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Put Unwanted Stuff in a Box With an Expiration Date

Photo by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/betsssssy/">Betsssssy</a>/Flickr/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">Creative Commons</a>
Photo by Betsssssy/Flickr/Creative Commons

If your house sometimes feels like an episode of Hoarders, here's a trick to help you move past the anxiety of getting rid of stuff you feel you might "need" again later: just put an expiration date on them.

Oftentimes, people declutter the house by putting their stuff into piles: yes, no, and maybe some day. That "maybe some day" pile usually becomes a yes when we find ourselves unwilling to get rid of something for a myriad of reasons: the kids might start asking about it, we've outgrown it but it still has sentimental value, we never use it anymore but we might start using it again as soon as we give it away. Maybe we think we'll end up fixing/painting/refinishing it when we have free time again, but let's be honest, any free time we've had in the last five years was spent on the beach with a beer, not in a garage with a toolbox.

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For things you're not yet ready to part with, pack them into a box, seal it off, and mark it with an end date, anywhere from six months to one year from now. Stash the box in your attic or garage and then simply forget about it. Make this a regular habit so that come every New Year or every spring, whenever you start purging, you'll remember to check it and clean house.

If by that date the box remains unopened and you've truly forgotten what was in there, it's safe to say you never needed the stuff at all — and you can send it off to the local donation center, guilt-free. (Do not, by any means, open the box to find out what you packed in it! The trip down memory lane may make you too nostalgic to give anything away.)

Want more tips for organizing? Start from square one by decluttering like you're moving out, and asking yourself, would you wear that outfit now?

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