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Posts Tagged ‘Declutter’

I am amid a downsizing phase of life. Typically, when we think of downsizing, we think of empty nesters or older adults.  However, for me, I am downsizing simply because I am moving from a two-story home to a one-story home.   As I began to sort through my possessions, it became overwhelming.  What do I keep, toss, or donate? I had feelings of sadness for what I thought I would lose and anxiety over the idea of just where to start.

Downsizing Tool Kit

Did I mention I was also trying to do this all in one weekend…by myself?  That was my first mistake.  It is best to approach it one space at a time, starting with the space you use the least often. For me that was the kitchen. There were fewer items with sentimental attachments in my kitchen, so I was able to look at thing pragmatically to decide what to keep and what not to.  Also, I had to get my downsizing “tools” ready.  Items such as labels and markers, boxes to sort for sell, donate, gift, discard, and keep, and packing supplies such as paper, plastic bags, and tape were great to have on hand.  My tool kit kept me from becoming frustrated and kept me from burying myself into a corner where I would have to climb my way out.  

Keeping the flow organized (doing one space at a time) helped me to have a positive attitude and think of downsizing as an adventure.  According to researchers at Kansas State Extension, “a positive attitude allows you to meet challenges with less resistance.” Accepting change rather than resisting it while keeping a positive attitude helped me be more successful in achieving my downsizing goal, made me a harder worker, and helped me feel confident that I would continue to be successful.

When I had moments of anxiety or frustration, I gave myself permission to walk away for a moment.  Shutting the door behind me and taking a moment to just breathe helped.  I had to make a conscious effort to keep the big picture in mind of what I was going to gain rather than focus on what I would have to part with.  Acknowledging my feelings, the good and the bad, helped me to accept change and continue moving forward.

Yard Sales are a great way to sell your extra household goods.

With my change of attitude, surprisingly, downsizing was not so sad anymore.  It was actually a time to remember some great moments in my life.  Walking down memory lane was fun, but also made me realize that some of my stuff did not have any value to me, emotionally or physically. I wondered why I was even holding on to it. As I accepted change and learned to let go, I felt like a weight had been lifted from me as each unneeded item was gifted, sold, or donated.

My takeaways from this downsizing adventure were:

  1. Give myself time and the tools needed. Downsizing was not going to happen over a weekend and by having my tools available to me I was less stressed and not easily frustrated.
  2. Start in the space that is least emotional.  Successfully completing one room made me feel accomplished.
  3. Keep a positive attitude.  Accepting change and keeping tabs on my attitude made the downsizing process easier.
  4. Acknowledge my feelings. Emotions are a part of the downsizing process. I had to acknowledge that it was a hard process and give myself time to step away when needed.
  5. Find the happiness.  Letting go emotionally and physically helped lighten my load.
Remember to try to keep it organized.

Downsizing can be overwhelming, emotionally taxing, riddled with anxiety and stress, but it does not have to be.  When the thought of downsizing is brought into a optimistic prospective, focusing on the positive changes, and taking the opportunity to literally lighten your load there are many benefits to a downsizing phase of life.

Sources:

Bernhard, T. (2019). Discover the Joys of Downsizing. Psychology Today. Retrieved on July 8, 2020 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/turning-straw-gold/201901/discover-the-joys-downsizing

Hunter, J. & Jackson, K. (2016). Downsizing Your Home: A Guide for Older Adults. University of Kentucky Extension. Retrieved on July 8, 2020 from https://uknowledge.uky.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1100&context=fcs_reports

Toler, N. (2020). The Emotional Power of Tidying Up. University of Rhode Island. Retrieved on July 8, 2020 from https://www.uri.edu/magazine/issues/spring-2020/the-emotional-power-of-tidying-up/

Yelland, E., Hosier, A. & Traywick, L. (2015). Keys to Embracing Aging: Positive Attitude. Kansas State University Extension. Retrieved on July 8, 2020 from https://www.aging.k-state.edu/programs/embracing-aging/docs/kea1positiveattitudemf3256.pdf

Written by: Dr. Roseanne E. Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Kellie Lemly, MS, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Champaign County

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For this blog, I’m going to focus on de-cluttering paper. Paper is one of my favorite mediums. I like magazines, books, vintage paper, and paper ephemera. I enjoy notebooks, journals, and lovely paper. I like cookbooks and recipes which I have collected for years. I take my time selecting my calendar for the year being mindful that I will have this paper document for a year. Personal disclaimer: I know that I have an abundance of paper. I am a work in progress. I am making strides in this area but it is still a challenge for me.

How do you Tame the Paper Monster? Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

Read your magazines. Are there articles you must keep? If so, take a picture or tear out and file. Really look at the article or recipe and consider whether it really fits your needs right now. Can you find this on-line so that you are not keeping the paper copy? Once you have read them, either pass them on or recycle them. Don’t let them pile up and clutter your space. If you don’t enjoy them anymore, don’t renew your subscription. Even if they send you the best deal ever! IF you don’t renew, and you miss the magazine, be patient, you will probably get an invitation back at a deep discount.

