AP NEWS

Cutting Through the Clutter: Decluttering decisions

April 15, 2019

My husband and I recently became empty nesters and decided after 26 years it was time to start doing some updating to our home.

The project was to replace all the flooring on the first level. We previously had some ceramic tile, some carpet and some linoleum. In order to replace all the flooring, we had to make the furniture as light as possible so it could easily be moved around and not completely removed.

We started the project by going through all the curio cabinets, sideboards, china cabinets, bookshelves and boxing everything up to haul to the basement. We did not take the time to look at things and make decisions on whether we should keep them or not. We were on a mission to get it down into the basement so the flooring contractor could start the job.

It definitely would have taken a lot longer if we took the time to review, analyze and decide on the outcome of every item.

Phase two of the project was to have all the cabinets painted in the kitchen along with all the woodwork and trim throughout the first floor. Luckily, we did not have to remove anything from the cabinets but we did have to remove everything from the pantry and closets.

Phase three was to have all the walls on the entire first floor painted, including our second-floor foyer. This meant removing every picture and all wall décor. This, too, joined the rest of the stuff in the basement.

So, imagine this — our basement now contains every knick-knack, picture, book and miscellaneous other stuff that we own. And boy did we have a lot of stuff. Just imagine if you did this.

We are very slowly starting to move items up from the basement. One item here, another there, nothing too crazy. At the same time, we are starting our garage-sale pile. We’ve only put three nail holes back in the walls. The other items we are contemplating on.

We ask ourselves do we need it, use it and love it? If not, maybe it’s time to part with it. This has been a great cleansing process. We’ve slowed down putting things away and have stepped back to analyze, consider and decide, is all this stuff really something we want to keep?

As we continue to live in our newly redecorated surroundings, we only bring the items up that we need. The longer things stay in the basement, the easier it is to let go of them. It has turned into a smooth transition.

I tell you this story so you know a great way to make decisions on your belongings. Box up the items that you cannot say honestly that you need, use or love.

Store the box away and as you realize you miss something from that box, bring it back. After six months or so, whatever is remaining in the box can go. You truly do not need it.