All that excess stuff around the house--old magazines, dusty knick-knacks, clothes that no longer fit or are out of style, and boxes that hold who-knows-what anymore--have no place in your new place.
Purge yourself of as much clutter as possible and save yourself the money to move it and time to unpack it. Here are some strategies that work:
- Picture your new home without clutter.
- Don't pack what you won't unpack.
- Get honest
- Pack the things you're sure you want to keep.
- Ask the hard questions about what remains: Does it fit? Have I worn it in the last year? Am I ever really going to read it or use it? Am I keeping it for sentimental reasons?
- Liberate those things you don't use by selling them to someone who will.
- Offer your items in a yard sale, classified ad or consignment shop.
Your old college furniture can be a real find to someone getting a first apartment, and the baby clothes, toys and crib can make the day of a young couple without a lot of money to buy new things. You'll be surprised at how good you'll feel to see these beloved possessions of yours leave for a fresh, new life where they will be put to good use.
- Give your items to a local charity.
Many will pick up right at your front door, and all will appreciate gently-used clothes and other items in good condition. Some charities specialize in specific items, such as books for schools or libraries in underserved communities. What's more, you get a tax credit when you itemize your donations.
- Load up the magazines and newspapers and drop them in the nearest recycling bin
- Go a step further and find causes that have meaning to you, such as retailers who recycle sneakers and other rubber-soled shoes to make playground surfaces and tracks.
- Get the hem or heel fixed
- Hammer a few nails where needed
- Glue things back together, and get these items out of the piles where you've been storing them and back into circulation.
- Let it go. No one wants that worn-out sweater from your first boyfriend, or that blender that started smoking after one-too-many marguerita batches.
- Be ruthless!
- Put things with which you just can't part but won't necessarily need everyday in your new place in clear storage containers so they will easy to find later.
- Revel in your newfound organization.
- Commit to keeping things simple.
- Spend less time searching for things or feeling stress about your mess, and more time doing what you love, with the people who matter to you.