through your DVD’s and again ask, When did I last watch this? Or watch it. Likely, you won’t enjoy it the same way you thought you would. If it’s not something you would watch multiple times and still enjoy it, it’s time for it to go.
  • Tupperware- Where do these things come from, and where is the lid! Go through and match up your Tupperware. If it doesn’t have a top, you’re most likely not going to use it. I went through and got rid of all my Tupperware a few years ago and switched to glass bowls and glass containers with lids. I have a few sets, and that’s it. I haven’t missed my Tupperware and don’t miss the clutter that it brought. 
  • Coffee Cups- Getting coffee cups as a gift is very common. There are so many cute ones out there! But, everyone has a cup or two that they love and use repeatedly. If they have chips, broken, or collecting dust, its time to pick a new favorite and let the rest go.  
  • Towels and Dishtowels- Towels seem to pile up a linen closet so fast. We all have towels we have had forever. We have cleaning towels and good towels. But how many do we need? Keep a couple of sets of both good and bad towels and let the rest go. 
    • Animal shelters use towels all the time and would most likely benefit from your donation.  
  • Dishware- Miss-matched dishes and broken dishes can go. Large pieces that you don’t use anymore can go. Even small party dishes that are not being used or haven’t been used for a long time can go. 
  • Medications- Go through expired drugs and medicines that you no longer use. Any prescriptions that you can’t or won’t be finishing can go.
    • Check with your local pharmacy or law enforcement agency. Your local city also has lists of where to dispose of items. For Washington County, check out their website. 
  • Old Paint- This is one that I just went through. I pulled all the old paint colors that I won’t use anymore as well as expired paint. Old paint and cans can be recycled or tossed.  
    • If the paint in the can is dry to the touch, it can be tossed in the garbage. You can check with your local company to confirm. 
    • Many states have a paint recycle program. I found a local drop off center through PaintCare.org. The best part was it’s free to drop off old paint! 
  • Pet Toys- Like most kids, dogs have their favorite toys too. They play with the same ones leaving a layer of unused toys at the bottom of the basket. 
    • Check with your local dog shelter to see if they take donations. Another pup waiting for their forever home would enjoy a new toy! The Oregon Human Society will take pet toys for donation.

Now What?

When you figured out what you’re going to tackle first, it’s time to grab a trash bag and a container for donations. First, pick up all visible trash. 

Then start to go through your items, asking yourself a few questions. 

  1. Have I used this is a year? If not, the likelihood of you using it again is small, and maybe someone else might use it more.
  2. Would I repurchase this? If you saw it again today at a store and would pass on buying it, you probably don’t need the one you have at home. 

Once you finished purging the items that no longer have a place, it’s time to clean up.

My tip to you:

I always have a cardboard box set up in the garage labeled “Donations.” This way, I can toss things in as they come along. Then when the box is full, off it goes, and here comes a new box.

Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your newly cleaned and open space!

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Keeping your home safe while enjoying your vacation.

Summer is the season to stop and take a break and spend some time away from home. Don’t let the worry of the safety of your home ruin your well-deserved vacation. These are some tips to help you worry less and be able to enjoy your time off.

  1. Double-check that your windows, doors and pet doors are locked. It seems simple, but it’s always the simple tasks that get forgotten.
  2. If you ever start to worry that you forgot to turn something off, even though you most likely didn’t, take a picture of it before you go. Then you know for sure that you didn’t leave on the stove and can come back to it if your worry pops back up.
  3. Leave a car in the driveway but make sure you remove your valuables and garage door openers.
  4. Tell a trusted neighbor. We never mind keeping an eye out on our neighbor’s home, and I’m grateful for my neighbors who do the same thing when we are gone.
  5. Pick up the yard before you leave. Store toys, tools, and anything easy to grab in a locked garage or storage shed. If you’re gone for a long time, hiring some yard maintenance while you’re gone will make coming back easier! Nobody wants to clean and trim the lawn the day they come back!
  6. Don’t announce on social media that you’ll be out of town. Even though your profile settings can be set to private, info can be shared quickly.
  7. Pause your mail service. It’s easy, and you can do it online at USPS.
  8. Unplug electronics that don’t need to be on during your vacation. Save some money and energy on things that are not essential.
  9. Hire a house-sitter or pet-sitter to watch over your home while you’re away. A little piece of mind goes a long way.
  10. Sync your smart home electronics to be able to monitor your home from anywhere. I love being able to turn on my Nest Thermostat to run the AC or heat when were heading home from vacation!

Now it’s time to rest, relax, kick back and enjoy your vacation!