What To Do With Belts

beltsFor some reason when we give our pants to the charity many of us quickly pull out the belt. The reason could be that our belts go with many pairs of pants and this would make sense to not include the belt in the charity bag.

But what do you do when you are trying to organize and you face dozens of belts that haven’t been used in years?

Do your belts have creases or cracks at a visible area when you wear them?

Are there extra holes that don’t look good?

When was the last time you wore the belt?

If your answers are, Yes, Yes and I can’t remember then maybe it’s time to declutter the belts.

For decades I wore a belt almost everyday. But the designers are not designing clothes that need belts. I’m convinced this is why many of us women have thicker waists. If you have belts that go with only certain outfits and you wear those, then keep.

Belts are usually hanging in your closet and can be used with many pairs of pants. Use the same criteria you do with clothes. If you haven’t worn in a year then consider giving to charity. What’s the worst that can happen?

The worst actually isn’t that bad. Grab another belt

If you can’t part with the belts but you know you won’t wear again then here are a few ideas;

Jewelry Hanger, Furniture Handles, And/Or Weave A Chair Seat

 

 

What To Do With Bedspreads And Comforters

How many of these two have you owned in your lifetime? Maybe dozens? Just when you think you have the perfect bedspreads or comforters in your rooms……they come out with new patterns and designs. At some point you give in and buy the patterned look and then you are bombarded with ads saying the solids are back in style.  white comforter

And just when you have painted your room that perfect color, to match what’s on your bed, you are told that wallpaper is now back in style.

NEED OR WANT?

Businesses are in the business of making money. Their job is to continue to come out with the latest and greatest look, whether it’s clothes or something for the house. But be honest. Most of the time we really don’t need many of the things we buy, (me included).

It’s nice to have something new and that can make us feel temporarily happy but if you think it through you might just say NO to that new bedspread or comforter.

Eventually what you buy today will be old tomorrow.

I had 2 comforters that were in the closet. They were still in decent shape and I kept thinking I would use them if we had a visitor spend the night. We did have visitors spend the night but we never needed to use the comforters.

It was time to make a decision. Every bed in the house has what it needs. These things were taking up valuable space. Letting go of things, (gifted or bought) that are no longer being used, gets easier every time you declutter.

The holiday season is almost over. Did you use that extra comforter you have kept all these years for guests? If not, then think about decluttering the extra bedspreads and comforters around the house.

Make some room!

Is It Worth Keeping?

pink buttoned shirtThis morning, like every morning, I stand in front of the closet and make that same decision. What do I wear today?

Most of us women have less pants, but more shirts, tops and blouses. Therefore, the bigger decision is usually what top to wear.

If the criteria is; keep if you have worn during the year, then I am OK to keep everything, but….

Is it necessary to keep if you only wear few times a year? My conclusion is, NO.

Years ago I went to a funeral, wearing a blouse with buttons.  It was about a month after my first son was born and I was feeling proud of the weight I had lost. I thought I would only be there a couple of hours, in time to get back home and nurse.  The service was a little longer than expected and I of course wanted to visit with people and eat a bite.

At some point while eating, a man signaled to me to look down at my blouse and to my horror 2 buttons had snapped. I have no idea how long I was walking around exposing myself but I have forever been aware since that day, that blouse buttons do occasionally pop open. Maybe this is why I rarely pick blouses but go more for the comfortable t-shirt type shirts.

I’m discovering more and more how freeing it is to have less stuff. Getting rid of what I don’t wear and narrowing it down from there is even more freeing.

 

 

 

 

What Will You Leave Behind

The WakeWill you leave memories of doing fun things with grand-kids or will you leave things like this?pig with lipstick

The broken garden pig with lipstick. I finally threw it away!

Yes, one day someone will be going through your stuff. Please do them a favor by going through it first.

Keeping that in mind might prompt you to get rid of things you would have normally kept.

If you are not using it and you don’t need it and in fact you don’t even enjoy it, then what are you waiting for?

Organize by decluttering today!

 

 

Hoarding Awareness Week

WOW!   composting food

I just found out that this is Hoarding Awareness Week. This is now getting lots of attention. More and more studies along with more publicity not to mention the TV shows. Over the years I have met a few serious hoarders but most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

In fact most people would simply say… “I would like to be more organized”

Organization means being productive and happy. If you are finding it hard to get organized you might want to consider the possibility that you have too much stuff.

If the key to happiness is being organized then what is the key to being organized?

Get rid of things that you don’t use!

That includes;

Clothes you don’t wear.

Broken things in the garage.

Gadgets in the kitchen that you have never used.

Towels and sheets that haven’t been used in 5 years, 1 year for the brave.

It’s a start.sunflower

Give yourself permission to NOT be a hoarder.

 

 

 

 

My Fortune Cookie

IMG_0898Fortune cookies are such a treat after a great dinner. It’s a moment around the table shared by all usually followed with laughter or envie, because someone else got the fortune cookie you wanted.

This was mine. Seemed quite appropriate for me, as I am always tidying my room. It’s been a few months and I haven’t found any lost item. Why? Because I have decluttered to such an extent there are no surprises in my room.

