This month JAM Organizing presents another informative article from a guest blogger. Enjoy!
Decluttering makes our homes look neater and better organized. It's good for our mental wellbeing, too: a clean and tidy home boosts our energy, focus, and creativity. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Just gather your belongings and divide them into categories (keep, sell, donate, throw away, etc.). However, choosing what to keep and what to donate can be a real challenge. Some things are simply too dear to donate, and what if you need it as soon as you get rid of it? Well, we're here to help! Here are the eight things you shouldn’t throw away.
1. Important Documents
Many of us are surrounded by documents: papers, mail, manuals, menus, notes, and similar items lying in piles around the house. Important papers can get lost in the shuffle, and sometimes we're unsure which papers we need to hold on to.
Organizing documents and important paperwork requires time and sometimes a bit of research. You can scan some documents, but for some, you do need to save a physical copy. Here's a list of vital paperwork you should keep in a safe spot:
2. Certain Sentimental Items
Sentimental items are the most challenging items to sort and review and can include anything from family heirlooms to children's drawings. Regardless, to you, they're unique and meaningful. They can trigger precious memories and help you relive your favorite moments.
So, how should you approach this task? Firstly, don't start sorting this category first! It can be very emotional, difficult, and distracting. Make sure you have some decluttering practice under your belt BEFORE you start sorting sentimental items. Set aside all the items you're sure you want to keep. Make sure you review each sentimental item. Don't let something go because you "shouldn't" keep it. Give yourself a lot of time to consider these items, and read more here.
For fashion lovers, sorting through closets and clothing can be incredibly challenging. We've all heard that if you haven't worn it in a year, get rid of it! However, this isn't an absolute. Even if you're flirting with a minimalist lifestyle, it doesn't mean you need to go to an extreme.
If that lovely dress you wear once every two years fits you well and you love it, keep it! Don't throw out items that you love or wear only on special occasions or the kids' costumes they had fun making and wearing.
Additionally, some worn-out items can find new life. You can reuse old soft t-shirts or towels as rags. Or, if you love camping, DIY projects, crafts, working out - keep a few old but comfortable tees and slacks around. That way, you won't be sorry if they get damaged, and you'll feel cozy while pursuing your hobbies!
4. Emergency & Safety Items
Depending on your area, hurricanes, floods, storms, or other natural disasters can be a real danger. Regardless of location, having an emergency kit at home is a good idea. Even if you haven't used your emergency kit, it doesn't belong in the clutter pile!
Instead, check it once or twice a year and replace items as needed. Having a first aid kit, some extra batteries, water bottles, non-perishable food, and similar items is a sound and responsible decision.
5. Tins, Bins, & Other Containers
A lack of storage space is one of the most common causes of clutter. Bins and containers can be handy to have around and can help you conquer the clutter! Depending on their size and shape, you can use them for storing different items in different locations.
And if you don't think they're presentable enough to be in your home, you can use them for storing a variety of items in your basement or garage. Or, you can get creative and improve their looks with a fun DIY project!
Books can be very difficult to part with, but like anything else, if there are too many, they can become overwhelming. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to use them! For starters, you can use them to accessorize and add a pop of color to your home. Arrange them tastefully on your shelves, built-ins, or coffee tables. Or, you can use their pages in plenty of bookish craft projects and make something new. If your town has Little Free Libraries, you can exchange them for the titles you'll love and make someone else happy at the same time! And check out your local library. They may take donations too!
Repurposing Is an Excellent Idea
In addition to everything we've mentioned above, there are plenty of small or unnoticeable odds and ends that we throw in the trash every day. But, with a little bit of creativity, you can repurpose many of them. Here are some of our ideas:
Don't Go Overboard When Decluttering
At first, decluttering can seem like a daunting task. But, once you start, it is possible to get carried away. The process of getting rid of unnecessary items makes us feel energetic and happy. So we sometimes end up throwing away something that we truly need or love. To avoid experiencing remorse later on, try not to go overboard. Consider all the items carefully, and think of ways to reuse them.
If your home still feels cluttered after a ruthless purge, there is another option. Renting a storage unit can provide you with extra space for all the precious belongings you want to keep. However, when choosing a storage unit, try to make a wise choice. Opt for the right unit size and consider all other relevant factors such as accessibility.
So, although purging your home is a lovely - and possibly necessary - idea, keep in mind this list of things you may want to think twice about before throwing away. That way, you'll make good choices and keep what you need, use, and love!
Emma Waters is a freelance writer with a passion for cleaning and organizing. She enjoys making the most of her space and filling her home with valuable and meaningful items. When she's not sharing the tips and tricks she's learned along the way, she spends her time DIYing with her kids and planning their new adventures.
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I'm Jen, a professional organizer ready to help you take charge of your space, free up your time, and lead a more organized life! (Read more about me here)