DIY – Clutter Free in 2015 – Let’s Get Organized!

Happy 2015 to ALL!
Another year has flown by, hard to believe it’s now 2015. I would like to share a short story, while trying to move things around to decorate for the holidays I found Christmas cards from 2013 still on top of one of our tables. Now, I was shocked. Shocked I still had the cards in the same spots and shocked the year had passed by so fast.
I am really embarrassed to share this story and admit to the amount of clutter before my eyes.
How did this clutter happen?
On further examination of clutter in closets, storage, cabinets, and drawers it was easy to identify the root of why we have piles and mounds of clutter. Simply stated, there was nowhere to store, hide, put-away, or stuff clutter anywhere in the house!
When did this clutter happen?
Then I realized we had now lived in our home for 14 years, raising five (5) children, four (4) dogs, and four (4) cats in our happy and lively home. Now, the youngest is in College and the other kids are on their own. We are left with four (4) dogs, one (1) cat, and time to see the clutter all around us.

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Oh – My! Help me with all this Clutter???
A decision had to be made. Yes – it was declared, this year would be DIY – Clutter Free 2015! 
Time to get organized!!
Looking at all the piles and mounds of clutter before me was overwhelming to say the least. Where and how do I begin to de-clutter our home?
First I had to research and plan to ensure a successful de-clutter mission.
Hard questions had to be answered. Do we throw away items? Do we donate items? Do we sell things or simply give them away?          
The answer: It depends and it’s your choice to make.
The first step was to purge through the clutter, this can be difficult as some items have emotional ties.
A few ideas and suggestions we learned about which helped a great deal, was to take a picture of the favorite item, pictures can be saved on a flash drive and will take up very little space. If the items are favorite shirts or other types of clothing, a great idea, was to make a blanket or wall hanging out of them.
When you’re past the emotional items it begins to get a bit easier, however, still a lot of work.
Next it is time to decide to toss, sell, or donate. Some people separate items into these categories or some similar. Once all the clutter was purged items were separated into the categories of choice the next phase was to take action. Have the items to be thrown away picked-up by a service or remove them yourself.
If you have items to donate, some organizations will pick-up at your home, while others may require them to be delivered. It’s a good idea to contact the organization and find out their requirements for donating and what type of items they accept.

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Time for the BIG Yard-Sale, one of the most popular ways to sell items is by way of having a yard sale. It’s important to plan; select a date, place an ad in the newspaper classified section, label or tag all items, have some extra help available for the day of yard-sale, and be prepared for people who like to barter. Remember, at the end of the day the goal is to be rid of these items, keep this in mind when someone is making you an offer. If you’re not willing to make a deal you may be left with the unwanted goods. Often the left over items will be sent to the trash or donated, unless it is a collector’s item or antique. Most yard sale items will not grow in value if kept until the next year!

Other ways to sell items, is by using social media.
Facebook has yard sale groups you can join for free – each group will have guidelines to follow. Of course Craig’s list, Ebay, and others may be free or have a fee associated with the sale of each item plus the cost of shipping.

Now we have cleared the clutter and the final phase is to get organized and stay organized.
The most important step is to commit to maintain a clutter-free home!
This will mean a change in behavior for those in your household. If possible, get everyone involved in a discussion about the changes everyone will need to make. Keep a list of these ideas and reflect on them as a family monthly to check your progress!
Here are a few ideas and your family may have more and different ideas to share!
Staying Clutter-Free means to stop bring in more items than goes out.
If you buy a new pair of shoes – toss out an old pair. Ask yourself if you really need the item before making the purchase. Avoid going to stores where you know you have a weakness for purchasing items you do not need. Value the quality of an item instead of the quantity.
It’s time to become more frugal and work with our children on financial intelligence. Holidays and special occasions have become overwhelming for many children, receiving more gifts then they know what to do with. Begin to set limits around these special times to make them special and enjoyable for everyone.
When looking to make a purchase read reviews, research the materials, quality of the product, and does the company have a guarantee to stand behind their merchandise.

Clutter Free Tips:
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Never go up or down stairs empty-handed,
Make a habit to put items away instead of putting them down,
Have a schedule of doing a de-clutter activity,
Make a donation box for the family to add items,
Think about an annual yard sale or routine to sell items on social media,
Make annual donations to charity,
Set up a file system for receipts and other information needed for taxes,
If there is an area getting cluttered, stop and put away three to six items, what a difference it makes.
~ Wishing you all a clutter-free year!

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