Thursday, July 15, 2010

I promised you more from the April 2010 Redbook article “Julie Morgenstern Sorts out all of your Stuff.” She has a great list of the “8 things you can toss without guilt – right now!” They are:

“1. Kitchen items you haven’t used in a year or longer.” She suggests donating the bulky items like a little or never used bread maker or panini press and “enjoy the extra space.” But don’t fill it up with other things you might never use!

“2. The entire contents of your junk drawer” or junk drawers if you have more than one! Are you afraid that you may throw away something you might need? Empty all of the junk (aptly named because it usually is) into a box. During the next month (or two if you are truly paranoid) put any item you use back into the drawer. At the end of the month, throw the remaining items away! This piece of advice can be applied to many things you think you may need (but actually don’t). Using this trial separation method of de-cluttering will go a long way to prove to yourself that you don’t need the items that you are keeping “for a rainy day.” Living with a few extra containers for a month or two is far better than keeping your house full of clutter “just in case.” And realizing that little or nothing from these containers will actually make it back into the drawer or closet will give you confidence next time you have doubts about just throwing something away. My suggestion about putting stuff back is not to just create another junk drawer by tossing it back in an empty drawer. Invest in one of those divided sorting trays that are available in many kitchen and office supply stores (or at my favorite de-clutter heaven Hold Everything or online at An organized drawer or closet is less likely to attract more junk. Julie Morgenstern suggests thinking about the drawer in a new way as your “newly functional drawer.”

“3. Clothes that no longer fit.” By the time they fit, they will be out of style…let someone else enjoy them while they are current.

“4. School Work from high school or college.” Like the clothes that no longer fit, the material is most likely out of date. Julie suggests to “save your favorite papers in an archival box” but the rest, including textbooks, should be trashed. Most of the places that take book donations don’t want old textbooks either.

“5. Baby Gear.” Julie reminds us that “safety standards change so quickly that car seats and cribs are generally outdated just a few years after they are manufactured.” If you already have the next baby on the way, these would obviously not be the items you should discard.

“6. Random Receipts.” After you check the totals against your statements, keep only what will be needed for taxes or expenses and then only for seven years.”

“7. Half-used bottles of shampoo, conditioner, or makeup you tried but did not like.” It wouldn’t be hanging around as clutter if you had liked it that much.

“8. Books that you have never read or books that you might read again. Donate them and save space on your shelves for the books that speak to your soul.” We in the library world, like to point out the we have more than enough reading material for you here and we keep them dusted and in order so that you can find what you want when you are ready to read it! Now that some money has been restored into the state library funding line items in Governor Christie’s budget, Interlibrary Lending has been saved! So if we don’t own it, we can generally get what you want within a week or so.

We all need to thank Julie Morgenstern for giving us the permission to toss this huge pile of junk! Go ahead and let it go!

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