If you are one of the millions who have heard of or read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you are probably aware of her mantra, “Keep only what you love or sparks joy inside of you.” This sounds easy in theory, but in practice getting rid of things can be challenging. Over the years I’ve heard many reasons or excuses as to why people want to hold onto their stuff. They live in cluttered environments (and I’m not even talking hoarder level, just too much stuff) that stress them out, cause family discourse, and constantly remind them of unfinished tasks, yet they still can’t let go. Below is a list of items I’ve had “conversations” with clients about. Do any of these clutter solutions resonate with you?

  • The drawer, bin, box, or container of electronic cords that you have no idea what they go to – The cords are likely for old technology or relate to an item you have replaced, given away, or are no longer using. Recycle the unidentified cords and free up some space in your home.
  • Bills that are more than one, two, or five plus years old – Do you need them for taxes (you only need 7 years worth of tax support information)? Are they related to your business? Are they related to a home improvement project? If not, then get rid of them. Better yet, if you do need to keep them, convert them to electronic format.
  • My aunt, uncle, sister, or friend gave it to me – To quote Marie Kondo, “The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not things, but a means for conveying someone’s feelings.” Embrace the joy you felt upon receiving the gift, don’t keep it out of obligation.
  • Your child’s mission project, clay creation, or other three-dimensional art – We all love our kids and the masterpieces they create. However, three dimensional art will not stand up over time. Take a picture and/or create a photo book of artwork, then get rid of it. Don’t store it in your attic or basement thinking your child will want it someday.
  • Years of Real Simple or Oprah Magazines – I promise you will not “someday” find the time to read them. And when you do “have the time”, there will be other things you can find to fill it.
  • Multiple clothing sizes – I get that you spent money on these items. I get that you really hope to be that size again. However, only hold onto items that fit you now and make you feel good when you wear them. The rest are just guilt objects saying, “Why did I buy that?” or “I wish I could get in shape so I could wear that again”.
  • Broken Stuff – By the time you actually find the time to fix it or find someone who can, it’s likely that you could have bought another one or done without.
  • Electronic Boxes – Unless your an internet reseller, you will not need the box again. If there are accessory parts to an item you need to keep, put them in a clear plastic bag and label it with the item name/description (or put a piece of the box with the item photo or description inside the bag). Store all your electronic accessories in one area.
  • Linens – How many sets do you need for each bed? How many extra towels do you need? You may want to rethink more than two sets of sheets or towels that are frayed, old, and thin.
  • Vases – Is the cabinet above your refrigerator or below your sink stock piled with floral and plant containers? Unless you’re buying fresh flowers every week, you can probably live with less and free up some space for items you do need.

These are just a few examples of simple clutter solutions you can easily implement. Share your favorite clutter solutions at www.facebook.com/moretimeforyou.

photo credit: Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up