Let the STUFF Go: 3 ideas for clothes, toys, and books
Isn’t it the universal truth that the more stuff the more you have to take care of. Whether it’s personal mom stuff that sits in the overflowing bathroom drawer or just too many kids toys around the house. Having LESS stuff means LESS work for you. Universal truth.
A perspective: It may sound a bit morbid, but I like to think the STUFF in my house in relation to when I’m dead. While I understand that I can never fully eliminate that need for someone to distribute my stuff when I’m gone. I can eliminate the need for that person to deal with a HOUSE FULL of stuff. It makes letting go of those badges I got when I was 10yrs old, a little easier. It makes it easy for me to pass on that wedding present I only used twice in the last nine years. No, my grade two report card does NOT need to be kept for future generations, nor do I need to keep my Graduation dresses (still working up the nerve to get rid of the wedding dress)
The stuff I’m talking about is the stuff that is taking up space, making areas look cluttered, and taking up your time, whether mental or physical as you have to think about what to do with it again, or you are literally moving it around to make room for something else again.
Here are some tips and tricks to let the stuff go that accumulates in three different areas of the house. Sometimes till they are overflowing. (Even if your an avid tosser you might find one or two more tweaking ideas)
- 1) Clothes in your Closet.
- Be aggressive: give away anything you know that you know you haven’t worn in the last year. Let someone else enjoy it. About once a year I`ll get into a clothes tossing mood. I usually toss everything out onto my bed and start putting everything back into my closet. Really looking at a piece of clothes and asking myself, if I still wear it… and if it still fits me. If it`s been sitting there for a while it goes into the donations box. Also if I`ve drowned my bed with clothes there is the motivation to finish before bedtime that night. Clothes cropping can be tough to do if you are still having your family. But a rubbermaid container ready to receive maternity clothes is a handy tool. Fill it up.
- Less aggressive: Give away anything that you know that you haven’t worn in the last two years. If you’re not sure about what is good to go. Leave an empty space in your closet or dresser drawer. As you wear things and they come back from your laundry put these clothes into this empty space. These are the clothes that you are going to keep. After a while you’ll notice a pattern that you do keep reaching for those same clothes and lets be honest…those last five shirts that are left in the pile that you STILL haven’t touched have got to go.
- Tip: Get rid of anything stretched, stained, ripped, missing buttons, etc. I know, I know…. you’re going to fix them one day (insert sarcasm here) throw them in the garbage. If you need more shirts, you can go to a local second hand store and find some great deals on nice new to you shirts. Ones that you’ll actually use that will also fit the budget.
- Trick: If your still not sure which clothes are the ones to get rid of… flip all your hangers around backwards, so the hook openings face you. This makes the hanger awkward to take off the rod but the point is, after 6months to a year whatever hangers are still left hanging backwards…pass them along.
For kids: You can do all of the above with your kids clothes. Or ask them to go through their own clothes and put whatever they don’t like to wear on your bed (age 5 and up can do this, any younger and you just may get ALL their clothes on your bed…yes, it’s happened) Baby clothes you can go through aggressively too, especially if your saving clothes for baby number two and on, you can get rid of ANY clothes that baby one never used (i.e. The cute frilly dress with tiny baby tights for a newborns…seriously!)
- 2) Toys in the Playroom.
- Be aggressive: If you have some time to go through all your kids toys. You’ll be able to easily pull out anything that has not been played with for a while. Read up on some great guidelines of `how many toys kids actually need`. This will make cutting down on kids toys a lot easier. I have ONCE cleaned all our kids baby toys through the dishwasher (before Lego, and Barbie), and cleaning them I had to handle all them and while I handle them all I started tossing. (it was easier then clean at some points…)
- Less aggressive: Taking one toy container time yourself for 10minutes, go through it with a plastic garbage bag close at hand to throw in any toys that need to go. You can give these toys away.
- Tip: Throw out that `some-day-I-will-fix-it-pile` of toys. That’s right, you heard me. Open the garbage bag and put it ALL in there. Also get rid of any little toys that may be a coking hazard for any little people still crawling around your house. Sometimes with the older and younger kids these small toys are the ones that get quickly forgotten. Store these small toy up on a shelf in a container or buy a roll out container for under your older kids beds.Trick: Get to the source of the toys coming in. Call up your mom or mother-in-law and have a little chat about “no toys for birthdays please“. When you call be ready to suggest a “no – toy – present” . If grandparents live farther away perhaps your son or daughter would love to have a sleepover week-end at grandparents house instead. If you are the toy source “problem“ cut back slowly. It helps our mommy mental health to do baby steps. We’ve recently (my man and I) talked about how we spend all this time thinking about this great birthday present idea that we get our kids and they get it and maybe play with it for the week and them it’s left lying there. We’ve also done the “pick your own toy for your birthday“before and same results. Frustrated we’ve decided we’ll try a no gift for the birthday. (we’ll see how this idea turns out!) While this may sound like I’m depriving my kids… no worries they still get enough STUFF else where from their birthday’s. (thank you grandma’s)
For kids: One thing that I love doing with my older kids is to get them involved to creatively glean their own toys themselves. This you have to watch carefully as some siblings may try to give away their other siblings toys and not their own, but once they catch on to the idea it will get easier to do. Grab a box and tell your kids (5 years old and up, younger ones may catch on but…) “that you guys are collecting toys that your going to give away. So please go and grab 5 (or a smaller number to start) of YOUR toys that you can give away“. You can go all the way and take the kids with you so that they can bring their toys into the place you decide to donate. For other kids, it may just be enough to let the toy go into the box.
- 3) Books on your shelf.
- Be aggressive: Take some time and go through all your books. If you have any left over from college or even high school or worse yet elementary, get rid of them. Unless you know you have picked it up in the last year and ACTUALLY looked through it. You can still keep….otherwise… Release any sentiments that you have toward your books and try looking at them with FRESH eyes. Maybe first thing in the morning is your window to declutter the bookshelf. Make sure you have a box on hand to put all the books that you are going to give away and CLOSE the box when you are done for the day and DON`T peek back in again. If it’s too hard to get rid of the box ask a close friend or husband to donate the box.
- Less aggressive: Go to your shelf and grab five adult books you no longer need or read. And put them in a bag and tie it in a knot and throw it in your car truck so that it’s ready to be given away the next time you drive by a library or second hand store. Repeat this process once a month and when the year is out you’ll have made a significant dent into that bookshelf.
- Tip: Throw away any book that is falling apart and your not fixing. Keep any sentimental books limited to one shelf and once that shelf is full you`ll have to donate a “sentimental book“ before you add another on in. Also you can have fun with older books. Google kids craft ideas or hollow out a book for you!Trick: Start investing into ebooks. First decide on which ebook to buy. I have a Sony ebook because that is the ebook that christianbooks.com supports. I read and buy all my fiction book through here. It`s quick, easy, simple, and can fit my budget with deals constantly available and no shipping and handling fees. Ebooks are user friendly. The only thing to remember is to charge up your ebook battery. But even left on, an ebook will last over a week on battery life. The screen is easy to read as well and doesn’t hurt my eyes as it’s a print screen and not a computer screen. I can change the font setting also, if the font is to small for me. I love my ebook with the bonus of 300+ books on one slim device. (It can hold 1000, but I`ll work my way up to there!)
Time to grab a box and get started!
By: Sharon Schuler
P.S. Song for the week, that I recently discovered. = Love Song!
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