Decluttering Treasures Week 4: Boxed Treasures

October 2015 Live Decluttering Challenge Game

Wow, here we are at the end of our decluttering. Just one more task to go. This week, you might need a dustmask, some work gloves, maybe a flashlight, and definitely willpower. We are hunting treasures in deep storage.

Partners, be prepared for another trip down memory lane. Ask cogent questions like, “Have you opened that box since you moved into this place 18 years ago?” Offer help like “Let me just carry that to the dumpster for you now.” You’ve been doing great at keeping things moving for the past few weeks. Keep your partner on task and before you know it, you’ll be able to go out for a beer or iced chai to celebrate.

Review Your Notes and Make a Plan

In Week 1, you made sure you knew all your storage areas and secret hiding places for boxes and bins of treasures. You also took note of anything memorable that you had put away. Check over these notes now, and add any additional things that you may have remembered.

Get ready to dig into these storage areas now. If you have a lot of them, this may take a few days. If you only have a few boxes put away in the hall closet, you can finish in an afternoon. regardless, this is the home stretch in our challenge.

Getting Into It

Unlike the past few weeks where we’ve sorted through treasures and categorised them as trash, heirlooms, memories and so on, we are starting this week with the assumption that almost all the treasures you have in storage are trash – or at least unwelcome in your home.

Now that may be a bit harsh and heartless, but if you loved the contents of these boxes wouldn’t you be using them or displaying them in your house?

Old, Older, Oldest

Begin in the darkest corners with the boxes that you haven’t seen in years. You might be able to cut your time significantly by not even opening them. Here are your questions:

  1. Do you know what is in this box?
  2. Do you you suspect there is something of value inside?
  3. Do you have a reason for hanging on to it longer?

Three negative answers and the box can go to the curb without being opened. Hooray!

If you answer yes to any of the questions, then you have to open the box and peek inside. Extract the object you remember and want to keep, look for valuables, and otherwise sort into the usual categories:

  • Rubbish
  • Heirlooms
  • Personal Memories
  • Historical Significance
  • Everything Else

Contemporary Treasures

Now examine the more recent boxes. Pull out the special things you wish to keep – those objects you noted during week 1. These things are going back into rotation in your life, in one way or another as we discussed last week.

Categorise the other items. It’s getting easier and faster now, isn’t it?

Be brave, be bold and let go of these treasures. Take photos for your memory album. Prepare to auction, give away or garage sale the things that aren’t rubbish.

Seasonal Treasures

When’s the last time you sorted through your holiday decorations? They can be a minefield of memories. Your daughter’s construction paper mitten from kindergarten that got bent and crushed in the box. The knitted snowflake that’s lost all its lustre. An antique Valentine heart that cracked the year your ex left. Some of these are candidates for removal. Other things should certainly be preserved. Use the categories to decide.

Getting Rid of the Unwanted

Be careful not to let your discards go back into storage. Get them out of the house as soon as you can.

The final step this week is to prepare Everything Else for removal. You’re planning a garage sale and you’ve got some things up for auction. The thrift store is loving you. Your friends are relatives are bemused by your gifts, but grateful. Keep up the momentum and say your final goodbyes to all of the unwanted treasures.

Congratulations to You and your Partner!

It’s been a long month (or maybe longer) and you’ve both put effort into one another’s decluttering experience. I hope you are satisfied and happy to have completed this daunting task. Maybe you are feeling emotionally lighter, perhaps your pockets are bulging with the proceeds of your auction and garage sale. Either way, you deserve a big pat on the back for a job well done.

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