Hey Collectors!

To ensure success, I have broken down where to begin into many different steps. I have been posting a blog series on Where to Begin. Don’t forget to check out the other blogs or if you prefer to listen, check out my podcast: http://hoardganize.libsyn.com

Today we are going to talk about KEEP vs. DONATE. How do you decide this?

We are going to pick up from last month’s blog. Be at your sorting station, with your bags or boxes labeled: Keep, Donate, Important and Trash. Have your “to go through” (TGT) box to tackle. Last month we talked about staring with easy items to go through. If you have discarded trash and recycled in the area you are working, you are now ready to begin with your TGT box.

If it is a perfectly good item, you might be confused on whether you should keep or donate it. You might like everything in your TGT box. Know you can lean how to make decisions on your items. Some might be more challenging than others. You might have some new items. You may know you have duplicates. You may be excited to see these items again. The task might be daunting. It is okay if items are all mixed together or all the same category. Do not over think; keep moving forward and go through all your items in the TGT box one by one.

You will most likely have the urge to get up and put things away. Do not do this! This will slow down and/or sabotage your process. If an item feels urgent, put in your important bag to deal with right after the session.

Sit at your sorting station and focus on your TGT box. If you have ADD or ADHD this is important! Don’t put things away because you might not come back as other things distract you. Consider writing a note to remind you to stay put.

If you have hoarding or extreme clutter, you may not have storage so it is important for you to make decisions. Don’t obsess over miscellaneous items. Remember, OHIO (Only Handle It Once) doesn’t work for those with extreme clutter or hoarders. I believe it is okay to have a second or third pass on items. Do your best to try and not get hung up on your items.

I give myself 30 seconds and my clients a minute. If I can’t decide, I put in my keep bag with the plan on revisiting later. Try to weed out what you can let go of. Here are some more tips:

I know somebody that could use that! Put the item aside and really think about this. If you have extreme clutter, perhaps you have a friend you have been meaning to give stuff to. Do they really want? If you called them right now, would they truly be excited about the item? Consider it if takes a lot of effort to get to the person. Do you need to make a trip to the post office and mail? Bring over to their home? Your friend might not want the items because they might not have same sentiment as you do. Trust your friend will survive without the items and let them go. Put the item in your donate bag. Don’t get caught up in helping others; the priority right now is helping you!

What if I need it someday? Think about how often you have actually used the item. When was last time you used? Is there a duplicate? How easy would it be to get another one? If you did need it, would you get that exact item or would you choose something else? Remind yourself of your vision of living a clutter free life. Does your item help you realize that vision?

Hold, touch, smell, and look at each individual item. As you do this, ask yourself: do you truly need it? Do you have others just like it? Is it something you actually use? Is it in good enough condition to use? Would someone with much less appreciate it more? There are many people in need who truly would use and get value from your stuff.

If you decide to keep, put it in your keep bag. If you believe someone else could get better use, place in your donate bag.

If it is not in good condition, put in the trash or recycle. I see a lot of garbage being donated to charities. If you have a puzzle with missing pieces, do you think a child would appreciate a puzzle with missing piece? If the item is ripped, torn or stained, throw it out. It is not fair to donate unusable items. The non-profits have to absorb the cost of the landfill fee.

Before moving to another area, go through all items in your TGT box. Once the box is empty, you will be left with keep and donate. If you put anything in your important bag, deal with it immediately.

What about items you aren’t sure about? Maybe you have a blouse you are not sure about because you don’t know how many blouses you have and want time to think about it. If you are spending a lot of time thinking about it, put it in your keep bag. Don’t allow it to slow you down.

Let me reiterate: it is okay to have second or third pass of things. You might decide later you don’t want items in your keep bag. Deal with the uncomfortable feeling of being less than perfect. Now, this isn’t a hall pass; try your best to make a decision to keep or donate. Always ask if someone with less could use the item more. Imagine your home when the decluttering is done. Is that item included in your vision?

Label your keep container with what room it came from and date. Don’t sort and put items away from your keep bag. You might not have space if you have extreme clutter. The goal is to learn how to go through items by yourself and what questions to ask yourself, not to have your home instantly organized. This is a long process. It took a long time and effort to clutter your home and it will take time and effort to declutter.

Congratulate yourself on a job well done and reward yourself! You just sorted a box all by yourself! Celebrate your work by watching a movie, having some ice cream. Acknowledge your hard work and progress and never give up!

Take your donations to your staging area. If the bag is full, take the trash and recycling out if you can physically do it. Have your sorting station clear for the next time you declutter. I like to wipe down my station. Keep it clear as it is easy to clutter again. Make a rule that you are not going to clutter it again.

We will talk about donations in the next blog in this series.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to deciding to keep vs. donate? What has helped you? Share your comments below.

Deciding whether to keep or donate items is only part of the process in decluttering and getting organized. Collector Care can help! Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email rachel@collectorcare.com to schedule your free 30-minute consultation to discuss how we can help you with decluttering, hoarding, extreme clutter and getting organized.

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