One of my favorite organizing techniques is to force myself to use it or lose it.
Basically, to save money and gain space, you go through the things you own and make yourself use it up or get rid of it.
If you use it up, you save money by using what you have and not buying something new and you gain space. If you get rid of it, you gain space. And if you are able to get rid of it by selling it, then you gain money too!
For a lot of people, this is a great way to approach excess crafting supplies, like supplies for needle work, painting, stamping or scrap-booking. The beauty of making yourself use up your supplies, is that you save money by not buying something else to work on until your other supplies are used up. Often times, I find an abandoned project – or one I forgot to start – in my supplies. Consider what you may be able to make for gifts as you plan your project(s). Donating things you will not use gives you space for things you really will use.
Another black hole of forgotten wares is kitchen tools and appliances. You know it is true! Go through your drawers and cabinets and pull out anything you do not use on a regular basis. If you consistently use something (even if it is only once a year), then find an out of the way spot for it. For the rest, set the box in your kitchen and challenge yourself to use the items in the box within a month. If you use something and promptly remember why you never use it – get rid of it. If you use it and love it, find a spot for it that makes sense in your kitchen, so you will be able to put it use more often. Anything left in the box at the end of 1 month needs to go.
The “Use it or lose it” approach works well for your closet, too. You can save money by using what you have instead of buying new – or at least gain some space by getting rid of things that you just will not wear. Having lost a few sizes since July, I have become well practiced at this recently. I set aside an hour or so in the evening or in the morning when everyone is still asleep and try everything in question on. If it is too big – it goes. If I don’t love how it looks – it goes. If it is too small, I have a spot I keep the next size down to try again the next month. If you are not in the process of losing weight, then if it is too small – it should go.
Some people turn the hangers around on all their clothes. When you wear that item, turn the hanger around the right way. Anything not used at the end of season goes. Since I am going through things fairly quickly at the moment, I have a donate bag and a sell bag right in my closet. If I am not 100% sure about getting rid of something, I can leave it in the bag for a while, just in case. I have never pulled anything out to use, but sometimes it feels good to leave some cushion.
Since you are in your closet anyway, go through your accessories like shoes, scarves, purses and jewelry, too. Adding those back into your wardrobe can give you a fresh feel and weeding out what you don’t use will make it easier to access what you do use.
Use this technique on fishing gear, camping equipment, pet supplies or toys, kids’ toys – you name it! It is the best way to use what you already have and/or gain some much needed space while reducing your clutter.
Once you’ve started to use things up and move them out, learn where to get rid of your clutter.