This morning I was hurriedly boxing up some stuff to donate to the church rummage sale and I was thinking, "Thank goodness having the house hasn't made me feel the need to keep everything."
Having moved every few years, you get to understand exactly how much stuff you have. When you are lugging it into moving vans, desperately scrounging more boxes, and heaven-forbid, having to carry everything up two flights of stairs, it tends to turn you into a person who has a strong desire to limit how much you have.
Everyone told me once we had a house, that attitude would change. Thankfully it hasn't. Here's my advice, for what it's worth.
1. Have one box for each kid, and anything that is truly important, mementos of firsts, and all, put those in the box as soon as possible.
2. BUT, Don't save every school paper or piece of art. They won't care and neither will you. If you don't believe me, and you have one of these boxes, go through it. I bet you haven't in a long time. I went through mine a few months ago and got rid of half of it. The cotton ball sheep just doesn't matter anymore. :) Be ruthless. If it's not truly special, trash it.
3. If you don't want something anymore, donate it or trash it if it's not worthy of donation. Chances are if you put it in storage, you will just forget you have it anyway, so what's the point. It's time to be honest with yourself. If you don't need it now, you simply don't need it. Don't wait, get it out the door now.
4. Keep a donation box (or garage sale if you are so inclined. I'm not; too much work, it interferes with my need to be lazy). Especially for kids clothes. I have two boys. I saved everything from the first boy, so the younger gets the hand-me-downs. But once he's done, since they tend to outgrow clothes rather than wear them out, I place them in a box and when it's full, I donate it. The way I see, most of it was gifted. I didn't pay for it either. If I donate it, it gets it out of my hair faster and it helps some one. Win-win.
5. If you ever say, "why do I have this?" get rid of it.
6. Your garage is for cars and yard tools and outside games/toys. Not storage. If you can't park your car because of boxes, it is time to clean house.
7. Make a habit of shredding and disposing outdated bills and paperwork. I think the IRS says seven years, so at the seven year mark, you could shred the oldest year each year. Think of the space that will save.
8. Force yourself to go through boxes. Don't just keep them without knowing what's in them. Imagine you are moving. Do you really want to move that many boxes?
9. Don't ask your kids if they want to keep stuff. They will always say yes. When they are older you can teach them to go through stuff, but when they are younger be sneaky. When they aren't paying attention, remove toys and such and stash it somewhere out of view. If they don't notice it's gone, you are free and clear to get rid of it. They will never remember.
10. Remember, it's just stuff. Having stuff doesn't do anything to make you more secure. It actually just weighs you down.
Good luck. Happy purging. Trust me, it feels great!
This post may be linked at the following parties (for their Blog Buttons see my Link Love page): (M) Mad Skills , C.R.A.F.T., Amaze Me Monday, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Singing Three Birds, Masterpiece Mondays, Making the World Cuter, Sarahndipities, A Little Birdie Told Me (T) Stories of A to Z, The Blackberry Vine, How To's Day , Type A, Amaze Me August, Ten Buck Tuesday, Handmade Tuesdays, Anything Related, Tuesday's Treasures, Strictly Homemade, Show Me What Ya Got, Time to Shine, Show Off Your Crafty Side (W) Whassup Wednesday, Blue Cricket Design, Look What I Made, What I Whipped Up, The Trendy Treehouse, Wicked Awesome Wednesday , Good Life Wednesday, Inspiring Creativity, (TH) Beyond the Picket Fence Creative Juice, Somewhat Simple, Thrifty 101 , Smilemonsters , Everything But the Kitchen Sink, Shabby Chic Cottage, Thrifty Thursdays, House of Hepworth's, Thrilling Thursday, (F) Fingerprints on the Fridge, Furniture Feature Friday, SevenThirtyThree , Lovely Crafty Weekend , Simply Designing, Creative Corner, Tickled Pink 504 Main, Inspiration Friday at The Picket Fence, Friday Flair, Remodelaholic, For the Kids Fridays, Frugal Friday, Craft Goodies, I'm Lovin' It, Flaunt It Fridays (Sat) Tatertots and Jello , Anything Goes (Sun) Creative Blog & Hop, Sundae Scoop