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Rightsizing the “Stuff” in Your Home

Your stuff is after all your stuff and it’s up to you to decide what to do with it.

Most of us have accumulated items as we have lived our lives.

I started off my life away from home in a small on-campus married student apartment. It was furnished in early attic from stuff my parents and my husbands parents gave us. And it was perfect for us at that time.

From there I spent 5 years in Germany as an army wife and during that period I accumulated a lot – including two sons. Because we were housed in Germany, when we traveled – with the two boys – we almost always went by car. As disposable diapers were used up, the space was filled with fun items from our travels.

Back in the states I continued to accumulate stuff that suited my lifestyle and made me happy.

Fast forward through many lifestyle changes and here I am in my 70s living in a ranch home and it is perfect for my husband and myself at this time.

While I accumulated much during my first 25 years after moving out of my parents’ home, in the last 25 plus years I have been letting a lot go. I stopped sewing so my sewing machine and all that goes with sewing clothes was given away. My boys were no longer in scouts or school so anything I had accumulated to support them in those endeavors was trashed or given away.

My lifestyle, interests, and what makes me happy have changed. I still love to entertain but now prefer to use IKEA white plates and stainless-steel cutlery that can go through the dishwasher instead of the good china and sterling silver I used to love. I still enjoy seeing some items I accumulated during my travels but now I only have one thing from Russia or Cuba to display.

My vision of my home is a place of refuge where people can come in and exhale. Comfort is key and low maintenance is important to me.

When Diane Quintana and I formed our business Release Repurpose Reorganize we developed a mission statement that states “Our mission is guiding you to build your refuge in the world. To release, repurpose and reorganize what you own so it serves you instead of you serving it.” I take that to heart in my own home.

Every year I go room by room through my home and evaluate what I have. What is the purpose of each item? Do I still use it? Do I love it? And each year I make it my goal to let some more things go. Of course, new things still come into the home, but they are usually either replacing something or meeting a new need.

Just this past year I commissioned a piece of art for my office that I truly love. The painting that had been on that wall was given to someone who wanted it. We are both happier.

I see in my client’s homes many items that are there just because they have always been there. I like to challenge them and you to really look at each area in your home and see if everything in the area still fits your vision. It is helpful to take a picture of the wall or space and look at the picture. Sometimes you see things you had stopped seeing.

The more stuff you have the more stuff you must clean and maintain. If the stuff does not add to your happiness, then let it go and have some more time doing things you love. Letting go of stuff is not letting go of the people who gave you the stuff or your memories. It is freeing up your space and time for new adventures!

If you want help or just some accountability in organizing or downsizing a space in your home or working any other organizational plan either outside or inside your home, join Diane Quintana and me on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing and virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook.

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