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I know I have too much stuff, but it all has sentimental value. Morgenstern recommends us- ing tools to manage memories, such as photographing an object that represents a person, and then using that photo as a contact icon on your phone. She suggests considering, “Is this the best representation of that person or time of my life, or just another example?”

I might need this someday.

Tako encourages people to enlist a clut- ter buddy, “an objective set of eyes who will set you straight when you hold up a skirt that’s out of style.” Morgenstern suggests asking, “What is more impor- tant to me… this object I don’t have any immediate need for or the space I’ll have by getting rid of it?”

ter now. Morgenstern acknowledges most people are “time-starved”, and cleaning out their closets is the last thing they want to do with precious

I don’t have time to declut-

free time. Yet clutter costs us time and money because, “You end up losing things, wasting valuable real estate and replacing things you forgot you had,” she notes. It also hinders our ability to focus and process information, because visual clutter divides and competes for a person’s limited attention span, ac- cording to a recent study by the Princ- eton University Neuroscience Institute. For more motivation, imagine the joy of finding buried treasure. Morgenstern reports that nearly all of her clients find some form of funds, whether uncashed checks, objects with resale value or cash.

ago and now they’re back. Los Angeles organizer and blogger John Trosko encourages people to be upfront with loved ones about holidays and special occasions, asking that they cur- tail gifts and instead give non-tangible forget-me-nots like gift certificates or favorite services. Trosko also suggests making a list before shopping and steer-

I sorted piles a few months

ing clear of megastores to keep impulse spending in check. Tako and Trosko both discourage

purchasing “unitaskers” such as a salad spinner that takes up significant space but rarely get used. Another good rule of thumb is, “one in, one out,” discard- ing something every time we purchase a new item. Even armed with the best declut- tering tips, the process can seem daunt- ing. Morgenstern encourages us to suspend self-judgment while weeding through possessions and keep remem- bering our higher goals. “Your stuff is a reflection of who you are and what you aspire to,” she notes. “It’s a challenge to get it all in alignment, but an incredible opportunity, too.”

To find a nearby professional organizer, contact the National Association of Professional Organizers at

Connect with freelance writer April Thompson at

Find Good Homes for Clutter Y

ou’ve done the hard work of decluttering. Now what? In the past, options were limited to a

garage sale or local landfill. Today, we have countless ways to give new life to old things, whether selling them online, donating to charities for a tax deduction, supplying needed materi- als to schools or returning items to the manufacturers for recycling. Here are some more ideas.

Books: Consider joining the free Each book mailed between members earns a credit redeemable for other books posted on the site. Or, donate books at to help fund world literacy.

Clothing: Tried-and-true organiza- tions like The Salvation Army, Planet Aid and Dress for Success always wel- come clothing donations, while public and private clothes swaps present a fun, social way to thin out closets and

26 Northern & Central New Mexico

zip code to find local retailers that e- cycle. Sell working electronics through or Even small items like old phone chargers often sell easily online.

acquire some signature pieces. Attend- ees bring a minimum number of items that are arranged by organizers by type and size. Then, when the signal is given, participants excitedly rush to try on new-to-them pieces that catch their eye. lists local commu- nity swaps; make it a party theme and invite friends.

Electronics: Most communities hold spring e-waste drives to collect old electronics for responsible disposal and sponsor year-round drop-off sites. Oth- erwise, search by

Eyeglasses: Millions of pairs of eyeglasses are discarded annually while millions of people in develop- ing countries need vision correction. Donate old prescription or out-of- style specs to a nonprofit like One Sight ( or New Eyes ( that will refurbish and send them to healthcare missions around the world.

Odds and Ends: What about that never-used yogurt maker or crimping iron? Local chapters of The Freecycle Network ( participat- ing in this 9-million-member virtual community facilitate posting any item, large or small, to give away to neigh- boring members that agree to pick it up at the donor’s door.

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