Friday, November 18, 2011

Prevent Holiday Clutter with a Simple Solution

As we all get ready for the holidays and particularly holiday gift-giving, it's a great time to remind ourselves of one of the cardinal rules of staying organized: the one-in-one-out rule. It's as simple as it sounds - if you bring something new into your space, you must send something old on it's way. Most of us don't live with lots of extra storage space - empty drawers, shelves or closets. So the one-in-one-out rule is really the only way to keep our homes from becoming over-stuffed.
The problem is, it's easier said than done for most of us. The reasons for this are simple - often, we just don't take the time to take the step of finding something to donate. We may not even think about it, or we may think, "I'll do it later." And we all know how that ends. Or we may not realize the true impact of bringing new things into our home one at a time.

Is it okay to save up your donations for a couple time a year - making it more like 25 things in-25 things out? That depends. The answer might be yes if:
  • you have the room to take in the new things that inevitably make their way in while only purging a couple times a year and
  • you make sure to schedule some time to sort and purge your belonging a couple times a year.
Another option is to make a habit of doing a monthly donation drop off. You can keep a box or bag handy to deposit your donations throughout the month and then do one drop off a month at a local charity. This is a great way to make it possible to follow the one-in-one-out rule. Just be sure to schedule those regular drop offs so your donation box doesn't become part of the clutter!

The holidays are a great time to teach kids about the one-in-one-out rule. Kids often get many new toys and clothes at the holidays, which they are usually very excited about. Capture this excitement and teach kids about giving to less fortunate children by having them choose several things to donate before the new presents arrive. Remember, gently used or even un-used items are best for donation.

Whether you're a kid or a grown up kid with some new toys, don't let too much time pass before you find new homes for your new things. Finding an equal number of items to donate is the easiest way to make this happen. Last but not least, don't forget to take care of returns and exchanges as soon as possible so they don't linger and become clutter in your home and on your to-do list.

Bottom Line: Sticking to the one-in-one-out rule is an easy way to keep the fun of new holiday things from creating clutter, which you then have to resolve to get rid of in the new year!

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