What I learned from de-cluttering: The sequel.Posted by Donna Freedman on Oct 11, 2012 | 32 comments
Just before moving to Anchorage I wrote an MSN Money piece called “What I learned from de-cluttering.” But that was before I’d finished packing.
What I’ve learned since then? That I didn’t de-clutter enough.
It was shocking to see how many boxes I wound up putting in the moving van. As a result, I have half a dozen suggestions for your own future moves.
Here’s hoping these tips help you avoid merely paying lip service to de-cluttering.
1. Stage a “wear everything challenge” in the weeks or months before a planned move. As I folded clothes into a suitcase I wondered whether I’d ever wear them in Anchorage. A couple of shirts had never been worn at all – I bought them at an outlet mall while shopping for something to wear to my daughter’s wedding. Abby got married in 2008.
2. Ask yourself if you love each item so much that you’d be willing to give a stranger cash from your wallet. Because that’s what you’re doing if you hire a mover, or even a moving van.
3. Ask yourself if you’d be willing to pay to store this item. Because it could happen, if the closets in your new digs aren’t big enough. (Luckily, there are companies like United Mayflower portable storage that will help you find the best option for your storage needs.)
4. Institute a “one in/one out” rule. Every time you bring a new item home, you need to get rid of something else. This keeps possessions from piling higher and higher. (A friend’s mom has a one in/two out rule.)
5. Consider a scanner and a camera. Scan documents like your kid’s drawings and schoolwork. Take pictures of items that you put in the “discard/donate” pile so you can look at them later. You can’t keep everything. Not that I didn’t try — I’d hung on to 12 years’ worth of Abby’s report cards and some Christmas ornaments she made out of egg-carton segments.
6. Give yourself permission to shred. My MSN Money colleague Liz Weston wrote a very useful article called “How to purge your financial clutter.” I still had bank paperwork from the early 1980s, for heaven’s sake. Fun fact: I used to pay $45 a week for child care. Those were the days.