Please Don’t Throw That Away: Organizing Your Home

Unrecognizable woman holds a box of gently used clothing during community clothing drive. She is donating or receiving the clothing.

I recently worked on a commercial move project where I had the pleasure of helping nearly 100 employees move from one location to another.  It was a joyful time for all, sarcastically speaking.

After three decades of being in one location, they learned they were downsizing when it comes to using and collecting paper.  The shocking look on people’s faces the moment they found out they could only bring one box and that all saved paper documents needed to be scanned and then shredded…it was a look of sheer terror.

Like most kids growing up, I had my favorite toys and my favorite clothes. I remember one day waking up thinking about my “collection” of Hot Wheels, hundreds of them, and realizing that not one of those precious items had made it to today’s time.  I spoke to Mom about that and asked her why we did not save everything we loved as children.  Her reply was “I saved some collectibles but in general, it was just not a thing for us to keep things after we used them.  Once we were done with it, we gave it away or we pitched it.”  Not even sad about it, I realized that this was just another lesson toward inadvertently training me to become the organized designer that I have become.  But, not all people have these feelings about their collectibles.

Every time I’m hired to do a complete home remodel or build a new home, it always comes down to moving day, or as I like to call it, “Purge Day”.  It’s the time when all should consider going through kept things and dispose of the ones that do not have sentimental value. Of course this leads to the question of what indicates sentimental?

What I’ve learned is that attachments to things can vary from wanting to keep clothing from a different era, simply because it may come back, all the way to keeping the most of important items, which could be inherited items from family members or close friends.  I can’t force people to get rid of things, but I can help walk them through the process of figuring out what is important to display and what should be put away into a paid storage.

When it comes to clothing kept from two or three decades ago, I typically have no agreement with keeping wearables unless the items are something designer with value and moreover, that you actually can wear it any given time. I personally purchase/keep items, such as belts, jackets, suits or shoes and items that are designer classics.  Not only do they appreciate in value, but I can also wear them and preserve and take care of them.  But the basics of clothing, such as clothing that I buy because of trends, these items are typically inexpensive and a two, maybe three season wear.  At that point, I have moved away from that trend and will purchase with a replacement trend.

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Trends do come and they go, but they always come back with a twist from its original design.  So, if you believe that the items that you are saving from 1980 will come back in trend to wear, more than likely you will only be able to wear it at specials occasions such as that 80’s party event that you were invited to and, if that is the case, these clothes should not be hanging in your closet but stored in a moth proof container in your storage area.

Getting rid of the coveted belted, floral pattern print dress, which is draped from a mound of shoulder pads from 1983 is usually easy to help a client move away from, however, where it gets sensitive is helping one get through the process of getting rid of some of the material items handed down to them from loved ones or friends.

I currently have a backgammon set displayed in my home that belonged to my Papaw Jeffers. He actually taught me how to play backgammon on that board and that will always be in my possession.  I also have a bag of costume jewelry that belonged to my Mamaw Theda and even though I may never wear it or use it, I have it properly stored for future visits to remind me of her and how much she loved these items.

I’ve chosen a few inherited items to stay in my possession that belonged to my deceased loved ones, and I have photos from friends who have passed.  It’s not my goal to tell people to get rid of everything of sentimental value but when it comes to pairing down your collectibles, find a few favorites that you love to display and the remaining should go to others who would love the opportunity to call their own.

As for kept clothing, keep the designer items that literally appreciate in value.  Go through the things you have, and if you’ve not worn an item in a year, put that item in a storage container for a year. After one year, open the container and see if these are items that you have missed and will wear again. If so, pull those items out and replace with items in your closet that you have not worn in the previous year.  If not, dispose of those clothes and add to the container the ones in your closet you have not worn.  If all of this seems like way too much trouble but you are running out of room in your closet, call me to come build you a bigger closet/storage area…I’m always available for that.

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