The "Stuff" We Keep

    Hoarding has become the ugly sister of clutter; an in-your-face television representation of lives that have tipped the scales of common sense. We are shown piles upon piles of paper and belongings, showcased in homes that haven’t been cleaned in decades, a public process that sometimes seems more humiliating than helpful.

    Are we really that extreme? No, but many of us are busy and overwhelmed with our “stuff”. According to the IRS, “You must keep your records as long as they may be needed for the administration of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code”…..

    So, with that helpful sentence, here are some easy ways to try and control it (clutter, not the IRS) without losing your mind, or your mail.
    • If you want to keep receipts, papers and household bills forever, put them in plastic storage boxes, label them and put them in an attic, cellar or neatly stacked in a closet or laundry room. If they will be visible, buy neat, black containers to minimize their visibility. Don’t let them take over your “living” space.
    • Spend a day recycling. Check your town for guidelines on what you can recycle. Ask about recycling paint and oil cans, computer equipment, cell phones, anything that can’t go in the regular garbage.
    • Load up your car and dedicate a nice, sunny day to getting rid of it all.
    • Don’t keep things you don’t need (or want).
    • Throw away broken and damaged items if you haven’t repaired them in over 6 months.
    • Have a system for the mail that works for your lifestyle. Promise yourself you will take care of the mail every day.
    • Give away ugly and/or useless things that annoy you on a daily basis. Someone else may appreciate them.
    • Keep things that are important to you (but not necessarily want displayed) in a keepsake box or vintage suitcase, somewhere safe, dry and together.
    • Get rid of clothes that you no longer wear, or don’t fit. They're so many organizations that will take them, re-use them and sort them for you. At the very least you could put them in bags and drop them in one of those clothing bins.
    • Don’t buy more storage bins to control what you have – it will just grow and evolve into something uncontrollable. Challenge yourself to use what you already have.
    • Consider decoupaging your old newspapers onto the wall.
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