Let’s talk about how to Clear the Clutter in your Attic and Garage. Tips and Suggestions that helped us remove over 1,000 lbs of stuff from our home.
This is the 4th installment of my plan to clear the clutter and I am thrilled with the amount of stuff we have removed from our home. I am also glad to have found several items that I thought were lost or had forgotten that I even owned! (That’s a bad sign!) In addition to just ‘getting rid of stuff’, it was good to take a bit of inventory to see what we actually own.
If you’re just arriving here, make sure you skip back a few weeks to see what we accomplished the first 3 weeks.
As I’ve said before, my home is blessed with ample storage…which makes it way too easy for things to come into our home and be hidden away, without causing any noticeable clutter.
And I know that there are many minimalist moms out there who have managed to raise children without all the accouterments that typically accompany children, but I wasn’t one of those moms. I honestly feel that we fell midway on the spectrum between minimalist parents and over-indulgent parents, but in any event, our kids had STUFF. Now that my babies are 16 and 19, it’s a logical time for much of this stuff to find new homes.
Here are some of my observations I have made during this Unclutter Boot Camp:
I donated/tossed so many things that I bought for stocking stuffers or Christmas presents because I just ‘needed a few more things’ to put in their stockings or a little something under the tree.
I tossed or donated so many good intentions…the craft I was going to do, the deck of dinner time ‘conversation cards’, the memory journal for mothers/daughters, the ‘self-help’ or parenting book that was going to make everything so easy.
I tossed/donated clothing items that I knew I really didn’t love when I bought them.
When in doubt, I asked myself if I needed to, would I want to pay to store the item in question?
There’s a moral for me in my observations that I really need to be much more conscious of what I want to purchase, even if I have the greatest of plans.
So, let’s buckle down and clear the clutter in the garage and attic this week. Grab your unclutter ‘kit’ and let’s get going. For each area:
Bring a bag/box for TRASH, for DONATE, for RECYCLE, for RELOCATE and, if you really need it, for STORAGE.
See here for a list of places to donate your gently used items or recycle other items.
Bring a dustbuster or vacuum, rags, and cleaning solution.
Put on your favorite Pandora station, CD or radio station.
If it motivates you, take note of what you toss and the weight of all the stuff leaving your home. My home is already breathing easier with some of the weight lifted.
You can deduct the clothes you donate on your taxes. The discard list can also help to keep track of that. Just estimate the values of the items as you go along.
Clear the Clutter in the Attic:
So, it just so happened that I worked in the attic and garage while Terry was out of town and during the coldest week we’ve had since last winter, which also happened to be during winter storm ‘Jonas’…just the way I do things around here. While we didn’t get the snow and ice, it was still bitterly cold and wet, especially when working in unheated areas.
But I’m not making excuses…in fact, the chill made me move quickly and determined to spend as little time as possible pondering the fates of ‘stuff’. My quick and efficient unclutter led me to clear the clutter weighing 315 pounds from my attic.
Stuff that can’t be recycled or donated. Don’t know if you can see that big ‘bat’ that is hanging in the rafters in the before picture, but the summer heat took a toll on this great Halloween decoration and literally melted his face.
The trash that ultimately accumulates in your attic.
Cardboard boxes that you don’t need or that are damaged. So, do you keep a stash of boxes in your attic for shipping or gift-giving? There are just some things that I won’t buy and boxes and mailing envelopes are two of them. The downside of my being thrifty and eco-conscious is that I end up with a large stash of boxes and mailing envelopes. I went through all my gift boxes and made sure that they all had lids and recycled those that didn’t. I also just kept the sturdiest of boxes and recycled all the rest. I think my trash guys will be as thrilled as I am to be done with this unclutter! We had also held on to the boxes that several of our kitchen appliances and electronics came in. I guess that there is some logic to holding on to them until you’re sure that they work. But I trashed all the ones we’ve had for a year or two since the store return period has expired.
We all have ( I’m assuming) a stash of those plastic boxes you get from the dollar store, Walmart or Target. They definitely come in handy, so it’s good to have a modest stash somewhere. However, over time boxes crack and lids get lost. This was the stash of boxes and lids that I couldn’t match up with their mate and so made their way to our recycling bin.
I found more art supplies in our attic if that’s at all possible. I had the ‘How to Draw Horses’ book that I was given when I was 10 years old, as well as some oil pastels that I was shocked hadn’t melted along with the bat’s face.
I also found another big plastic bin that held the majority of the books we read to our children when they were younger. I went through the box and kept some of our family favorites in case our children wanted to pass them on to their children someday. But, I pulled many and have started a box to go to our local Community in Schools affiliate. I’m happy that these books and art supplies, in addition to some of the toys and games we took from my son’s room, will be going somewhere where they can hopefully provide some enrichment.
Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity ReStore were the big beneficiaries of bedding for bed sizes we no longer have.
I won’t get on my soapbox here, but our society does seem to be a tad excessive with the giving of trophies. The good news is that you can donate these trophies back to your local trophy store who will keep them until needed by a charitable organization and, in most cases, do the inscribing for free.
The lava lamp and glam pants that belonged to mom when she lived in Hawaii in the 70’s. I’ve been holding on to them for the 70’s party that I was certain was imminent. C’est la vie…when I decide to have the 70’s party I’ll head to Goodwill and buy them back…at least the proceeds go to a good cause.
Clear the Clutter in the Garage:
Our garage is not huge and does not have a ton of storage space, so there’s not a whole lot in there. I did gather some old paint cans and beach toys that have been outgrown to send on their merry way.
Most city and county recycling departments have programs to recycle paint, fertilizer and other chemicals. Contact them to find when and where to donate them.
Scrap wood, tiles, brick are welcome at your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Toys that have been outgrown.
Anything you think can’t be donated or recycled.
Well, Unclutter-ing friends, we’re closing in on it. Stay motivated and finish out these last two areas. You will feel so good when it’s done.
I know that there are still a few more areas in my home that need my attention, but I can easily get to them in the next week. I didn’t get to the junk drawer in my kitchen, I just completely overlooked it. And our basement, which doesn’t have much in it, needs a wee bit of unclutter-ing as well. But I can honestly say that I’ve touched 90% of the items in our home and emptied it of so much stuff.
Here’s the final weight tally of item removed from our home:
How was your month of decluttering? Do you feel better with your home a good bit lighter? It’s a good feeling, isn’t it?
Thanks so much for joining me this past month…made it more fun with friends. Like I said, this was a worthwhile venture, but also one that I’m not eager to repeat on a regular basis. I have vowed to myself to be more disciplined about what is brought into our home, thereby reducing the need to take stuff out.
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