Decluttering: Store or Keep?

The amount of stuff you’ve accumulated over the years may have become too much to fit into that formerly spacious-looking place you call your home. Even if you are the kind of person who regularly throws out junk and worn out or unwanted things, you might have too much clutter blocking out the features that you really like about your place. To do something about the clutter, you make the decision to store everything you don’t want to throw out. You can now switch out your favorite furnishings and masterpieces between your house and storage unit whenever you want, according to your interior design impulses at that moment. The tough question, though, is how to decide what to keep at home and what to send to self storage to declutter your life.

Here are Some Decluttering Hints:

Keep These Items at Home -- Not in Your Storage Unit:

  • In-season clothes and the clothes that you wear year-round.
  • Flatware, sheets, blankets, toweling, etc. that gets used all the time.
  • Furniture that your family can’t live without, like the big screen TV and your favorite chair.
  • Decorations that make your rooms really “pop” such as photographs and paintings.
  • Toys and games your children play with regularly.
  • Favorite items of your children who are off at college, so that they will be comfortable when visiting the old homestead.
  • Documents with private information (such as social security numbers).
  • Baseball card collection, stamp collection, or other valuable collections that can be displayed in a glass case and enjoyed.
  • Exercise or sports equipment that is used often—balls, jump rope, tennis racquet, etc.
  • Tools you use around the house on a regular basis.

Declutter by Putting These Items into Storage:

  • Clothing, shoes, or boots only appropriate to other times of year. Your ski pants can go to storage in the summer.
  • Extra towels, special occasion dishes and silver, warm comforters that are used only in the winter, and other things that are getting in the way.
  • Furniture that you use only for special occasions—the chair Aunt Betty likes to sit in when she visits, the table only used as a base for the Christmas tree.
  • Extra wall hangings or photos that don’t fit with the present interior design or make the room too cluttered.
  • Excess playthings that can be rotated with those you keep at home. This is a smart way to keep your kids from getting bored. Also, consider taking some keepsake toys, dolls, and games to storage when your children get too old to play with them.
  • All the mysterious objects falling out of your college student’s jam-packed closet.
  • Paperwork that you need to keep but don’t need to look at very often.
  • Collections that do not look good displayed in a glass case at home.
  • Sports gear used in other seasons (sleds in summer, baseball gear in winter, etc.) and sports gear too big for your home such as your kayaks and surfboards.

In the end, it’s up to you what to keep or pitch. Make sure everything you keep is well labeled so that it can be easily located later. Throw out anything that you discover is not getting much use anymore.

A good time to declutter your home is spring. As you do your spring cleaning, you will find items that you are not using that you may want to store for future use. Please see the Storage Tips page on "Spring Cleaning and Storage" for more advice on this topic.