Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The 3 Best Organizing Tips~EVER!

                                                                   image from here

Three amazing people taught me three amazing things about organization.  They are tips that I try to live by.

1.  Don't be afraid to throw it away
Long ago, a friend told me that she is not afraid to throw away bad photographs.  She said, if I don't look good, or my kids don't look good, or it's simply not one of our best photographs, I throw it away."
I believe that most of us have way too many photos.   Back before we became digital, most of us printed tons of pictures because we couldn't delete them in the camera before processing the whole roll.   Many of those photos are simply not that good (I think that we have all learned a lot about taking good photos over the years.)  And seriously, how many baby pictures do we really need?  I try to keep the very best and most meaningful  ones to pass down to my children.

2.  Be careful what you save
Another friend shared her discouragement over her "pack rat" mom.  She said, "My mom saved just about everything that I ever did...artwork, school work, etc.  One day she unloaded several large Rubbermaid containers on me that were filled with all my stuff.   I thought, 'Mom, this many containers? Really?...  Why not just ONE!~I don't want all that stuff, and I don't have room for it!"
A lot of the mementos that we save for our children are more meaningful to us as their parents, than they will be to our children.  I don't have too many mementos  from my parents, and their parents, but what I have is ENOUGH!  Our kids will continue to inherit all of these things, so I say we do them a favor and only save that which is the most meaningful.  Yes, I throw art work and school papers away all the time.  And the more I throw away, the less money I have to spend on storage containers and find storage space for my stuff!

3. You can't take a U-Haul with you to the pearly gates
While I was driving across country with my dad a few years ago he said, "Robyn, there are very few things that we really need in life."  I think of his words often as I am decluttering and organizing my home.  Sometimes I think it would be nice to only have a roof over my head and the necessities of life.  All of the clutter makes my life more complicated~yet it is so easy accumulated!  He also told me that every time we buy something, we should really get rid of something.  My most satisfying day of the week is when the trash collectors come!  It feels so liberating to get rid of things.

I have had friends invite me over to help them get up the courage to get rid of things~sometimes it takes a friend who sees things as they really are.  (especially that dusty dried flower bouquet from a friend's wedding.)  Unless it is really sentimental, I'm not afraid to throw away or donate gifts from family or friends if I don't really like it.  It's helpful to ask ourselves this question, "If it's not my taste or I won't ever use it or wear it, why am I keeping it?)   At my wedding reception years ago we had silk ivy topiaries as centerpieces on the tables.  At the end of the reception, my mom gave them away.  Not too long ago, I saw one sitting in storage in a relatives house and I said, "What are you still doing with that?  I threw mine away long ago!"

 I believe in surrounding yourself with only those things that you truly love.     ;)


  1. The title of your post drew me in! I love organizing...

    One way I alleviated the guilt I felt when throwing away my children's artwork was to hang up a bunch and take a photo with my child in front of all his/her creations. Or for that special project just a photo of the child with the piece of art or craft project. Those large sized papers and multi-dimensial projects just collect too much dust and space.

    Although, I do still have a turkey made out of a grocery bag that continues to sit in the dark, dusty corner of my holiday decoration closet that I can't seem to bear pitching out...Sigh..

  2. Whenever I have guilt, I remind myself how often I go back and look at old things (like report cards or birthday cards) - NEVER!

  3. Laurel, it's funny you should say that, because I was going to ask if anybody saves report cards! I have been, but lately I'm wondering if I should get rid of them! Also, I do the same thing, I think about how often I look back at my old things to help me determine what to save and what not to.


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