|SIGNS OF SPRING: CROCUS AND CLEANING|
We live in a consumer oriented culture. Everywhere we turn we're bombarded with messages that tell us we need the latest gadget, trendiest new fashions, updated furniture, and on and on... It's hard to resist! But the end result can be a cluttered home, overspending, and too much time spent just taking care of all of our "stuff". So spring is a good time to de-clutter, simplify, prioritize, and re-organize our lives.
So today I'm focusing on DE-CLUTTERING...everything but clothing...that's for another time.
Here are three steps to DE-CLUTTER:
1) Find three large boxes and label them: DONATE, THROW, SELL
2) In deciding which box each item should go in, ask the following three questions:
a) Do I need this? ( ie Have I used this in the last year? )
b) Is it useful?
c) Does it add beauty to our home?
3) Take one room at a time and put items in the appropriate box.
Involve the whole family in this in areas where they need to give input ( their rooms, for example ). Don't spend too much time deciding what to get rid of. If it doesn't fall into one of the three categories, let it go! You will feel so much better when you finally get all that clutter out of the house and have more room to breathe!
WHERE TO DONATE ITEMS:
1) Salvation Army or Goodwill. Some Salvation armies come and pick up your items. You will also receive a tax deduction for your donation.
2) Magazines and Books can be donated to the local library.
3) Give to friends who might appreciate some items. You'd be helping THEM out as well we yourself.
WHERE TO SELL ITEMS:
1) Consignment Stores are great places to take your nicer items.
2) Some florists will pay for your used flower vases.
3) Craigslist and ebay
4) Garage Sales can be a good way to get rid of your stuff...one man's trash is another man's treasure! You can make some money and teach your children some business skills by getting them involved.
WAYS OF AVOIDING CLUTTER:
1) Spend money on EXPERIENCES instead of THINGS.
2) Decide that when you make a purchase ( a new piece of decor, for example) you have to give up one item to give or sell.
3) Have an exchange party where each person brings a nicer item to exchange with another person. Everyone goes home with something "new" to them but doesn't add MORE STUFF to the household in the process. Kids could do this as well.
4) Decide to donate to worthy causes instead of adults exchanging gifts.
5) Make an intentional decision not to buy more than is necessary.
6) Choose to GIVE AWAY more of your money to worthy causes and in meeting needs in the community.
Make this a fun exercise in giving to others, learning how to sell your items, and teaching about saving our environment by not making so many purchases of stuff that just fills up our landfills. There are so many great learning experiences for kids in this process. You can also reward everyone with something special with the money made on all the sales for their hard work. The reward could be decided upon in the beginning so that would be an incentive. But the de-cluttering and the experiences learned are rewards in themselves.