So, how do we decide what to keep and what to get rid of? I'll share with you some things I've learned.
- Anything you will be referencing frequently, punch 3 holes in it, and put it in a nice white binder and label the back.
- If you know you're not going to get to that "scrapbooking," change your thinking about it. Don't do anything fancy, just slip it in a page protector in a binder, or cut it out and use a glue stick to stick it to another paper, and then put it in a page protector in the binder.
- To get started, get a bunch of large envelopes or files labeled with the year and the person's name and stuff everything into those. Then once the papers are all organized, at your leisure you can scrapbook one year at a time. It really doesn't take that long. Trust me, your husbands haven't kept as much as mine has.
- If you don't want to look at it, and it's not a reference paper, and you still want to keep it, put it in The Box (see sentimental items).
- If you haven't worn it in the last year, scrap it.
- It doesn't matter if it's a "great shirt, I don't know why I don't wear it, I really should . . ." Think of how happy someone else will be when she gets that new, barely worn shirt and it'll no doubt be her new fav and she'll wear it every other day.
- If you want to keep it because it was expensive, scrap it anyway. Give it to a best friend. Let her scrap it and not tell you about it. It's not earning/saving you money sitting in your closet.
- If you don't want to scrap it because it's sentimental, keep reading for the "sentimental items" section.
- Get rid of clothes with holes or stains that won't be treated.
- (On clothes, Andrew's excuse for keeping a shirt he bought in Portugal that was "expensive" and "sentimental" was that Joe had a shirt he liked so well that he hung it up on their bedroom wall. I said I was sure Melissa didn't put it up in their apartment. Support?)
- We got this idea off unclutterer.com. Buy a box of pre-determined size for everyone in the family. Everyone can keep whatever they want, as long as it's in the box. That way you don't have to have a discussion together about every item, each individual can decide for him/herself if it's worthy of the box.
Uclutterer had some good questions you can ask yourself to see if you really need an object.
- Do I have something else like this that fulfills the same purpose?
- If this is a duplicate item, which of these items is in the best condition, of the best quality, and will last me the longest?
- Is this item in disrepair and need to be replaced or fixed?
- Does this item make my life easier/save me time/save me money/fulfill an essential need?
- Why does this object live in our house and is this the best place for this object?
- Do I need to do more research to know if this is the best object to fulfill its essential need?
- If this is a perishable item, has its expiration date passed?
- Does this item help me to develop the remarkable life that I want to live?
- Do I even like this thing?
- Is this item virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy?
- Does it help fulfill our family's mission/vision/values?