Cleaning Clutter-What to Keep for Your Kids?


Cleaning up the Clutter

When I give workshops, I am asked over and over again about what should be saved for children. If you don’t have children, you may be saving these things for friends or other family members. Many parents seem to think their children want what they have, so they hold on to many items otherwise known as clutter, for when these children will appreciate and want these things. Items can range from baby clothes to games to books to schoolwork to china to sterling silver and to tons of paperwork.

I have a client with whom I have been working, and her father, for whatever reason, saved all of his personal and business records. He had checks from 1949 and up to the day he died. He had his and his wife’s medical records from the 1960’s (his wife died before he did), 8 estates that he had settled, and business records back to the 1960’s (including his stationery and business cards – mind you, he had long retired). Regardless of his organizational system (everything was very organized and labeled), it has truly been a burden on his daughter.

Two 4-drawer file cabinets, one 2-drawer file cabinet, 2 desks, book shelves, and chairs had been used for all this paperwork. We are shredding and recycling, I would say, 98% of these records. My client wants to still go through everything to make sure there is nothing of value or money hidden away. We have talked about why her father would have saved all of this and cannot come to any conclusion.

Not only is there paperwork, but there are also items from grandparents and other relatives. Again, my client is going through all of this to figure out what she wants to keep and what she wants to donate or sell. In addition, since her brother does not live in the area, she has to go through all these things by herself and is saving some things for him to go through, including his own items.

If you are saving things for your children/friends/other family members, please ask them if they want anything. If they say no, then either sell, donate, recycle, shred, or trash. There is really no reason for you to hang on to these items, unless you really want them around. If they are packed away and not being used, and no one wants them, give them away now. There is no reason for you to keep them, and just think, someone else may really be able to appreciate them.

Also, keep on top of your paperwork. Shred or recycle old records. Settling an estate can take a lot of time. You can certainly speed up the process by getting rid of paperwork and any unused or unwanted items that are no longer needed.

This type of activity is not one of your more fun things to do, but it sure will save time and heartache in the future. The lesson my client learned from all of this to purge and continue to get rid of those things now that she no longer needs or wants. What are you going to do now with your unwanted and unnecessary items and paperwork?

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About Barbara Berman

Certified Professional Organizer ®, is the owner of BB’s Clutter Solutions. She decided to take what comes naturally to her, share these skills with those who want to become and stay organized, and founded her company in 2007. Her corporate background, which includes over 25 years of managing project teams, combined with her degree in social work from Syracuse University, led her to the world of professional organizing.  Barbara is an active member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and of her local NAPO chapter – Greater Philadelphia. She is also affiliated with the Institute for Challenging Disorganization.

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