How To Keep Only What You Need

Stop being a pack rat and start throwing out - instead of saving - things you no longer use and clothes that no longer fit. Here's how to get rid of what you no longer need.

  1. Take one room at a time. Start with the easiest room, as this will take the fastest to clean out. Open the closet(s) and look through every bit of clothing. If you have not worn an item in over a year, place them in the "junk" pile on the floor. Items wearable and in style should be placed neatly on the bed. Do the same for shoes and junk stuff that you pile on the top shelf of the closet. Make sure you keep only what is needed, and not what you think you might need.
  2. Items that are in the junk pile should be put in one of two large plastic bags: give away and toss away. Stop worrying about if you might need in the future. Cleaning is getting rid of what you do not need. Keep only what you need now, today or this year. Do not worry about a few years from now.
  3. Do the same thing for drawers in each room. Make sure that you take one room at a time. Open each drawer and separate "junk" from "save." Junk means anything that you have never known what to do with, so you saved it just in case. Take all the "just in case" and go through them to make sure you really do not need them. Keep only what you need. Toss them into a garbage plastic bag with the rest of the garbage. Make sure you shred any junk papers that have personal information on them.
  4. Check out the kitchen drawers. More than one "junk drawer" is one too many. Kitchen drawers seem to be always cluttered with stuff you do not need. They become "just in case" drawers. Shred, tear and throw away anything that you no longer need. Keep only what you need now and do not worry about what you might need in the future. The idea is to get rid of what you do not need. Keep that in mind as you clean.
  5. Clean out the garage. This will probably take the longest, as it has the most junk in it. It seems that anything that you do not know what to do with, ends up in the garage. The junk clutters the floors and the shelves. The stuff you do not need is usually what falls and hits you on the head when you reach for something on a shelf. Instead of replacing it on the shelf, put it into the garbage as soon as it hits your head the first time.

Cleaning out junk you do not need is not easy for many. They feel a kinship with clothes or other junk. Another family member might have to get rid of it while they are gone - they might not even miss it. Keeping only what you need and throwing or giving away what you do not need is not easy for some pack rats. They might need help throwing stuff out.


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