Honest Labeling

L T-C column August 2018

It’s August and school is almost back in session.  After a summer spent ignoring it all, you’re ready to tackle the house, the garage, the storage units, and the basement. If just reading that makes you realize you’re overwhelmed, maybe it’s time to ease into the organizing mindset by grabbing a sharpie and some blank labels. And start making honest labels.

Take a look in the boxes and report what you see. “Wedding china I’ve never used but feel guilty getting rid of.” “Books I’ll never read.” “Silverware that won’t be used unless I move into Buckingham Palace.” “Dresses I haven’t worn in twenty years.” “Baby clothes nobody wants.” “Snowshoes we’ll never use.” “DVDs and videos we’ll never watch.” “Pretty notecards I’ll never send to anyone.” “Beautiful journals I’ll never write in.” “Financial statements I’ll never reconcile.” “Receipts I’ll never look at again.” “Old school papers I’ll ignore for another twenty years.” “Random trash I kept when I cleaned out my last car.” “Fabric I have never and never will make into anything.” “Toys my children loved thirty years ago.” “Unlabeled photos, duplicates included.” “Spice jars from my old apartment.”

I could go on. So much of what we store is left over from a previous life or being saved for an unspecified time in the future. Imagine if we just kept the things that matter to us right now. If we didn’t feel we had to hold onto proof of the hobbies and relationships we once had or save things in case we might possibly need them one day. Our houses would be joyfully fit for who we are right here and now. It’d be easy to find places for everything because there wouldn’t be so much stuff in the way.

Can you start today? Grab a box from the garage or under the bed. Open it up and think about what label you’d give it. If it turns out to be “Sweaters I adore but can’t fit in the dresser,” that gives you your next move. Head for the dresser and assess the sweater situation. If you can fit ten sweaters in there, select from all the sweaters you have, not just the ones that were already in there. And send the rest away. And if it’s “Ugly itchy sweaters from high school,” that makes it easy. You didn’t like them then, haven’t worn them since. It’s time to say goodbye.

Lucy Kelly is a professional organizer who shares decluttering tips on her blog, www.joyfulsurroundingsllc.com. Reach her at lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com.


© 2013 – 2018 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.

Joyful Surroundings LLC


Everything feels better with an organized home!

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