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Tackling "Stuff" To Get Organized (Finally...Maybe?)

Updated on February 1, 2012

"Stuff" has been weighing us down. Time to act!

Five days to sort, toss, and organize (no slow reading and reminiscing allowed; no time for that until "Mission Accomplished.")
Five days to sort, toss, and organize (no slow reading and reminiscing allowed; no time for that until "Mission Accomplished.") | Source

Three keys: "Yes" "No" "Now" for sorting....

What goes in the "Yes" category?

Family Keepsakes (photos, awards, the most precious things of the children, etc.), Official Records (diplomas, birth certificates, title for the house and car, etc.), Tax Information and current receipts (last X years only), most Current Resume (try filling out an application for a classified government's more than you need, and not even a good resume!), receipts for refunds, guarantees for expensive stuff that may break. biographical stuff (but be judicious), reference materials you will someday actually refer to (a garden layout, computerize when you can to save space, but remember tapes, and discs, will eventually decay), shot records, passports (some things belong in a safe deposit box such as vital records, treasures, etc.), health records, any x-rays, etc., Usable supplies (a good place to start!, but stored and out of sight,) tools (but centralize them.) Add your own "Yes" items.

What goes in the "No" category?

Meaningless newspapers, magazines, books of no current value, trinkets, rocks, seashells, easily replaced plants and packing materials, old mail (if not a Keepsake), Defunct projects (such as a former business' records---if it involves employees or account numbers it must be shredded), toys the grandkids have outgrown (donate?), clothes you won't realistically fit anymore or consider wearing this year (nature abhors a vacuum so more clothes will almost magically appear soon), old shoes, sports gear for sports you no longer play (donate them), Anything broken that you haven't needed lately or that would be unreasonable to repair, anything you can easily and at no, or little cost, replace. And, if it is not yours, return it, set a deadline for someone to come take it, or contact them for permission to dispose of it. There are literally endless lists you can add here to the "No" category, but it it is a category you will waste time thinking about again, add it here.

What goes in the "Now" category?

Current bills, current addresses, correspondence needing a reply, current magazines you know you will actually at least skim through, seasonal gear, emergency supplies of all types, vital information on friends and family (where it can be accessed in an emergency) passwords, medicines, credit card and banking information (properly secured), etc anything someone could require you to provide, proof of payment information, service records, insurance policies, anything you would take with you in case of fire, etc. You will add to this category of "Now" items as you come across others, but have a filing system or storage system that allows you to quickly (even hastily) locate them.


Here is where the problem of "Stuff" came from in the first place. BEWARE! Rule of thumb: handle it once in the sorting, and only once again in the organizing. The "NOW' category gets done once (i.e. NOW, unless hours of operation mean it must wait until tomorrow.) This can slow you down, but it will be a big relief to be "all caught up." Waiting for a payday? Put that item in the "Current Bills" file with a post-it note as to when it has to be paid, etc. The reason so many items of clutter are still around and "in a pile somewhere" is because so many items were "Borderline" to begin are an accomplished procrastinator. Remember: if it is worth doing, it's worth doing as soon as the next spare moment comes around.

(c) 2011 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.

Sizing up the problem....

Do you have an existing routine or system for controlling clutter which might help others? (If so, please comment below.)

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    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 6 years ago

      Great tips and ones I have used for years to keep the clutter out. My daughter would tell me my house is empty because I don't do a lot of knicknacks and clutter very well.

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Yes, indeed, I qualify as a packrat. There are so many things of sentimental value the sorting can be sort of touch, thanks, Cred2

    • profile image

      PenMePretty 6 years ago from Franklin

      Absolutely important and useful and I voted up up up!!! and useful.

    • reikieffect profile image

      reikieffect 6 years ago

      Hate to admit... I really have an organization problem! another thing that helps me is before buying something, even if it is in clearance, I ask myself... Am I going to use this or give it to someone that is going to use it?... It helps although I still struggle some days

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 6 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      This seems a valid endorsement of "social credits" more often in the past called "barter credits." With the downturns in the US economy still heavy, more and more folks, including professionals, neighbors, small businesses, are bartering time for service and services for time. I suspect that early Americans did a lot of that, a lot more than we do even with this resurgence. Helping a neighbor harvest, in return for their help with your harvest. We lost a lot when it became "Every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost!" Too often he does, because we left them there at the back of the bus, on the bottom rung of the ladder, the single and struggling parent, the physically and mentally disabled, the orphans, the lonely, and all the forgottens that society neglects in its mad dash for prosperity, status, and whited sepulchers.

    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 6 years ago from Arizona

      My system for declutter is having a friend who has a knack for it and is willing to share her talent! I am clueless, I swear my mind disconnects when I look at the stuff. She can walk in an know exactly where everything should go. Amazing. In exchange, I help her with her scrapbooks.