My next step is to go through closets and bookshelves. As my children get older they no longer need many clothing items or want to play the "little kid" games. The clothing I donate to Goodwill, and the games and toys become part of the "yard sale" pile. I have a toy box in my living room for my nephews when they come over, but aside from that it is time to liquidate the countless toys which have accumulated over the years. My son is 18 and my daughter almost 16 so it is definitely time to let go of many of the toys.
Books and movies usually are exempt from being tossed, no matter what age they are for. My goal is to one day have a home library (yes, a room full of books and comfy chairs to read in) and will keep books for all ages and interests. Movies will be a part of that library as well.
When it comes to deciding what to donate or sell, keep a few things in mind.
- When was the last time you used the item? The general rule is if it hasn't been used for six months, get rid of it. There are exceptions to the rule, such as seasonal items.
- Have your interests changed? For example - do you have a shelf full of fabric but don't sew anymore? Donate it to your local Quilt Guild and they will use it for quilts for local children's hospitals. A Guild in a neighboring town (Vermilion, AB) recently displayed quilts they made for the Stollery Children's Hospital at their Quilt show. I am a quilter, but will most definitely be donating part of my fabric stash to help support the cause.
- Have you lost/gained weight? Get rid of the clothes that no longer fit. If your weight changes in the future, go shopping. Do not keep your "skinny" or "fat" clothes as they just take up space in your closet in addition to frustrating you when you see them. As the years go on our bodies change; you may weigh the same as you did when you were in your early 20s but your body shape may be different. Work with your body, not against it.
- Do you have small appliances you never use? Perhaps an extra kettle or toaster? Donating such items to Women's Shelters helps those who may have to start a new life with nothing due to domestic issues. (Clothes, toys and other household items are always welcome donations for Women's Shelters.)
- Do you have room for all of your "stuff"? If you find you are needing to rent a storage bay or are considering buying a bigger shed, then it is time to go through your things and downsize. If you have children getting ready to set out on their own, perhaps boxing up some extra dishes, small appliances and quilts will help them adjust to their own place by having some of "home" go with them.