We’ve all been there.
You’re packing for a DITY, or unpacking a HHG shipment, and you feel like you are buried in JUNK. You swear that you will get rid of most of it to prevent this situation in the future, but during the next move you find yourself packing up even more clutter. The weight on your shipment keeps creeping up and you just don’t know how to stop it.
When you have less stuff, you have less stress- especially when you are a military family that moves frequently. If you are dedicated to cutting the clutter and the stress before your next PCS, these five tips will help you keep your possessions under control.
1. Comb through your house one room at a time.
- The key to reducing clutter is to take it slow. Tackle a room a day or a room a week and try to find as many things to get rid of as possible. Put a donate box and a trash bag in each room, put on some dancing music and go to town.
2. When in doubt about an item, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I use this in the near future? If you aren’t going to use it within the next year, get rid of it (unless it’s seasonal gear…you never know when you will PCS to Alaska).
- Could someone use this more than me? There are so many people in your community that have next to nothing. That blanket that never gets used could really help someone else out.
- Have I outgrown this? As a rule of thumb I always get rid of any item of clothing that is too small, too big, has holes or doesn’t suit me. You can apply the same idea to books, movies and other items.
- Do I have a place for this? If you don’t have a good place to put something, either it needs to go or something that is occupying its place needs to go. Remember that saying? A place for everything and everything in its place.
3. Don’t try to sell stuff.
- If you are wanting to de-clutter quickly and efficiently, don’t try to sell things you are getting rid of. Attempting to sell something means you have to hold onto it until someone is interested. We’ve all intended to sell something and had it end up still a permanent resident in our house. Just donate it and get it out of your life.
4. Get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past year.
- This is a standing rule in my house. If we haven’t used it in the past year (with a few exceptions) it’s going out the door. That box you haven’t unpacked in two moves? Donate it without even opening it.
5. Detach from sentimental and guilt clutter.
- We all have sentimental items that we would never dream of getting rid of — and I’m not asking you to. What you should aim to get rid of is sentimental clutter (hello T-shirts from college). These things aren’t bringing you any utility in the sentiment department, but you just can’t bring yourself to part with them. To ease the pain of parting with these items, take photos or find a way to repurpose them into something you will use (like a quilt).
- We also tend to hold on to gifts that we can’t find a place for, but feel guilty about getting rid of (like that decorative plate your in-laws gave you). The truth is, if you are never going to use the gift, it should probably go no matter who gave it to you. If the giver asks, you can always tell them it fell off the moving truck.
Bonus: Keep the clutter at bay by not letting more stuff enter your house.
- I know this is easier said than done — especially with kids. Try to keep the new stuff to a minimum so that your house doesn’t re-clutter.
- When new stuff does come into your house, adopt a “one in, one out” policy. If you receive a gift, buy a new outfit, or get a new gadget, find a comparable item to get rid of.
Once you get your clutter under control, you will be surprised how smoothly packing and unpacking goes. You may even accomplish the near impossible feat of unpacking your house in one day. Think of all the sanity that less boxes could save, and use that to fuel your de-clutter session!Subscribe to Military Spouse's Weekly Newsletter