Sorting recipes - messy papers

Sorting recipes

Recipes & Cookbooks: I recently went through two notebooks full of recipes and a box of clipped recipes. Over the years, I had fun collecting these recipes. I had good intentions that I’d fix all of these foods for my family but honestly, I didn’t fix many of them. I gave away many cookbooks, recycled the recipes I won’t fix and streamlined this into one notebook.

Clean table - after sorting through recipes

After – Clean table after sorting recipes

Bills: An easy way to decrease bill clutter is to go online and pay the bill immediately. I pay most of my bills online so that I can schedule the payment before the due date. When you receive the bill, go online to pay or schedule it. Then, file the bill, recycle the envelope, and shred any paper with identifying information. Remember that you can also set automatic payments or e-bills to decrease paper bills even more. Did you know that some companies charge $1 or more per month for a paper bill? Read the fine print on your bill and you might notice this. If so, consider getting e-bills to reduce paper clutter, help the environment and save money.

Coupons: Will you save money by using your coupons? If so, organize them in a way that works for you. It might be an envelope, small file folder or coupon holder. Carry fast food coupons in your car – so they are handy and ready to use. Figure out what works for you and make it happen.

Financial papers, tax returns: Shred any papers with identifying information. Credit card applications, bills, receipts or other mail that contains personal information. For specifics about how long you should keep certain papers, talk to your accountant or check out these suggestions from University of Illinois Extension.

Start small this summer to De-clutter – take steps to tame the paper monster, clear out a closet, photograph your special items and move them out of your life. Remember that it takes time and it may not be easy. Set a timer and go! Clear out an area – you will feel great about the progress you made. Need more inspiration? Check out the blog posted on Monday about De-cluttering your space.

Do you have an idea that works for you? If so, share it in the comments below.

Sources:

Dealing with Clutter. Retrieved from: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/clutter/dealing.html 

Kennedy, S. (2018). Keeping Important Papers and Documents. University of Florida/IFAS Extension Wakulla County, Retrieved from http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/wakullaco/2018/04/01/keeping-important-papers-and-documents/

What Do I Do With. . . Financial and Tax Records.  Retrieved from: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/clutter/financial_tax.html

Writer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County, brinkman.93@osu.edu

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It seems that everyone is posting on social media how they are de-cluttering, cleaning out, donating, or giving away items. Have you joined this effort? If not – check out these easy ideas to help you get started.

When you see the perfect space – neat and orderly, how do you feel? Take a moment to think about your style of cleaning and de-cluttering. Do you tackle the entire job? Do you take it a small section at a time? Do you avoid it at all costs? Let’s think about your closet and how you might tackle it.

I like to de-clutter at the beginning of each season. It is the perfect time to look at clothes, pick the favorites and get rid of things you do not enjoy wearing. If they don’t fit, are torn, or just don’t work anymore, get rid of them! As you select what you are going to Card with questions about keeping or tossing an itemwear for the day, inspect an item or two in your closet and decide – do you want to keep or give them away? If you don’t want it anymore, put it in a give-away bag. Take it to your car or garage so that it is out of sight and ready to donate. This quick strategy can help you clear out your closet. Many people suggest taking everything out of your closet and purging – this works great, but you may feel overwhelmed with this approach to clear out your closet. Up front I want to acknowledge that I am a work in progress. I will not profess to having a neat and orderly home, but I am making strides in this area.

While researching information for this blog, I found a great way to help us donate items that have sentimental value to us. What is it? It is simply taking a picture of the item before donating it! Does this sound too simple? Check out this short video shared by Ohio State University Professor Rebecca Reczek for insights into this simple strategy.

What is your next step? Just start! – I like this quick list of 101 items to help jump start your de-cluttering. Can you eliminate any of these from your life? IF you are ready, get rid of the items and move on.

 

 

 

Visit the University of Illinois Extension website for more detailed information on Dealing with Clutter.

Neat and Orderly Living Space

Organized Living Space

Remember, find an organizing style that works for you and get started today! Soon your area will be neat and organized!

Do you have an idea that works for you? If so, share it in the comments below.

 

Sources:

Dealing with Clutter.  https://web.extension.illinois.edu/clutter/dealing.html

Keep or Toss Card. Adapted from University of Illinois, Clear the Clutter: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/clutter/clearing.html

Reczek, R. (2017). Scientists find clever way to help you de-clutter your home. Retrieved from: https://news.osu.edu/scientists-find-clever-way-to-help-you-de-clutter-your-home/

Rupp, M. (2020). De-clutter List. Available: go.osu.edu/declutterlist

Photo credit:

Image by Jean van der Meulen from Pixabay

Writer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County, brinkman.93@osu.edu

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