First of all, I want to thank you for all the birthday wishes and cards and goodies. I have some amazing family and friends that love me! I felt truly blessed on my birthday! I also gained the 10 lbs back that I lost being sick thanks to Coldstone Creamery, my mother's cooking and my boys who bought me a box of chocolates! EEK!
Secondly, I was taking a shower (yes, at 2:45....you do what you have to do) and giving my legs a long overdue shave and looking at all of the bottles of shampoo and soap and body wash and face scrub and shaving cream and face mask that reside in our shower. I hate clutter. I am allowed to use that word (hate) because I truly believe that clutter is bad. You don't want to end up being defined by your, "stuff " or ultimately having people not want to come to your house because they feel overwhelmed by things. Simple is good. I believe that it starts to take over your life when you least expect it. I'm fortunate enough to be married to someone who also does not appreciate clutter either. We have clutter rules in our house and I thought I'd share them so maybe you can clean out some of the clutter in your house and feel good about it. Some people have a hard time letting go of certain things (as do I ) but just think of the want and need rule. Do you really NEED it, or are you just holding on to it because you want to? If you thought I was a nerd before, wait until you read these :) Here are some of our rules.
1. What little mail we get goes right into the recycle bin, bill pile or garbage right away. That way it doesn't stack up. File things that need to be filed and move on. If you know you're not going to read it, seriously....throw it away. Lots of little papers all over the place equals lots of big piles of crap later.
2. Things to be donated to Goodwill or the local clothes closet go in a bag or a bin that is easily accessible. We usually go once every two weeks with a big bag of stuff to donate. Some rules for donating things:
a. If you haven't worn it in over 1 year it needs to go. You won't wear it again. I promise. If you keep holding on to your, "fat jeans" then you give yourself the out to actually, "get fat" again. That doesn't go for pregnancy stuff though.
b. If toys are broken or missing pieces that make them not playable, then they get tossed. If the boys have out grown them or simply do not enjoy them, we donate them.
c. Donate books that you enjoyed reading but know you won't read again. Keep the ones you read often or go back to find certain useful things. Let someone else enjoy the book instead of holding on to it. This goes for cookbooks, DVD's and CD's too. Those are easily transferred to computer or iPod and then you can re-sell or donate.
d. Give toys, books or clothes to families you know will use them. We love giving them to people we actually know and will appreciate them.
3. It is true to have a few good things for storage and emergencies but you have to draw the line somewhere, especially if you don't have storage space. We don't have a garage and very little storage space, so I get to use this excuse when getting rid of stuff. Do you really need 15 bottles of lotion and 25 hairbrushes? I think not. Do not get in the mindset, "oh, I'll use this someday...." that will get you into trouble.
4. Go through each room of the house one day at a time. Start small and think big. Keep things you actually use. Sort through, toss and organize the things you use often. We also keep a basket at the bottom of the stairs for things that need to go up and misplaced items. That way they can get put back where the came from. Things need a place to live. Shoes need a home, balls need a home and paintbrushes need a home. Give them a home.
5. Throw away outdated cosmetics, cleaning supplies and food depending on the date on the back. Some cosmetics should only be kept for three months (mascara) because you could get an infection from the bacteria the builds up.
6. Enjoy how it makes you feel after you've completed one room. You'll feel lighter and less cluttered and just cleaner!
I know, I'm crazy but I have seen too many people fall victim to their stuff. Don't let it happen to you :)