Kenny Rogers' Wisdom, for Declutterers

In the event that you were alive at the late ’70s, you probably have at least one tune from Kenny Rogers’ record The Gambler tattooed on your brain. I had been and that I have two: “Lucille” and “The Gambler” — at the choruses, that’s. I adored to twang along to “Lucille,” but it had been memorizing “The Gambler” which has helped me out of a jam or two, although not in poker, as you might think, however in decluttering. It is all right there at the middle of the tune:

“Now every gambler knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep.”

I know, I know; why does not Kenny suggest we fly backward in time before we gathered so much stuff, right? If we knew the best way to throw off, we would be Obviously Organized and would not even be reading this except to roll up our eyes and estimate. I understand! Aren’t we thankful Kenny/The Gambler breaks down it.

You Got to Know When to Hold ‘Em

It is unfortunate he began here, because it is the most difficult issue to work out. If you’re new to decluttering, you might be desperate to lighten your load until you get in the nitty-gritty of actually getting rid of your own stuff, and you’re finding that your compulsion is to keep everything.

Do not worry; that’s normal. To begin, assess your belongings. Think of what things are important for you and why. I’ve done this, and there are just three things in my whole house I would continue to. I’ll tell you about one.


When I was quite young, my mum’s little country school was torn down, however first everything was set up for auction. My parents purchased the dining table by the the chemistry laboratory. Six feet long, legs turned, it looked like a farm dining table. My mom placed it behind the very long ending of the sectional in our living area and loaded it with two or three lamps and framed family photographs.

Through various home moves she always found a place for this until her last movement, in the snug little “cabin” my husband, Paul, and that I built for her (attached by a breezeway to our new home), and she kindly gave it to me. I set it to work as our table, and it attracted instant warmth and beauty to our new and bare residence, but the profound apron made it impractical for long-term use. Adults of an ordinary height had to slide their legs carefully under it, but that was impossible for 6-foot-6-inch-tall Paul, who might only straddle the side legs, which he did patiently until I found a acceptable replacement.

We transferred the old table upstairs to a broad hallway just around the corner out of our small laundry room. Our future plans for this hallway are to bring a very long built-in shelves and desk. While this happens, I’ll move the table to the cellar and place it behind the long finish of our sectional there.

Unless among my sisters desires the table, I don’t really see myself ever getting rid of it, since it is beautiful, useful and an actual classic, and it’s an excellent background in our family and outside. Section of your decluttering could be prioritizing your attachment to different things. When you determine those things you never ever want to part with, it might shed light on the others which don’t matter quite so much.

Know When to Fold ‘Em

The best place to start with decluttering is figuring out what you can part with.

My brother-in-law, David, recently had an epiphany: He can’t handle books. His wife — my sister, Torey — has understood this since they married, as she, by default, has had the task of organizing his extensive and ever-growing collection.

David would normally come home with bags or boxes full of books he had picked up for next to nothing at estate and library sales. I don’t understand what exactly triggered it, but he finally found that of all his books, there were just a few genres he actually read, and about what else he’d say, “That looks interesting,” and place it on the shelf. (Full disclosure: My sister probably shelved it.)

They are moving later this month, and he has decided, with the exclusion of art publications, to eliminate all of them. Going forward, any books he buys will be electronic, again with the exception of art publications.

Before you begin the frantic, “You are going to have to pull my books in my cold, dead hands” remarks, just know I’m with you. Novels are the only things I actively acquire, but that I eliminate them just as freely, either though donations or earnings to my regional bookstore. I need to love a book to keep it.

Books might not be something that you need or need to declutter, but collections are a great place to initiate the process. All that Coke souvenir you acquired at the ’90s gathering dust in your basement? What about abandoned hobbies? It is OK to pass on this unfinished quilt or that pile of license plates that you were planning to make into purses and market on eBay and just never got around to doing.

Shelley W.

This kind-looking girl likely does not consider herself an evil temptress, but those of us trying to declutter understand much better.

Know When to Walk Off

When you begin to declutter, the first and easiest thing you can do is to halt the flow of stuff into your home. If you struggle with clutter, chances are that a sign advertising a garage, yard, estate or book sale causes your pulse to race along with your foot to reach the brake. You are not alone. For some people, there is a exceptional thrill in finding a treasure for pennies on the dollar that no other buying experience provides.

If you’re in the midst of, or merely considering, a huge decluttering, the very best thing you can do is avoid sales of any sort. When I had been in the throes of my great purge and that I saw the hints, I drove, telling myself firmly, “You don’t need anything.” And it was true. Even after our fire, once I wanted what, I chose to avoid them, because I didn’t want to buy a load of things that I didn’t require. We lived for a year with just the few possessions the insurer leased for us, and we were alright.

Today I like to go to thrift stores and various earnings, but I rarely buy, and when I do it is something that I really require.

Garage Envy

We can easily park three cars in our garage, but it isn’t quite as neat as this one.

Know When to Run

We transferred my mom into her little place the same week we moved into our new residence. She took just what she wanted to keep and left the remainder, which was … substantial. My siblings and I all chose exactly what we wanted and sorted through the remainder until we left it down to a few boxes of miscellaneous tools we planned to donate, because no one had the power to go through one more box.

Once I noticed Paul loading them into our van, I tried to prevent him. He promised me there were quite a few things we had. I preferred to buy as we went, like I had been doing together with our kitchen items and pretty much everything else, but Paul had been firm.

Two decades later those boxes are still in our garage and have now been joined by a few more out of his own mother’s purge of her garage. Paul isn’t a pack rat, and we have a huge garage, so it isn’t a issue, but for me personally and other Not Obviously Organized people, boxes of free stuff we may or might not desire should be avoided like the plague. Run, my people, run!

Whether in poker or decluttering, what we will need to understand to win is all laid out for us. I hope you’ll choose the Gambler’s advice.

More: How to Get With a New Minimalist Mentality

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