Forbes recently published a fascinating article about the cost of your shopping habits, and more specifically, the ongoing weight of clutter on your personal spaces and budget. In fact, the Self Storage Association reports that “Americans spend $24 billion each year to store their stuff in 2.3 billion square feet of these units [storage units], an industry which has proven to be the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades. The Wall Street Journal calls the industry ‘recession resistant’.” That’s incredible! Here are a few tips to help lean out your home and keep the money where you want it:
1) Purge the old before you introduce the new. Avoid future pileups and the possibility of moving possessions to a storage unit by letting go of things you no longer need before you replace them with the things you do need. Life is always changing, and so are your needs. Spend 30 to 60-minutes each month searching for things you can release. You’ll enjoy the freedom, reclaimed space, and avoid a future ‘what do I do with all this stuff?!?’ moment.
2) Start small. Sure, you have too much stuff. And have no idea where to start. That’s OK. Choose a small space, such as a mudroom entry or the home office closet, and set the timer for 30-minutes. Next, start picking through your things, starting with things you can possibly donate or recycle. Stop when the timer dings, then resume the next day. This will keep you focused, on-track, and the stress at bay. Before you know it, you will have a renewed space with only the things you need or want. When you outgrow those items, repeat this process before accumulating more stuff!
3) Host a shopping exchange party. This can be a fun and convenient way to rid your home of things you no longer may need, while helping friends find things they may indeed need! Similar to a garage sale, but smaller and inside your home. Start with your clothing, and host a clothing exchange party. For everything your friends do not take, donate to a local charity. Got kitchen stuff from your cooking craze days? Host a culinary night where friends can shop you kitchen, and take home bulky mixers, toaster ovens, or other items you no longer use. A little wine, and creativity can go a long way with this idea. In a matter of hours, your spaces are cleared and you can feel good about the second life of your clothing or things.