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Categories: Organizing

Attics, basements, that off-site storage locker you've been paying for for the last five years, are often called 'bittersweet' places. That's why we spend years talking about how we should go up there, down there or out there and throw things out, but somehow we never get around to it.

It seems those spaces hold the things we don't know what else to do with, such as fading photos, wedding dresses and mementos. But it's usually not just simple clutter; it's also full of memories, items that call up good times and bad, all of which elicit emotion. Clearing the clutter comes down to deciding WHY you're keeping what's up there. Ready?

  • House only the positive memories. Anything that reminds you of a difficult or negative experience or a time you felt bad has to go, regardless of how valuable it is. What we surround ourselves with, even if it's stashed where you don't see it, influences our thinking.

  • Give each item the three-question-test. Do you really love it? (why is it in a dusty box in the attic?) Do you need it now? (why is it in a dusty box in the attic?) Can you imagine anyone in your family ever loving or needing it in the foreseeable future? If you can't answer yes to one of those questions, sell it, donate it, or recycle it.

  • Kick the shoulds and second guesses. While it can be difficult to fight those voices (especially the one that sounds a lot like your mother!), giving in to the notion of what other people think won't do your decluttering any good. If you feel yourself caving under 'advice' to keep things, dig in your heels and don't look back. Out it goes, to someplace it can live a fuller life than the one it would have had amongst the cobwebs.

Kim & Sandra

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