Week 3: Storage.
... This is the big one here. A few victories from the bathroom and your entertainment selection will hopefully ramp you up for this--but depending on how much stuff you have this could take a while and become a rather big project.
So what counts as storage? Mostly the places you store junk and stuff. The pantry, while storage.. is mostly food storage, which is rather easy to go through since it is all the same category (and we have a food/catch-all week already.).. And junk drawers and smaller high-traffic areas are also not really storage, as they're small enough to be dumped out and sorted (plus, we have a week for those too!)
It's such a broad term, but I'm saying that it is the stuff that is not in your daily or even weekly life.. So I'm more looking at the bins in the closet hiding things, the book shelves that actually have boxes of stuff instead of books, the tupperware storage containers you leave in the garage, etc.
So.. If you keep storage items and containers in your house. Take them from all the sections of your house and gather them in one place. Camping gear, scrap-booking items, that bin full of jewelry from that time you thought you were going to start making your own, that stack of newspapers you think is worth something in 50 years, the 10 boxes of Christmas ornaments, collections you collected but never put on display, that nice china set your mother gave you for your wedding.. All that STUFF. Valuable or not, it's all scattered throughout the house and it needs to be looked at for what it is--storage stuff.
It's the stuff you don't use all the time, but you keep. This stuff is the stuff minimalists tend to get rid of first.. but to me, this is the stuff that is hardest to get rid of!! There are a lot of what if questions and a lot of miscellaneous things that get in the way.
1. So, separate it into categories that semi make sense.
- Collections and collectibles
- Holiday decorations, etc.
DO NOT have a miscellaneous pile! All of this stuff is already miscellaneous. If you cannot identify a purpose for the item, you probably shouldn't be keeping it in the first place!
Collections count as items of entertainment.. If you cannot see them or display them, what good are they to collect and have in your life? So evaluate, and like Qlip said, trade up to quality. If it is the concept you like, but the items are not really what you wanted, you CAN sell them off and use that money to get what you really did desire and would display. If they're presents from others.. Hey. Donating, re-gifting, etc. are all good ways to put those things to great use.
(I did a project as a kid when picture frames were popular to give out.. I took the frames, glued the glass to them, and made boxes out of them. They were really nice looking and my friends liked them and never realized they were the frames they'd given me collected and redesigned and painted.)
Holiday decorations.. this one is hard. If you have a box of the ones you used last year, and never touched the others.. I'd say that is a REALLY easy way of you telling yourself that those are the only decorations you will bother putting up. My family has a TON, but we only end up getting enough time to string up lights and put up a few lawn decorations. So why do they keep the rest? I don't know, but I'm throwing it all out once I get home! All I can say with decorations is, if they don't store easily and keep well and they aren't easy to string up and have (like that wreath we have that plays christmas songs but we have to fix it EVERY year..... ) then they really aren't worth keeping around. Decorating should be a fun time. Even if you go crazy with decorating, that's cool, just make sure you use everything every time. (I heard of neighbors with themes to their christmas decorations swapping ornaments to change it up instead of buying all new ones. I thought that was an awesome idea.)
Hobbies... If they're indoor hobbies and projects, and you have a work space set aside for them, great. But that scrap booking stuff you bought to organize all your photos with, and then you realized digital photos are so much easier so you digitize your old photos instead? I'd repurpose what I could (Making some cards for birthdays and christmas, etc.) and then sell or donate the rest. Outdoor projects and hobbies, if you aren't active with them or don't have set dates for things, they aren't really worth keeping. I know I go snowboarding every year, so my gear is essential. ... but camping? I never really do that, so why do I have a sleeping bag? Things like this you'll just have to evaluate. Part of taking the time to drag all your storage stuff out into the middle is seeing if you REALLY want to drag it back. If even carrying it back to be stored and maintained again sounds like a chore, it probably isn't something you should keep. That skateboard you got thinking you'd relive your childhood and never touched after could be better used by a kid next door.
Really, it is all about just seeing what you need. Taking a fresh look at things when they aren't urgent. Nothing for christmas looks important in April/may time frame So it's perfect to clean it out now.
I think the biggest thing is to just simply look at time frames. In the past two years, Did you REALLY use this? If it's newer than two years, have you even touched it since buying it or acquiring it? Beach stuff seems cool in May, since summer is coming.. but are you really going to the beach? Or did you buy it thinking you would, the plan fell through, and now there it all sits a year later..
Here on my deployment, I only have two really big bags of army gear to sift through, which seems daunting in and of itself.. so I know what ya'll will go through with storage stuff! It'll be a big undertaking for me when I get home as well.. that's all I have is useless storage stuff !
Good luck on it, and please remember to post any results, feelings, or discoveries ya'll had!
P.S. I chose this one for week three because.. With a few victories, you get into the swing of things and feel like this CAN be done. But those two weeks could also easily be done within a day's time if desired. This one will make you manage your time, and do the project in a way where you won't burn out. If you can get through this week and see the results and feel motivated to go on, you'll be golden for the rest of the weeks!