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Honest labeling

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the clutter, consider easing into the organizing mindset by grabbing a sharpie and some blank labels. Take a look in the boxes and start making honest labels.

“Wedding china I’ve never used but feel guilty getting rid of.”

“Silverware that won’t be used unless I move into Buckingham Palace.”

“Dresses I haven’t worn in twenty years.”

“Torn, stained baby clothes nobody will ever 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, you haven’t worn them since. It’s time to say goodbye.

READ MORE >>> How to stop organizing overwhelm

by Lucy Kelly


  1. Your posts really encourage me to declutter. Getting there slowly, habits of a life-time spent hoarding can’t be easily changed! What certainly helps is your light-hearted and humorous writing. So, a big thank you!

  2. I love this! I’m all about the labels and the honesty with my clients, but I like the way you framed it, “…consider easing into the organizing mindset by….” And right now I’m thinking of some of MY boxes: “Supplies for crafts I will never make again”….”Books I keep thinking I’ll donate”….etc. I usually do, eventually, and by then willingly, get rid of things when it turns out I need the space for something else more currently important. But I could stand to free up some space for space’s sake, too.

    1. Books are my nemesis, I can’t tell you how often I vow to ruthlessly weed out the “to read” pile and then get seduced into thinking yet again what great choices they are. Surely this time I’ll read those books!