This is the Nano age; the age of small cars, small families and small houses. This means many of us find it difficult to find space for new acquisitions. But instead of complaining there is no space for new clothes, books or groceries, create some space by taking stock of your possessions and discarding what you don’t need or use. Here’s a guide.
Once a year, empty your closet, see what is faded, torn or what you’ve outgrown and discard immediately. This holds true even for what we refer to as ‘home’ clothes.
Identify good clothes you haven’t worn for a long time or new clothes you haven’t worn at all, decide what to do with them and execute that decision. Besides giving discarded clothes to charities, explore the option of inviting friends over when you clean out your closet so they can choose something you don’t want / can’t fit into / don’t like, for themselves. That makes it more fun.
Many of us also have old-fashioned jackets and sweatshirts we’ve owned since college and hang on to for sentimental reasons. Unless you have ample storage space, it doesn’t make sense to hang on to them. The rule, says lifestyle management expert Dr Rachna Singh, should be: Discard if you haven’t worn in two years.
To avoid the pile of bills and mailers that you receive every month from building up to unmanageable levels, tackle them immediately. Don’t put them away in the hope you will attend to them later because that never happens. This will ensure they don’t collect, creating clutter. You will also never default on your payments this way.
After dealing with bills, file them for reference. While you will need to retain all property tax, electricity and water bills, discard mobile phone / broadband / cable bills after six months, says hygiene expert Saroj Pandey.
Take stock of edibles in your kitchen and fridge at least once a month, says Rachna. This is because we tend to keep foodstuff like sauces, masalas and even chocolates long after they have passed their expiry dates. Taking stock regularly helps create space in your kitchen and fridge. It will also help you identify groceries you need to buy or those that have gone bad.
Avoid stocking up grains and pulses to last you six months like our parents did. “We don’t live in times where groceries are difficult to get. At the most, your supplies should last one month,” says Saroj. This is because grains kept for too long tend to get infested and you’ll have to discard them anyway.
Every kitchen has the odd survivor from once-complete sets: a solitary plate, two cups, saucers without cups and assorted cutlery that’s been around from the time you got married. Some of us have utensils, others have piles of takeaway dabbas and empty glass bottles and others have fancy implements they just don’t use. This all adds up to clutter.
Saroj suggests that you take stock of what you have in your kitchen at least once a year to avoid this situation. “A small family that entertains once a week will need one good dinner and tea set and one or two sets for regular use. Give the rest away,” she says.
Things you may want to give away can include extra large bartans, old cutlery, old and mismatched glasses, plates, mugs and bowls. “If you don’t use them at all, give them to someone who needs them, like your maid or a charity,” says Saroj.
Don’t need it?
Donate it: Clothes, toys and books can be donated to charities or orphanages. While not all charities take old clothes, the NGO Goonj (www.goonj.
info) has an initiative called Vastradaan in which they collect old clothes for the poor.
Gift it: Often, you’ve been gifted something perfectly serviceable and valuable like a vase or painting or a showpiece that you have absolutely no place to display and / or aren’t particularly fond of. Re-gift it to someone who you think will
Sell it: Sites like www.ebay.in and www.craigslist.org are good places to sell things that you have no use for but are useful, like electronics, books, jewellery, CDs, toys, clothes, accessories.
What is clutter?
Lifestyle management expert Dr Rachna Singh says a broad definition would be things that have not been used for approximately two years. This means if you haven’t used aids like a vegetable cutter, roti maker or certain clothes or shoes for two years or more, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever use them. These are the things you must identify and get rid of.