Tired of cleaning around countless possessions, finding space in bulging closets, and sorting through overflowing bookshelves, many of us are choosing to live with less. If you’re spending more time battling your belongings that enjoying your experiences, hobbies, friends and family, maybe it’s time to join the minimalist movement! Here are four tips on how regular donations can help you organize your home and keep it clean, manageable and focused.
Go Room by Room
If you want to simplify your life and downsize your belongings, you’ll have to make some tough decisions about what to keep, and what to donate. The task may seem daunting at first, but if you break it down into small sessions going room by room in your home, you will find it much easier to handle. Schedule an afternoon per room and take your time. You don’t want to be overwhelmed with regret later after donating a beloved book or favourite pair of worn-in jeans because you felt rushed.
One common rule of purging clothes and belongings is if you haven’t worn or used it within the past 12 months, it doesn’t hold a place in your current life and should move on. Value Village will gladly accept your unwanted clothes provided they’re clean, free of stains and holes, and all zippers and buttons are intact. Men’s, women’s and children’s attire are all welcome, so load up a box or bag with gently used shirts, dresses, socks, underwear, sweaters and hats and bring them to your nearest location.
Is your kitchen overrun with too many pots and pans? Is your basement bursting with rarely used sports equipment or forgotten electrical items such as toasters, mixers, blenders or radios? They’ll take those things, too. Clear the clutter and add knick-knacks such as candles, baskets, jewellery, ornaments, vases and picture frames to your donation pile. Once you’ve completed this first sweep of your home, your space will feel lighter, cleaner and more manageable.
Follow the One In, One Out Rule
With your first home clear out done, it’s time to get into the habit of maintaining your minimalist pledge. Every time you bring a new piece of clothing into your home, give it adequate space by donating something that you no longer wear. This practice of ‘one in, one out’ will keep your closet and dresser drawers neat, streamlined and clutter-free. You can take this mantra to the next level by only purchasing new items when an old one is worn out or falls out of favour. Remember that clothes that are in great condition can be donated, so there’s no need to toss them in the trash.
This ‘one in, one out’ rule can apply to everything in your home. Want to buy the latest hardback bestseller? Take a previously read novel to Value Village so someone else can enjoy it. The kids want a new toy? Donate a board game, puzzle or stuffed animal that they’ve outgrown. This easy habit is a terrific way to keep only the possessions that you enjoy while keeping clutter to a minimum.
Make Seasonal Donations
Follow the calendar and make seasonal donations to manage in-home organization and clutter. In January, avoid packing away holiday decorations or lights that were unused. Instead, put them aside for donation. As long as they’re in good condition, have all their parts and aren’t damaged, they’re prime donation candidates.
Come spring, do an inventory of your kids’ toys. Older playthings relegated to the bottom of the toy box can be donated to make storage space for all the new toys received during the most recent holiday season. Once the school year ends, high school or college textbooks that are no longer needed are also great items for donation.
Early summer is ideal for donating seldom-used winter sports equipment such as skis, sleds and skates to make room for all the must-have accessories of summer – lawnmower, BBQ and garden furniture.
Items that weren’t used during summer and remained shoved to the back of your shed are ripe for autumn donation. Camping equipment, skateboards, volleyball nets, baseball gear – anything that was ignored this past summer could be put to better use by someone else. Bundle all these items together for donation and gain some much needed clutter-free breathing room.
Keep a Bag Handy
Maintaining your minimalist existence can be made even easier when you keep a donation bag or box in your closet, basement or garage. Its presence will be a gentle reminder that you’ve decided to keep your home organized and focused. The whim to donate an item can hit at any time and being prepared with a spot dedicated to collect such items is efficient and forward thinking. Once the bag or box is full, it’s time to donate.