Do you want to know the number one secret to staying organized?
Throw out something every day.
Our biggest problem is 1. We live in a consumer society. 2. We feel like we have to keep up with the Jones’ and give everyone a gift and party favors, and 3. There are crazy parents who think they should not only give their children EVERYTHING, but also keep Every. Single. Piece. of Bobby’s school work because he would be so upset if they threw it out.
With so much coming into the house, it’s no wonder we are drowning in stuff. We can’t breathe because it’s all over the kitchen counters, under the bed, up in the attic and crammed in the linen closet.
Oh, and that garage that’s supposed to house your car? It’s full. So the $60,000 luxury car sits outside all year long.
But I also know we are over having all this stuff. Our homes should be a sanctuary away from what is going on the world. It’s why I am booked into mid-April.
But if you throw out something — or four things — every day, you would not have this problem.
I do, which is why my house is in the amazing shape it’s in.
If my children don’t love the artwork they bring home every week, guess where it goes? The recycle bin. (And, yes, they are OK. They are not in therapy.)
If they break a toy or rip a hole in their clothes, guess where it goes? The garbage.
My kids don’t get their tooth fairy money until they put their tooth in the trashcan. (They have never complained. They love the $1 bill and the trip to the bank to put in their savings accounts more.)
I keep a brown paper bag by my clothes closet. If I have not worn it in a while, or it does not fit right, it goes right in the bag. If my children can’t fit into that shirt, it goes in the bag.
I throw out party favors the minute they come in my house. My daughter went to the St. Patrick’s parade on Saturday and came home with beads and all kinds of junk thrown from the floats. I told her we respect our home by not keeping this junk — because that’s what it is. And she threw it all away.
On Saturday, I looked at the number of tools I had. It was only about a dozen because 1. We don’t have a garage. 2. I don’t have a tool box. I hang them on a peg board, and 3. I hire a handyman for most everything because I’m realistic about my limitations.
But I decided I still did not use more than half of the tools. I had two hammers — one big and one small. Really? I don’t need two sizes. Do you think our grandparents, who actually used hammers, had two sizes? No.
I now have three screw drivers — one Phillips head, two sizes of the other kind, whatever they are called — a hammer, pliers, a Leatherman, and a level. And, no, I never worry that “I may need” the tools I just gave away. I NEVER used them to begin with. Plus that voice in your head, saying “you may need it one day,” is your ego trying to sabotage your changing habits. This is my tool section now:
We don’t need half the stuff in our homes. Throw it away. And, yes, you can give it away, too, but please be realistic. Don’t take your junk to a charity. Don’t say “someone could use this,” when it’s plastic beads or used crayons, just because you feel better about donating it rather than trashing it. That makes extra work for the charity to sift through your junk. And, think if you would want it as a recipient of charity.
Plus, guilt is just your ego trying to keep you from letting it go. Your ego never wants you to change.
And if you feel guilty about throwing it away, remember that feeling next time you buy stuff you don’t need and bring it into your home that is already stuffed with stuff. Don’t buy it in the first place.