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And no, surprisingly enough, this is not about the number of board games and computer games and Playstation2 games that I have gotten rid of. I was thinking of it more from the movie War Games, only there's not actually going to be "global thermonuclear warfare" involved in this post. I hope.

Today's tip comes from a newsletter from Lisa Patriquin, and is offered to you with this identifying information, in accordance with her request:

Lisa Patriquin is the Director and Founder of Being Organized 101. As a Mindset Release Coach and Trained Professional Organizer, Lisa helps people through the emotional and practical process of downsizing a lifetime of possessions. Her e-zine is distributed to many subscribers. If you are ready to downsize your stuff to simplify your life, you can sign up for a free subscription and free "I'm Downsizing, Now What?" e-book at www.BeingOrganized101.ca.

Now, I haven't actually tried this, mostly because I haven't (yet) gotten to any items I am hanging onto without a good reason. But it seems like it would work for folks who have stuff they hold onto even though they don't use it anymore:

Do you have items in your closet, basement, garage, spare room, etc that you have had for years, never use and know you should get rid of them, but can’t take the next step and actually let the item go?

Here’s a quick and easy idea that might help you and it’s based on the wisdom of your current younger self.

Putting A Best Before Date On Your Stuff

1. Go through your house or even just a room or a closet and pick out all the things that fall into the category of “don’t use, but can’t let go of”.
2. Set up a box or more than likely several boxes to hold the items.
3. Put the items into the boxes. Depending on your situation, you can even sort them into separate boxes by type or final disposition.
4. When you are finished putting the things into the boxes, tape the box shut.
5. Get a great big black marker and write “IF NOT USED BY”.
6. Beside or underneath those words write a future date that you feel comfortable but at the same time isn’t years away. I suggest no more than one year.
7. Beside or underneath that write “TAKE TO”, followed by the name of the place or person that will receive the items. Note: if it is a person, make sure they are onboard with receiving the items first as you don’t want to add to their clutter.
8. If the box contains fragile or heavy items, be sure to write that on the box too.
9. If you feel it is important, write a high level list of what the box contains. For example, women’s fall/winter clothes. It’s enough to know generally what is inside the box but not too detailed so that it tempts you to open it later.
10. Make a commitment to yourself that you will not open the boxes once they are taped shut. FYI…..leaving the boxes open to get out of that commitment is only cheating yourself. Yes, a little tough love here.
11. Put the boxes in an area where you will not be tempted to look into them or to open them. Out of sight, out of mind and rarely missed.
12. Go to that date on your calendar and put a note to move the boxes to the “TAKE TO” place or places.
13. When the “TAKE TO” date arrives, take the boxes out of your home without opening them and take them to the place or person you put on the box. Do not tempt yourself by opening the boxes to peak at what is inside.
14. Give yourself a big hug for your commitment and to thank the wisdom of your younger self.

Here's an example: “If not used by July 1st, 2014 take to Good Will”.

You can find other helpful tips on Lisa's blog. And no, I don't know her, not even in the "we met online" sense. But I love her tips.


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