There is a funny wisdom in this fortune. Whoever wrote it clearly understands the world wide phenomena of too much stuff, clutter and even hoarding.

This suggests that important things get lost in stuff.  This helps make my point. Your answer may not be to organize what you have but to get rid of what you don’t use, need or enjoy.

Simplify your life.

You will be so happy you did and maybe you’ll even find that lost item you have been looking for.

 

What To Do With Shapewear

star flowerWarning….this post is for women only.

One thing that popped out this morning on one of the internet videos was a clip with Ali Wentworth about the dangers of Shapewear.

http://shine.yahoo.com/video/shapewear-dangers-110000356.html

The reason it caught my eye is because a few months ago I wore one all day and had the worst stomach ache at the end of the night. I have several in my closet and although I have worn them in the past I don’t seem to want to wear anymore. I have a wedding to attend soon and plan on wearing one that day so I want to keep at least one. Today was a good day to take them out of the closet and spread out on the bed and make a decision.

Decision made

Keep one. The bigger one.

The same goes for bras.

If one is good, two is better…or maybe not.

One a recent trip to one of the stores I found a sports bra that did the job. I was only intending to buy one but there were 2 colors to chose from so I bought two. The same thing happened with the bra as with the body shapewear. I wore to work and by mid morning my ribs were killing me. I went home to change and haven’t worn them since.

This might be too much information for some of you but women out there understand. Chances are I bought the wrong size. It’s called, wishful thinking. But now what?

Decision made.

Toss both!

Bras and shapewear are hard garments to fit just right. Women spend a lot of money trying to pick out the proper one and it isn’t easy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_brassieres

At least one actual public bra-burning is documented, at a feminist rally in Lower Sproul Plaza in Berkeley, CA on 2 June 1970….

Tempting isn’t it?

 

 

How To Organize The Closet

closetOver the years I’ve read hundreds of articles, blogs and books dealing with organizing closets.

The one unending piece of advise and constant thread throughout is: decluttering is a must.

How easy it would be if our closets were like fridges. If blue and green mildew fuzz were to grow on our clothes not being used, our job would be easier.

We face our closets everyday and sometimes it isn’t pretty. They are crammed with clothes that are not being worn. Do these reasons sound familiar? Doesn’t fit, wrong color, itchy material or wrong style for your figure.

Whatever the reason we are still left with the problem of making the decision to keep or not to keep.

One of the many different methods for decluttering and cleaning out the closets consists of taking everything out and going through each piece. This one should come with a warning if you have never done this before. It can be discouraging and I know many of you who have done this, only to give up half way through, with very little progress.

Our goal is to keep what we wear and give away or sell what we don’t. Sounds pretty simple, but it can be traumatic.

Listed below are many ways and ideas that have been suggested by experts

  1. Color coordinate first and then begin to weed through with clothes on the hanger while in the closet. Asking yourself when was the last time I wore this and did I feel good wearing it?
  2. Separate according to size. If your weight changes even if it is by 5 or 10 pounds this could change your size enough that many of your clothes won’t fit right now. Start by having the clothes that fit you now in front of you on the hangers and start asking your questions. Color? Style? Is it comfortable? Did I wear this year?
  3. Hang according to the type of clothes you wear the most. Uniforms? Work clothes? Play clothes? Church clothes? Once you get your section that you chose from the most go through and take out the clothes you are not picking to wear.
  4. Take everything out including belts, purses, scarves, and shoes. Be ruthless! If you haven’t used or worn it in the last year. Throw it out!
  5. Start with new hangers that all match. Get rid of wire hangers.
  6. A trip to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy the latest organizing things for closets (sometimes this can work against you, and in a year you’ll be decluttering your organizing stuff).
  7. If you have a summer and winter wardrobe then store the season not in use. Buy the space shrink bags and stick under a bed.
  8. The most recommended method is to take it all out and have piles of keep, discard, clean, and repair (repair is code word for discard).
  9. If number 8 is too overwhelming, then keep on hangers but seperate into pants, blouses, dresses, and do one group at a time. This is easier for many than doing all at once.

closets

No matter which method or supplies you choose it will only work if you get rid of what you don’t wear.

The painful reality is you bought things you didn’t need, or may have been pressured into buying. Even worse you bought those things using a credit card that you have not paid off.

If this is your situation, here are some options;

  1. If the tags are still on, see if you can take it back to the store for a refund.
  2. Take it to a consignment shop to try and get some money back to pay off the credit card.
  3. Do a garage sale. If you can’t do by yourself, find others that you can hook up with.
  4. Donate what you want to get rid of for the tax write off.

Chances are you won’t make back what you spent on it but it might lessen the pain a little. Live and learn. If you can’t pay off your credit card every month then don’t use it to buy clothes. Take it a step beyond that and simply don’t use your credit card until that thing is paid off.

Another painful situation is you may have clothes that have been gifted to you by your husband, wife or other friends and family. This could be awkward, especially if there is a chance that they would ask about that outfit that you never wear. It happens. They will get over it.

Live in the here and now

Another road block in organizing our closets, is the difficulty in living in the here and now. Get rid of clothes from other decades. Let the Goodwill store them for you and when you need that outfit from the 80’s, they will probably have it and it won’t cost much.

