By Margaret Houben
January is a month when people think about resolutions.
* This year I will do that project.
* This year I’m going to fix all those things that have been waiting to be fixed.
* This year I will go on that trip.
One of the things I keep wanting to do, but never seem to get to, is to declutter my house. Granted, only a third of the stuff in my house is actually mine to declutter (I live with two of my brothers), but still, if you come from a family of pack-rats like I do, then you’ll know how hard it is to actually get rid of things.
Sometimes, the hardest part is deciding where to start.
First, get ready
I would recommend getting a few boxes or bags ready. One box to go to your local thrift store. In this one you will put those clean, unbroken items that you decide you no longer want. Two bags, one for actual garbage for stuff that can’t really be recycled or that your local eco-depot won’t accept, and one for recycling.
Put these just outside the door of the room where you’re going to start. That way, when you place items into any of these boxes and bags, they are immediately out of the room. If the box gets full, immediately take it out to the car and get a fresh box. If a bag gets full, tie it shut and take it out to the garage or wherever you put stuff waiting for garbage pick-up.
Next, the decluttering phase
There are several points to consider when decluttering, and it partly depends on what types of items you are dealing with.
Clothing: If it doesn’t fit, or you haven’t worn it in over a year, get rid of it. Into the thrift box if nothing is wrong with the item, or into the garbage (or recycling if possible) if the item is damaged or needs mending. This being said – if an item has sentimental value, keep it of course. For instance, I have a hat my mom made that I almost never wear, but I keep it because it reminds me of her.
Books: If you don’t plan on ever reading it again – thrift it. If you have three copies of the same story, keep one and thrift the other two. If the book is damaged or has missing pages – recycle it.
Toys, games and puzzles: If you don’t plan on using or playing with them, thrift them, or put them in a box to give to your grandchildren, nieces or nephews.
Crafting items and supplies: Are you really going to start knitting again? Quilting? Making pots? Painting? If you intend to work on your craft, then by all means keep the stuff. But if you really don’t plan on it, thrift it or give it to a local group that can use it. Quilting fabric and patterns can be passed on to the local quilters group. Or you can box the items and bring them to the next Cashless Craft Swap.
Last January, while under quarantine because of COVID-19, I took on our kitchen as a project. I rearranged several of the cupboards, managed to get almost all of my cookbooks into the kitchen, and even got my spice rack up that I’d been wanting to do for ages.
This year, I think I’ll tackle my bedroom upstairs, where I have a lot of my crafting stuff, plus a whole whack of clothing that I haven’t worn in a coon’s age. I have a desk in there somewhere (buried at the moment) where I could do some of my crafting if I could get to it. And a lot more of my books could be brought upstairs if I got rid of some of the rubble that is in the cupboards.
What room in your home will you be tackling?
If you do take on some decluttering, and end up with some crafty stuff you no longer want, bring it to the next Cashless Craft Swap. The upcoming Swap will be taking place on Jan. 24, from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Barriere Lion’s Hall (corner of Borthwick Avenue and Lilley Road). We welcome any and all types of crafting supplies. This is a truly ‘cashless’ event – no money changes hands. Bring the items you don’t want (wool, cookbooks, patterns, painting supplies, stickers, rubber stamps, etc.), and pick up the items you can use for the crafts you are working on. Most importantly – you don’t have to bring something to take something – although it is a lot more fun for all if you can.
If you would like more information about the upcoming Cashless Craft Swap in Barriere, please call Margaret Houben at 250-672-9330.
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