Do You Really Need It?

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter


Do you really need it?

Okay, let’s get real – I know the tendency right now is to hoard all that you have. I’ve struggled with it myself (hello panic shopping at Costco when they clearly said grocery stores are going to stay open!) but, there are some things that, regardless of how long this lasts, you just don’t need to keep around. So, what is my tip for the month with quarantining, social distancing and working from home looming over all of us?

Purge what you can

I understand there may be things you want to hang on to “just in case”. But stockpiling and adding to your clutter while you’re stuck at home isn’t going to help you feel better. If anything, being stuck in a home that’s full of clutter is going to make you feel even crazier! So look through your closet, the kitchen, your pantry, garage and other spaces and see if there are things that, now that we have survived the “what if” scenario, you ended up not really needing.

If It’s Missing… Get Rid of It

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I’m sure you read that title and thought, “Wait what? If it’s missing then how can I get rid of it?”.  The answer is in the “…”.  If it’s a puzzle missing a few pieces, get rid of it.  If it’s a game missing pieces, get rid of it.  If something is incomplete and you don’t use it BECAUSE it’s incomplete, why are you hanging on to it?  I realize there are heirlooms and other things passed down that you may want to hold on to, which is fine and totally understandable.  But if it’s a game or puzzle and it’s missing any part of it, clear it out of that space!

Several years ago my parents and I went through a period of time where we did a LOT of puzzles (rocking out to Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera because we’re super cool) and, as all puzzle aficionados know, when you finally finish a puzzle and discover pieces are missing… In that moment there’s nothing worse.  The elation you should have felt is gone because all you can see are the empty spots scattered around the puzzle.  And I’m not being dramatic.  Be honest, if you could choose between a puzzle that was complete or one that had “missing 3 pieces” written on the box, wouldn’t you go for the complete puzzle?!  Yes!  Of course you would!  So get rid of the incomplete one!

I have 7 nieces and nephews (and another one is on the way this month!) and if one of their games is missing pieces it’s not as much fun to play (again, personal experience talking here).  If you have children and can relate, then get rid of the game(s)!  If you don’t have children and can relate, then get rid of the game(s)!  If it’s one the kids (or you) love I’m sure you can find it again in a store or online.  Or you can hit up a much loved family member and they can search for a replacement, but there’s no reason to keep the incomplete game.

And don’t feel guilty about getting rid of either of these items!  Wouldn’t you rather see games and puzzles in your cupboard or closet that you actually want to use instead of a bunch of boxes that you never take out anymore?  Yes.  The answer is yes.  Every time.

Do you agree with this post?  Or do you like to hold on to favorite games and puzzles even if they’re missing pieces?  Let me know in the comments below!

Get Rid of This and Your Life Will Be So Much Easier!

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I know, I know, that title is a bit much, but honestly, it’s true!  And not just for this specific post but every “Purge” post I’ve written so far.  Getting rid of items that are just taking up space is sooooo freeing.  I have had many clients tell me “Wow! I feel so much lighter!” once a job is done and their clutter has been cut down.  It really does affect us physically and mentally!  Trust me!

So this week’s item is just as important to get rid of and I think most people will agree with me and most of those who do will probably need to follow this post’s suggestion.  Plastic containers (ie tupperware) –  lids without bottoms and bottoms without lids.  Why on earth do we keep these in our kitchens?  What’s the point?  They’re just taking up space and if they can’t even be used… why hold on to them?

Take a couple minutes (okay maybe more like 15) and pull out all of your plastic containers and lids.  Match each one together and if one doesn’t have a matching lid or bottom then toss it.  Obviously you can recycle/reuse certain containers (which I’m okay with), I just don’t want to see them get thrown back in with the rest of the sets, continuing to make your life just a little more frustrating than it needs to be. Whenever I organize a kitchen this is one of the steps I take and no one has ever told me later “Gee, I really miss those things.” Those lids and containers are impossible to miss, especially when you need to store some food and don’t have to dig to find matches. All you’ll end up saying is “Why did I hang on to those all this time?!”

Do you agree with this post?  Can I get an “amen”?!  Let me know in the comments below!

Small Items, Lots of Space

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When you look at your spices, do you see some and think, “How long has that been in here?” or “Where did that even come from?”  If you said yes to either of those questions, go get that spice (or those spices) right now and check 3 things:  First, is it still sealed?  Second, what’s the expiration date?  Third, is it a solid?  If it’s still sealed, take the challenge and figure out how to use it.  You may come up with an amazing new dish and a favorite new spice.  Win win!  But, if it’s past the expiration date or if all the individual little grains have become one solid mass then get rid of it.  Too often we buy a random spice because that one recipe we tried years ago called for it and we swore we’d use it again… and guess what, it never happened.  Don’t feel guilty about it, but don’t let it take up precious space either.  Spices are hard enough to keep organized without adding more that you never use.  So go check your spices and see which ones you can throw away.