Buying clothes that don’t fit and are too tight usually doesn’t work as a motivator. It’s just depressing.

Doing this alone works better for some and not so great for others. You know your personality and you also know the people who might be helpful in your life.

You have not because you ask not

Pick up the telephone and call someone. You may have a friend that would love getting that phone call. A cup of tea or coffee, and a chance to encourage you to declutter and organize just might be the very thing that they too need.

Several months ago in “O magazine” there were several articles on organizing. One article was written about Gale. She had someone come in and help her organize her purses. You may not have the means to pay for a professional and get it published in O magazine but remember you can call a friend or get help from this blog along with many other resources out there.

Pretty closets are nice

There are amazing new gadgets all of the time at Bed Bath & Beyond to help you organize anything in the house. But again, a word of warning. Don’t organize things you don’t need, use or wear.

Do we have the power to change?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve-Step_Program

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsive_hoarding

http://sites.google.com/site/clutterersanonymous/Home?pli=1

The above websites might not be for you. On a bell curve of hoarding, you might be very normal and average. On a bell curve of organizing you might actually be pretty good and only occasionally need to declutter.

The first step in these 12 step programs that have been so helpful world wide is the concept that we are powerless over (whatever the issue) Alcohol, Drug, Food, People, Places, Things, and yes, even Clutter.

We admitted we were powerless over clutter, that our lives had become unmanageable.

As I write this post there are groups all over the world discussing, debating and trying to make sense of this very first step. It might be worth reading through some of those websites.

I’m not a psychologist, or a psychiatrist or any type of therapist but I’ve studied enough to know that the average person has to deal with stuff. Whether it is stuff you use or don’t use, you own it and it needs a place. Either in your home, garage, storage unit, trash, charity shop or in someone else’s home. (SEP)

If it is out of control then the websites above will be helpful, maybe even life changing. Some of you are actually quite good at organizing and knowledgeable about things like recycling and enjoy the blogging world. Then there is everything in between. Either way I invite you to participate. Take this year to declutter and organize your stuff.

Are You An Organized Hoarder?

“Nothing good happens after 12 midnight” is a line from one of my lectures to all of the teenage boys in the family. They tell me I just don’t understand because I go to bed early and I’m up early.

Last Saturday was no exception, although it was a little earlier than usual. We are dog sitting and one of the dogs heard something on the front porch and went bonkers. It was a raccoon. After a cup of coffee it was time to plan the weekend.

There were a few movies we wanted to see but my big goal was to continue organizing the garage. In order to be successful in organizing the garage, several things will have to go. Just doing the household shuffle, or in this case the garage shuffle, would be a waste of time.

Having things off the ground and hanging is the way to go. If you ever look at those magazines that do garage makeovers, notice the floors are shiny and empty.  Another amazing thing about those makeovers is they make it so you can actually park your car in the garage.

Recently a family member, who parks his car (unlocked) in the driveway, had his garage door opener stolen out of his car. Two lessons learned, try and park in your garage and if you can’t, at least lock your car.

Would it be possible to park in your garage if things were hanging rather than on the ground? If you have already purged things from your garage that you will never use again then it is time to organize.

It is a toss up between Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond. I don’t get out much but when I do, Home Depot is the place for me. They have all sorts of hooks and shelves for garages. Epoxy coating, to tiles and plastic bins, all to make your garage look spectacular.

Word of caution about containers. The stores make them look so organized in the pictures but for those who are trying to simplify they can be a real trap. Storing Christmas decorations that you use every year makes sense but what else are you storing? If it isn’t see through plastic or at least labeled you will waste time trying to remember what the heck those containers are storing. You don’t want to go out and buy stuff only to find out later you had it hiding in your organized mess.

Are you an organized hoarder?

I remember an episode of Hoarders where the woman had everything labeled in boxes. It was quite impressive. The problem was she would not have been able to use all of it in a lifetime.

The blue hanging organizer was in the closet for years and one day I looked at it with new eyes and realized I didn’t use most of what it was storing.

Start looking at your stuff with new eyes.

Closets and garages are a challenge. Start looking at your stuff with new eyes. Get up early this weekend and before you organize, declutter the containers.

 

 

It’s A New Day Today

My year is up, now what? I took a year to really get organized. What I discovered is what I already knew. Being organized or at least feeling organized creates calmness. Makes you feel at peace. It is the opposite of chaos.

How does one get organized?

They get rid of what they don’t use, need or enjoy. For most of us, that is a lot of stuff. I’ve posted dozens of short stories on getting rid of things along with ideas that came from many of you.

Something else I discovered was I like being a minimalist. This is not to say that I don’t have stuff but less for me was best.

For now my stories will continue. There are other areas that I want to declutter. I’m always interested in your stories and any ideas you might have to help others get organized.

Get out a tissue we all have issues.

One more thing that has become clearer over this last year is that whatever your issues are, someone else has had it and worse.

It’s official. Hoarding is now a disease. You are in good company and no need to go it alone.

You need support and it’s out there.

Stay tuned for more!