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Out with the old habits

Let's Get Organized

Happy New Year 2021! It is the year we can change bad habits and start anew. We can also be thankful for the good habits we have going and continue these practices. Before we change our behavior it can be important to know why we have the bad habits we do. It might be important to know why we have clutter in our lives before we can change for the better.

Historically, people often did not have extras. They used everything they owned and didn’t accumulate “stuff” because they didn’t have the money or the space to store extras. If there were extras, the protective instinct took over of saving because you might need it later. My parents lived during the Great Depression when they had little, so when it was over they became savers. Their home had lots of “stuff” they might use later, and of course, they did use some of it later. Some of us are still in that mindset.

Some leave the clutter in their homes because they don’t know what to do with it. Some are not ready to give it up yet even though they aren’t using it. They feel their belongings are worth lots of money so they aren’t ready to give them up. Some love the idea of having more than others for bragging rights. They may feel their “stuff” is valuable. I have spoken with people who like the idea of others being envious of what they save (whether it is true is another question).

Some of the benefits of letting go of “treasures” is that you get to decide who gets them. You can find the best place to give them, whether it is with a relative, friend, or donation center, so others can enjoy them. You might even decide to sell things that are valuable so you can have the money.

Benefits of going through your “stuff” while you are still healthy is the joy that comes from looking through “old” stuff as well as the satisfaction that comes from a house that is in order. You can give joy to others by gifting them items they will enjoy.

I have observed that adult children are not quick to accept any and everything we think they should have. Even family heirlooms may not be what they want in their homes. Our children may not even keep all of their personal treasures we saved for them like their trophies, toys, report cards, etc. (need I go on?). Many move often and don’t want to take extra stuff with them. They don’t want to store what they don’t use.

Something I have observed over the years is that it is all about the timing of when “stuff” is available to own. When my grandmother’s things were being auctioned off, my brother and his wife were just moving into their first house and had nothing. He and his wife purchased many antiques for their home and still use them today, over 40 years later. It is a joy to walk into their home and see grandmother’s furniture, knowing it stayed in the family. Had it been a different time, maybe no one in the family would have wanted it.

Keeping important papers together in a file makes it so much easier for you and for those who help you to find what you are looking for. Vehicle titles; birth, marriage, and death certificates; passports; wills and trusts; end of life wishes; up-to-date insurance policies with old ones tossed; and current financial information are all important to have in one secure place. You may want to have it in a locked box for safe keeping as long as someone you trust completely knows where the key is kept. If you don’t have a system for saving these, 2021 is a good year to start!

Getting your living spaces in order is a goal you can start now. It may take days, weeks, months, or maybe the entire year. Happy new beginnings!

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. Reach her at organizealpena@gmail.com or at 989-356-9545.

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