Decluttering, Ho! Strategies for Creating a Tidier, Stress-Free Space

Kellan Peck • January 26, 2024

Are you surrounded by sentimental keepsakes, items that might come in handy someday, and a hodgepodge of papers and gadgets you don’t know what to do with? If so, you’re not alone! Many of us accumulate items for a variety of reasons.

Objects hold sentimental value and can remind us of significant moments in our lives. High school yearbooks, the ball from your daughter’s Pitch-N-Putt hole-in-one on a family road trip in 1972, the mezzaluna knife passed down from your Nonna, the clacking-marble Newton’s cradle from the office you did good work in for forty years — these all represent facets of our personal histories, and it makes us feel good to have them around us.

Other objects we hold on to because they might be useful someday, or because it seems wasteful to throw them out. Who hasn’t received a gift and immediately thought: This is a good box! Or kept that XL left-leg splint in case another tall person happens to break their left leg too?

Things can accumulate for less compelling reasons as well, such as habit (condiment packets! Playbills! Holiday cards!) or uncertainty about how to get rid of them. Before we know it, we find ourselves surrounded by an ocean of stuff, hindering our comfort and productivity — even holding us back from moving to places better suited to our current lifestyles. This is where a decluttering adventure begins!

Here are some strategies to get started:

Say No to Junk Mail:
Treat junk mail like a vampire — don’t invite it in! Keep a recycling bin near the door to dispose of it promptly and prevent it from piling up.

One In, One Out Rule:
Control clutter by adopting the “one in, one out” rule. For every new item brought into your home, discard or donate a similar item.

Everything Has a Home:
Designate specific places for different types of objects to prevent duplication and maintain an organized living space.

Learn Local Disposal Procedures:
Familiarize yourself with your neighborhood’s waste pickup opportunities. Check your municipality’s website for bulky trash pickup procedures and county resources for paper shredding and hazardous materials disposal.
Mercer County’s 2024 Special Waste disposal dates can be found here: http://www.mcianj.org/

Attend John Walsh’s FYI Decluttering Program:
On February 5, at 2:00 p.m. CMAP is hosting a seminar by John Walsh, CEO of Walsh Senior Solutions. Mr. Walsh has helped many families with decluttering, downsizing, and moving. His lively presentation will give you strategies, tips, and proven game plans for conquering your clutter issues! The seminar is free and will be held both in person at NSK and hybrid via Zoom. Register here.

Join the Clearing Spaces Support Group:
If you’re seeking motivation and support during your decluttering journey, consider joining Clearing Spaces, a weekly Zoom support group held every Monday at 3:00 p.m. starting February 12. We will share strategies, and success stories, and tidy up small spaces together while enjoying upbeat music. Participation is free! Register here.

Follow these strategies to reclaim your space and make room for the life you want to lead. See you at the Decluttering FYI and Clearing Spaces!

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