I received the following comment from Coonie on Tuesday and since this is the theme for this week’s mini missions I thought I should slip in a post about it before the week is up.
Hello! “Tiny stuff de-cluttering” is just what I needed. I am very organized and reduce clutter all the time, but “tiny” things elude me! All my tiny things are labeled and in containers (lol) I would love it if you could focus on this a while…name all the tiny things and what do you ask/tell yourself to reduce “the stash.” Help me know how many is too many and why not keep and store them if I have the space? I think my view definitely comes from raised in scarcity—but things aren’t scarce now. Thanks for your blog.
Firstly Coonie, well done containerising and labelling your tiny things. Working in the thrift store we often receive donations of kids games many of which have all parts missing. These toys are next to useless to us in this condition. My kids toys never had parts missing because all the small pieces were kept in ziplock bags or plastic containers and the kids were taught to take care of them.
As for “why not keep and store them if I have the space?” I would suggest that if your tiny stuff is of no consequence to you clutter wise then leave it well enough alone. Personally though I find every inch of ground gamed from something that isn’t being used or is overstocked in my home is a small victory in the war on clutter. Back on May 21st last year I wrote a Simple Saturday post about my stationery drawer declutter which just goes to prove how little things can add up to a lot of wasted space. When writing that post I was attempting to reduce yet again the amount of stuff cluttering up my craft space. And now after several more sessions of removing tiny items, small items and some bigger stuff from that area I have managed to declutter two sets of plastic drawers which took up about five square feet of space.
Tiny stuff tends to come in four categories. 1. Stuff that your actually use but is a little overstocked and can be used up in a reasonable amount of time if you put your mind to it. For example travel size shampoo, motel soaps etc. 2. Stuff that is rarely used but so numerous that it would take years to use up. Like the hundred or more paperclips, thumb tacks and rubber bands I decluttered last year. 3. Items that grown in number due to replacing them because you couldn’t find them when you needed them, such as Allen keys, and nail clippers. And 4. Items that you just keep buying more of because you want to. Like little trinkets, jewellery, fashion accessories etc
My guide when it comes to tiny stuff is if you aren’t using it it’s clutter. For example if you have a box of 100 paperclips and you use about six in a year then keep about a dozen (and that is probably too many) and get rid of the rest. The same goes for most of the little things you will find on the list below. Observe for a while how often you use these things and adjust how many you have in proportion to how many you will use over perhaps one year. As for the small items that accumulate due to being misplaced the best method to keep track of them is to always put them back in the same place. I know that rule sounds fundamental but it isn’t a rule always observed. Once you have this down pat you can safely declutter the excess. As for the “I just want them” things, declutter the ones you no long want or are useless due to damage on a regular basis. If you still want them they aren’t clutter.
Don’t buy tiny items in bulk just because it appears to make economic sense unless you share the cost and the quantity with a friend or family member. Such as make-up sponges, Post-it note pads, boxes of staples, pens etc. If the shared quantity is still too many give the rest away to other loved ones. It is so tempting to buy 1000 of something when it only cost one and a half times as much as 100 but then you are stuck with them for what seems like an eternity and they take up four times as much space as the smaller quantity would have. Keep in mind some items perish and become useless if left unused for an extended period of time.
- Jewellery ~ Necklaces, earrings, brooches, pins, tie pins, cufflinks, bracelets, bangles, watches…
- Stationery ~ pens, pencils, markers, paperclips, rubber bands, post-it notes pads, bookmarks…
- Toileties ~ Samples, travel size, make-up items, nail clippers, nail files, cotton balls, make-up sponges…
- Hardware ~ Nails, screws, nuts, bolts, rivets, washers, picture hooks, Allen keys…
- Kitchenware ~ corn holders, skewers, muffin/cupcake papers, cutlery, twist ties…
- Sewing equipment ~ Pins, needles, buttons, clips, cotton reals, machine bobbins, safety pins…
- Household items other ~ Keys, key rings, zip ties, …
- Craft ~ Beads, findings, embellishments, stamps, buttons, tacks, picture clippings, off cuts of wood and paper…
Ways to dispose of
- Jewellery ~ Give to friends or loved ones, donate or sell, Freecycle.
- Stationary ~ Donate to a local school, thrift shop or take into your work place to be used up.
- Toiletries ~ Most of these can be used up and not repurchased. Make-up should be thrown away if out of date. I would not advise giving it to someone else. Excess clippers, files and applicators could be shared among friends, preferably unused.
- Hardware ~ Donate, offer to a neighbour, friend or family member, give to your handman the next time he calls to repair something, Freecycle in batches.
- Kitchenware ~ Donate, offer to friends or family, freecycle, sell on ebay if worth the effort.
- Sewing equipment ~ Put together in a kit and donate to the thrift store or to your local highschool or a local craft group.
- Household items ~ In the case of old keys they can probably be recycled. Another useful stuff could be donated or Freecycled.
- Craft Items ~ Schools, craft groups, thrift store, local craft shop who runs classes, sell on ebay.
Today’s Declutter Item
Here is an example of decluttering little things. It may not look like much but just because it isn’t being used by us doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be useful to someone else. For every little thing hiding away in your home unused someone else is having to buy new. Send them out there where they can be useful. And all the little things add up to a much bigger waste of space in your home than you would think.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
Getting rid of a batch if things to the thrift store and the craft store up the street. It is one thing to decide and divide but the clutter disappearing act is the best part. “Hey Presto!”
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast