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NAPO - National Association of Professional Organizers

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Where Oh Where Do I Put It?

Guest blogger on Michele Heine's How to Maximize Money for your Stuff, 1/11/11
Dorothy Madden

The holidays have come and gone and you’re left staring at and stumbling over the abundance left behind!  Oh my, what to do with it all?  Where does it go?  How can we make space for it?  Do we really want it all?  Do we really need it all?

There are some choices and decisions to make.  The first step is to decide if you really want to keep the items and, if so, decide where to put them.  Evaluate each item individually.  Remember they were gifts to you and you don’t necessarily have to keep what someone else thought would be “the perfect gift” for you.

Most likely you want to keep most of your new gifts.  The challenge is then deciding where they go and making room for them.  If your game shelf is overflowing and you want to make room for new ones, seize this moment to sort through the old games (missing parts, children have outgrown them, no longer popular) to make room for the new ones.  Give yourself permission to donate the usable games and recycle or toss the others.

Try assigning a number to how many of each item you want/need in your life.  Ask yourself how many games will your family realistically play this coming year?  Is it 5 or 10 or 30?  Once you select a realistic number, keep only that many.  How many turtlenecks will you realistically use?  Is it 5, 10, 15, 20?  If you do laundry weekly, you can get away with fewer rather than more.  Keep a realistic and manageable quantity.

Try the “One IN and One OUT” technique.  If you have too many toys, games, electronics, t-shirts, sweaters, shoes, etc., keep the new and toss some of the old.  When you keep five new toys, five old toys are discarded.  When you keep a new computer, an old one is donated.  In a quantifiable way, this method keeps balance with your belongings and space.

Most of all, throughout the year, be aware and selective about what comes in the door.  Think twice (or three times!) before purchasing something and know in your mind where you will put it, what you will eliminate to make room for it, and how much you will use it.  By doing this, you will make room for the important things you wish to keep and use in your space and in your life.