Many people think about Spring being the season of cleaning but why not make it the end of Fall too! Any time of year can be a good time of year to do some decluttering and cleaning within your house. As the pandemic has had many of us at home more than usual you may be noticing that you have A LOT of stuff! Maybe your grown children are back home and you are realizing you have old things from their high school days that haven’t been used in years, or you are starting to get ideas for decorating this holiday season and you are realizing with each bin you sift through there are more an more items you don’t even remember what you used them for, possibly you have been wanting to make the move to a smaller home and can’t take all the stuff with you that you’ve accumulated over the years.
Whatever your reasoning is it is always a good idea to take some time to declutter within your home. I try to do it a few times a year to make sure we aren’t holding on to things we will never use, or have grown out of. Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks to start the declutter process and be successful:
- Make it a family affair, set a few dates throughout the weekends that way everyone is able to help out
- Create new organizational habits, consider folders or shelfs that become designated spots for your needs. You can label the folders-bills, mail, receipts
- When going through papers, photos, magazines or documents consider having three options shred, file and recycle this way in the moment you aren’t adding it to a pile because you don’t want to deal with a private document or are finding doubles of old photos (with doubles a great thing to do is use it as a card for the person, write their birthday, thank you or even just a thinking of you on the back before mailing it and this is a great way to make a card personalized while saving on greeting cards)
- Find a playlist you enjoy or tune in to a new artist and play music during your day of decluttering, this keeps everyone in a good mood
- Set goals-go through your closet, the garage, basement or house closets. Setting up goals for the declutters can keep you on track when trying to work through what might seem like a daunting task
- When going through a drawer pull everything out and have a garbage bag nearby, take time to go through medicine cabinets and look at expiration dates of medicine or makeup. When you take everything out of a drawer or cabinet you are more likely to find things that need to be thrown out
- When going through items many times I stop and question an item unsure if I should keep it or get rid of it- I now ask myself if I was shopping now would I buy this? Or, when was the last time I used this? If you are honest with yourself answering those two questions you know right away what to do with the item
- When going through books I have read I enjoy thinking about the story and passing it along to a friend I think would enjoy the book leaving a note for them to pass it to someone they think would like it once they finish the book, this is a great way to share something you enjoyed with someone and thoughtful for the individual’ that is receiving a new read
- Stay organized, having designated bags, boxes or bins for donation, garbage, and giving to someone or selling. This is a great way to not mistake what might be able to be donated versus what has had it’s fair use and is time to get rid of
- Be okay with taking time to reminisce, when decluttering you may come across old momentums that make memories flash before you. Take a moment and take in those memories or share a laugh with who it reminds you of
- Take a lunch break, sometimes decluttering can cause some disagreements. It is always a good idea to take a break when everyone has worked for a few hours to enjoy a nice meal together. This is a great way to decompress before starting up the work again and remember what you are gaining by working through the decluttering-such as space, time, less to clean
- Lastly, pick locations you can donate your stuff to. Finding local organizations that take appliances, furniture, clothing and other household favorites can be very easy
If you live in Lancaster County consider contacting Off the Street to donate your items. Off the Street is a non-profit that works to end homelessness helping individuals and families transition into housing. This organization takes furniture and other household items. Be sure to check their website for their current donation wish list. When donating to an organization checking their wish list or contacting the organization first is important you do not want to give them items they either do not need or can’t use. This makes more work for the volunteers at these sights.
If you have gone through your closets and have a lot of clothing in good condition you have a lot of options consider making a bag of hand-me downs for someone you know, look at the consignment shops in the area if you would like to try to sell items, or contact Lancaster Food Hub! Lancaster Food Hub has a clothing bank where community members in need can shop for free! Clothing donations make up all the clothing that is distributed to community members, your donations truly are making a difference! As the pandemic continues it is important to note that more people than ever are looking to organizations like these to find support, if you have the ability to donate gently used items I am sure it is greatly appreciated!
These are both great organizations where you know that neighbors within the community are able to benefit from the materials you donate. Should you declutter your house and realize you have a lot that needs to go to the garbage and is not necessarily salvageable to be donated consider a monetary donation or volunteering your time. Both organizations have monetary donation spots on their websites as well as volunteer inquire forms. It is important to note these are not the only two nonprofits to donate to there are many wonderful organizations within our county working to help others! Organizations are taking precautions with the pandemic to ensure safety of volunteers, community members using their facilities and donations, look up how they are accepting donations, some are doing contactless pick up or contactless drop offs.
As we make the season of Fall a new season of decluttering our homes or spaces let’s make it the start of the season of giving. Take time to give gently used items to wonderful organizations in Lancaster County who work to help those in need! This is one of the many reasons why Lancaster’s sense of community and neighborly love is ever present in the organizations and people who reside in our County. Be a part of that reason!
Contact Mary Sue Wolf to look at homes and properties that could bring you to experience the community of Lancaster and ability to join a space of supporting your neighbors. You will love it here!
For more information on wonderful homes call Mary Sue at 717-333-9653 or visit her website at MarySueWolf.kw.com