As most people and stores are gearing up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, I’d like to let you in on a different kind of shopping (and sneaky organizing).
This year, “shop your house” BEFORE you shop for the holidays.
We often use the idea of “shopping your house” for redesigns. We look for items that are laid aside or lightly used in one part of the house, and re-mix them to create entirely new rooms. It’s often magical, how something has new life when put to new use.
The other day, a fifty-something organizing client pulled a leather bomber jacket from her high-school days out of the closet. She was all set to make a stand about the jacket holding important memories, even though she hadn’t worn it in over a decade.
Then we talked about last winter. The upcoming winter. My friend who works resettling new immigrants to this country into their first American homes. The people in our community who would be blessed by a jacket just like the one she was holding.
I could honestly see her heart opening up, as she mentally gifted the jacket over a local church-based thrift shop. She dropped it in the donation bag, and didn’t mention it again all day, or ever.
People often ask me how to emotionally “unhook” from their possessions, so they can declutter. A key that turns the lock for many is admitting that their possessions are rotting in the back of their closets, in basements, and in bins, while someone else could be using those items.
So many baby clothes and infant-care items are stored away, and then eventually thrown away when they are rediscovered after the last baby graduates college and mom and dad are downsizing.
Brand new toys in packages, some even gift wrapped, hide out of sight for years, until the intended recipient is too old to enjoy them them.
I’ve seen packages of brand new socks and underwear, the elastic shot and sizes wrong for the owners, that could have helped homeless families when they were new.
Many closets are cleared out in the spring, their owners deciding to part with a few unused or outgrown coats only after some in our neighborhoods have endured the bitter cold of winter with coats that are too small or too lightweight.
Furniture, stored for adult children but getting moldy in the basement, could have been raising funds for new homes through the Habitat for Humanity ReStores, and gracing rooms of families with less means (or just looking for a bargain).
Books, which are the hardest to part with for so many people, become outdated and moldy, when they could be gracing the shelves of so many schools who need them, or being sold to raise funds for libraries.
If you are plagued by the twins demons of disgust for holiday consumerism and the desire to declutter, as so many people are, then one critical mental shift can work in your favor.
This season, “shop your house” to donate the items that once were useful or meaningful, but today are less so. Send those items to civic organizations, thrift stores, and even recycling centers, where they are experts at getting your formerly beloved items to a new home or purpose.
It’s often magical, how something has new life when put to new use.
Just like you weren’t personally involved in the design, manufacture, and distribution of most things until they came to be in your possession, you aren’t charged with being the overseer in the “resettlement” of those items to their new home. But you do have to release them from your home.
With this simple (but admittedly not always easy) mindset shift, you can “shop your home” for donations this holiday season.
If you can shift your thoughts from the decluttering/loss mindset to the shopping/gift-giving mindset, you’ll even benefit from the positive chemical high that scientists have shown occurs when we shop (part of why many of us over-buy).
When you organize and declutter before the holidays, you’ll be trading your twin demons of consumerism and clutter for the twin blessings of more space and quite possibly a tax deduction.
Will this idea of “shopping your house” help you organize and declutter more effectively before the holidays?