Do you agree with this post?  Or do you have a tip to get some life back in old spices?  Let me know in the comments below!

A Guilt-Free “Purge” Item

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Nearly everybody loves to sit back on the couch, chill out and watch a movie.  But with Netflix, On Demand, Hulu, Amazon Prime and the rest of the streaming apps, DVDs aren’t nearly as important as they once were.  I’m not suggesting you get rid of your entire DVD collection, but I am going to suggest you go through your DVDs and see if there’s any you can get get rid of.  There’s probably several you don’t watch anymore, several you don’t like anymore, or there may be some you’ve never even watched.  So why not clear them from your space?  Why hold on to them, letting them take up space and add to your feelings of guilt for “all the stuff you own that you don’t need”?

Here’s some great alternatives to just throwing them away: donate them to a second hand shop, sell them on social media, offer them to your friends, or, if you’re a crafty type there’s a ton of different things you can do (click here to see 25 ways to recycle old DVDs and cds).

By doing this you’ll own DVDs you actually like and you won’t have feelings of guilt seeing all the ones you never watch anymore.

Do you like this idea? Or do you have another way to recycle old DVDs? Comment below and let me know!

An Item to Purge

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Here’s another item you can purge without feelings of guilt – random, mismatched bed linens that don’t belong to a set anymore.  Hear me out, piece-mealing a set together (fitted sheet, bed sheet and pillowcase) can work.  I’ve even done it.  But I know from going through my mom’s linen closet that there are many, many, many single pieces – fitted sheets, bed sheets, and pillow cases – that don’t match anything and usually get passed over when someone makes the bed because they don’t have matching counterparts.  Just get rid of those.

Or, maybe you do have matching sets but some of them are so threadbare no one uses them.  Or maybe you don’t even have a bed they fit anymore!  Why let them take up space in your home and in your head?  Seeing unused items in our homes creates stress and feelings of guilt because we know we’re not using them like we should.  SO GET RID OF THEM!  It’s really okay.

You don’t have to throw them away.  You can donate them to a second hand shop or an animal shelter,  you can cut them up to use as cleaning rags around the house and in the garage,  keep one or two in the trunk for random picnics or beach days…. there’s really a lot you can do with them, especially if you’re crafty.

So take a few minutes today to look through your linens and if you know there’s some to get rid of, take the step and do it.  You won’t miss them at all.

Do you like this tip? Disagree with it? Or have you used your old sheets in a different way? Let me know by commenting below!

Eating an Elephant Has Returned

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Hey everyone! Welcome back to you and welcome back to Eating an Elephant! After taking some time off to figure out what I wanted to do with the blog, and if I even wanted to keep it going, I’m finally back.  I love the idea of a weekly organizing tip, but there’s only so many tips and I was having a hard time coming up with more, even with guest posts thrown in the mix.

During my time off I would think about Eating an Elephant and wonder what to do with it, but no new idea came to me. I wasn’t worried though, because I knew when I needed it, it would come. And it did! My new idea still has the “organizing tip” element to it (because anything else wouldn’t make sense) but after all the jobs I’ve had I’ve come to learn organizing tips I love and organizing tips I don’t think really work, organizing tools I recommend all the time and organizing tools I try to turn people away from, household items I constantly tell people to get rid of and items I let people keep. And that’s what I want to share with you all. Each week I’ll either showcase an organizing tool I love, one I don’t like (or if I use it for a different purpose), something you can get rid of right away and then a guest post.

I’m excited for this new format because I’ll be able to really dig in to my personal organizing style and will end up learning a little bit more about myself as an organizer. I’m also really hoping for more interaction from you guys, my faithful, good-looking readers. If you have something you love or hate, or don’t agree with my thoughts on a tool or have recycled something I said to purge, I really want to hear about it! So prepare to be more interactive with the Eating an Elephant blog.  I don’t want you to just read it and delete it. At the most I’d love for you to act on the tip and at the very least I’d love you to respond in some way.

So there ya go.  Eating an Elephant has returned and, hopefully, is better than ever. I’m aware of the constant ebb and flow and changing tides of ideas so who knows if another revamp will come along.  For now, this is how it’s working.

And since this is the first week of the month, that means today’s tip is for purging! What do I think you should purge? Old towels.  If you have random towels that no longer have a matching set, or especially if they’re frayed and thin, get rid of them.  Chances are, even they are still getting used, they’re not really doing their job anymore.  Cut them up for rags or cleaning cloths, keep one or two in your trunk for an emergency or use them for wrapping delicate items stored in your attic or basement.  But there’s no need to hold on to them.

Agree? Disagree? Have another idea for recycling old towels? Comment below!


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