Time to Declutter

By Cheryl Mattox Berry


At a recent gathering of friends, the conversation turned to clutter. You know the kind – clothes, junk mail, magazines, beauty products, you name it.

Go ahead and admit it. Stuff has piled up in your home, work space, car and everywhere. What better time to declutter than the start of a new year. Let’s do it!


How many times have you gone into your closet looking for something but couldn’t find it? That’s because there are too many pants, dresses, skirts and blouses jammed inside.

Go through your clothes and weed out the pieces that you haven’t worn in a year and those that don’t fit. (Yes, those clothes did shrink.) Donate the items. Don’t think about how much you paid for those designer outfits. They need to go. Someone will love them just as much as you did.

Get your children in the habit of cleaning out their drawers, closet and toy box. That was a ritual in my house twice a year. It teaches children the importance of being charitable and helps them keep their rooms neat.

As your children get older, you might consider gifts other than clothes. Griselda, one of my friends, gave her children – young adults – jewelry this Christmas. She wanted them to have something that wouldn’t go out of style and would be cherished for years to come.

Michele, another friend, gave her two daughters the gift of travel. However, one of them asked if she could get three pairs of red-bottoms instead. Oh well, Michele tried.


Enough with saving magazines. Do you ever go back and read the articles again? I pass them along or toss them after a couple of months. When we downsized, I was shocked to learn that my daughter had been hiding a truckload of magazines under the bed and in the back of her closet so that I wouldn’t get rid of them. She has her own apartment now and can keep those old magazines until the next millennium.

Beauty Products

Look under your sink and in the bathroom cabinet. It probably looks like a beauty supply store. If you haven’t used the cream, gel or lotion in six months, put it in the trash. Some products might be well beyond their expiration date and should be dumped.

Stores have promotions all the time, and it’s tempting to try something new. Instead of loading up on another product, use the one you have until it’s gone. Then, buy the new one. You’ll save money and space in your cabinet.


Look around your workplace. Is there something piling up on top of your desk or under it? Take a few minutes and deal with it. While we’re on the subject of purging, what about that storage unit? Shut it down and sell that stuff. Hopefully, you’ll recoup at least one year’s cost of renting the storage unit.

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