Conquer your clutter

By Ellen Gurwitz, De-Clutter Me Owner

Do you have too much stuff? If so, that’s not surprising, since we live in a culture that encourages us to get more stuff. We’re continually bombarded with messages to buy, buy, buy. Many people do, some to the point where they’re overwhelmed by all that they have. Yes, these individuals are known as “hoarders.”

This occasional column won’t address the concerns of hoarders. Their concerns extend beyond my expertise. What I will suggest are easy ways for you to conquer and then stay ahead of your clutter. There also will be seemingly unrelated suggestions to help you save time, perhaps in the future. Sometimes doing a small job or task soon, instead of months from now, will use your time better. In all cases, we’ll see that physical clutter = mental clutter.

Do you have more items in your closet than you really wear? The average closet holds some 88 items, with only about 25 actually being used. Does that number include “fat clothes,” which you may have worn when weighing more and keep in case they’re needed in the future? Get rid of them! Give them away or donate them to your favorite agency or second-hand store. Why? You’ll “lighten your load” and, at a subliminal level, you might ensure against needing them again. Besides, it could be expensive to replace them. By ridding your closet of items you don’t need, you may even find some long-lost favorite something-or-other that was crammed in, lost in the crowd.

As the season transition continues, with summer sliding into fall, it’s an exciting time of year! That’s the nice part. You also might have lots of chores to complete before winter. What to do? Which to skip, if available time is tight? Are other options more fun? As mentioned above, by doing some chores now, you’ll save time in the future.

Do you have cluttered gardens? If so, do you prefer to dig up and discard annuals, cut back perennials, and rake to put your gardens to bed for the winter? Or, do you wait until spring? I much prefer to do it in the fall. It feels like doing the dishes after dinner, instead of leaving them for the next morning. (Caked-on food? No thanks.) By cleaning up gardens in the fall, new spring growth won’t have to compete for space and light with the previous fall’s foliage. By spring, it will have gotten fairly slimy and ugly, and could take more time to remove than during the fall when alive and healthy.

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