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More is not necessarily better

Let's Get Organized

As I take box after box to St. Vincent’s to donate my stuff and that of those I work with as a professional organizer, I wonder who buys it all! The store is filled with donated items and the inventory is constantly changing, so someone is buying it.

I have had conversations with people who frequent these second-hand stores and often they say they can’t refuse another Pyrex pie pan or a kitchen gadget they don’t have. They purchase clothes that may or may not fit them. They find a collectible that they don’t own so they buy it. They fill up their homes with more stuff.

How much is too much? Look around in your kitchen. How many pans, baking dishes, leftover containers, and dishes do you really use at the same time? Are you keeping more in case something gets broken or wears out? I once went through a kitchen with someone who had drawers full of gadgets. When we went through them, she didn’t even remember what some of them were for, but at the time she bought them, she felt she needed them. She ended up with only one drawer of useful gadgets and empty drawers to use in her crowded kitchen.

My brother in Iowa says you can never have too many tools. He goes to every auction, flea market, and garage sale looking for tools. Is a basement with only a path to walk through too many tools? He would still say it’s not! However, I would like to think if he organized them, put them in sets, and knew where everything was, he might say he had enough. He makes tool kits for high school graduates and anyone that needs them, but that doesn’t even put a dent in them. Organizing what you have and putting them in their places after use can keep you from buying what you already own.

What about linens? When my sister visited me from out of state, I wanted her to go through my linen closet with me. (Yes, even professional organizers like someone to run ideas past.) What we realized, when we took everything out, was that I was saving way more than I needed. So we proceeded to sort sheets by sizes, knowing I no longer had twin-sized beds. After that process, I put clean sheets on all four of our beds, and when they were used, I washed them and put them back on. I didn’t need multiple sheets for each bed.

Towels can get overwhelming. How many sets of towels does one need? How many old towels does one need for housecleaning chores? After this is determined, set aside and donate to the Humane Society all of your extras and only keep what you need. There will always be new colors, but one doesn’t need all of them.

I was organizing with a lady who is now a dear friend and a reformed shopaholic. One of her “aha” moments was when she was shopping and found a beautiful comforter for her bed. Then she realized there would always be something better and more beautiful than what she had, so she did not purchase it. There will always be new items that are better than what we have, but are they necessary?

Clothes are another thing we might accumulate more than what we need. How many of us keep clothes we might fit into? I was shopping with a relative that purchased a dress that was four sizes too small in anticipation of losing that much weight. It never happened, and I wonder if she still has the dress. Purchase what fits and let go of the rest, even if you paid a lot for it. If you fluctuate in size, perhaps you can use two closets and hang the “other’ size in another space.

Collections are also something that can get out of hand. It used to be that the search was the fun of collecting, but now you can purchase almost anything online, so you might need to put a halt to your collecting and enjoy what you already have.

My advice is to be content with what you have and don’t always want something more. Maybe you could start a tab of what you were going to buy and didn’t. Then you can add that up and put it into a special savings account to see how much it accumulates.

Is more better? Is new better? Not necessarily! Look around you and count the blessings you have before you run to the store and buy more!

Doris Puls, of D & O Decluttering and Organizing, is a professional organizer whose mission is to make a difference in the lives of the people she works with in homes and businesses. Contact her at organizealpena@gmail.com or at 989-356-9545.

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