Today I am so thankful for family and friends.  I am thankful for good health, the health of my loved ones and the gift that I am not among the many hungry or homeless in our country, but instead at a time in my life that I can make donations that can help in some very small way.  I hope you are thankful as well, today and every day.  Happy Thanksgiving.  

It is also a good time to take fifteen minutes to organize a small piece of your home.  How about purging all those magazines over 3 months old?
The artwork coming home with your child after school can really build up. When a new piece comes home, how about recycling the old.  Maybe use it as wrapping paper for a gift to Grandma.  This way the freshest piece of work is always the one to display!
As we all know, stuff can easily fill up the kids’ rooms. As the parents of the little ones we must do a weekly sweep and pull out any items that kids don’t love or use often. If you have to ask yourself when they last played with a toy, it’s time to send that toy to a new home.As they get older, involve her/him more in the process.  Eventually she/he will need to take this job over as one of the weekly chores.  (You may need to double check after they claim they are "all done."  :)

These are ideas that come from a Montessori classroom. Everything is accessible to the child, and everything has a home. Toys are kept to a minimum, but all of the toys are high quality and can withstand constant use. Your child will need to be able to pull out his puzzles from the shelf but then can easily put them away when he’s done. This is the goal: to make the kids self-sufficient and able to keep up with the system.
One of the hardest areas most of my clients find is paperwork. Among that paperwork are your instructions to tell survivors what to do in the event of your death. A lot of us don't like facing that reality, but it's truly a gift to leave this information for your loved ones to help them in their time of grief. 

Be sure to include amongst your paperwork for the survivors:

  • location of your safe deposit box and the key
  • location of your will and estate planning documents. A copy of your will should be outside of your safe deposit box and easy to access. 
  • where to get your medical coverage information and policies
  • Social Security or veterans administration records to identify those for their ease of potential benefits
  • Life insurance policies are certainly very important.  State where these are stored and what steps should be taken to collect the funds. 
  • title documents and other records relating to your assets such as deeds, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, deposits, retirement plans and vehicle titles should all be easily accessible.
  • list of debt such as your home mortgage your car loans should be available and up-to-date. 
  • Names and contact info of any of your professional advisors including your lawyer
  •  If you operate a business a list of your key employees.

This is important.  Schedule a time on your calendar NOW to get this reviewed.  
People love to come up with excuses for having clutter.  Those can be anything from "I might need it one day!" or " I don't want to hurt his feelings or seem ungrateful since this was a gift."

Here is the reality:  If it is something you haven't used in the past, it is likely you won't need it in the future.  What is the very worst thing that can happen if you give it away or ditch it?  Weigh that against the fact that in that place you get more space for things you need, love and are keeping.  A gift?  It's doing no one any good in the back of your closet taking up space.  Maybe someone else can use it, and wouldn't that make you feel good, in addition to getting some extra space back!

How about the excuse "But it was free."  Free is my favorite word, but a long time ago when I was in my 20s waiting in line at the drug store to get my free Polident Denture Cleaner (for which I had ZERO need) I realized I had gone a bit too far.  Now I get only free things that I can use, or donate to someone that can!  If you have some free stuff you aren't using get it out of the house NOW.  

"But it was expensive!"  If you don't absolutely love it or use it then it really doesn't matter WHAT it cost, right?  But, I'll give you this... how about a consignment store, Craigslist or Ebay?  If it is worth that hassle, great.  If not, donate it.  Be realistic.  We always overestimate what someone else is going to pay.  And, if you donate it there is that wonderful receipt for your tax returns next April.

If it has too many memories, try taking a photo and keeping theses digital pictures in a folder when you can keep those memories, but not the clutter.  

Give it a try.  The calm you create with less clutter is so freeing!