Tag Archive for: reuse

photo albums on shelf

Letting Go

Helpful Organizer BlogLetting go of things can be stressful and difficult, especially if they hold some sentimental value. We tend to hold onto things that remind us of precious people and moments from our past. A few years ago I was helping a client organize her bedroom, and we came across some dried, brittle, dusty, yellowed flowers in a vase. She explained that it was her dried wedding bouquet, and she wanted to keep it. I asked her to pause for a moment and tell me objectively what she saw. She did. I then asked to tell me about other mementos she had from her wedding day. When she was finished she understood what I was getting at and said “I think I can let the flowers go.” She understood that although her wedding flowers were an important part of her wedding day, now they were just dust collectors. Since she had other more meaningful mementos from her wedding day, as well as photos of the flowers when they were vibrant and beautiful, she could let go of the brittle, dusty, yellowed version. By taking a moment to look and think objectively we can all make better choices about letting go.

Here are 7 options for letting go that will help you keep the memories but not the stuff.

  1. Keep only the best of photographs, artwork & hand-made crafts to bring greater value to the memory.
    • Set limits (container limit or quantity limit)
    • Set criteria (most meaningful, most representative of personality)
    • Go digital with photos, memorabilia, artwork
    • Share and send photos to family/friends
  2. Keep part of a set or collection: china, glass items, collectables, furniture, nick-knacks & tchotchkes, holiday decorations & decor to bring ease to maintenance.
    • Get items appraised to understand valueplanters made from recycled goblets
    • Set limits (keep half, the best 3, most memorable)
    • Establish a specific place for display or specific use
    • Reduce what you keep (just signatures on greeting cards, every 5th year of journals)
  3. Get creative, re-purpose or reuse to bring new life to items.
    • Re-purpose dishes and stemware as planters or jewelry holders
    • Re-purpose china to make jewelry or mosaic art pieces
    • Reuse fabric from items to make quilts, pillows, teddy bears, mittens, bags, Christmas stockings or other items
    • Use paper items to make place-mats, wrapping paper, greeting cards
  4. Take photos and videos to preserve visually and digitally.
    • Create digital scrapbooks to share the memories and storiesChristmas stocking made from old quilt
    • Use as a screen saver on computer or phone
    • Consolidate images into collages
  5. Share and document story of item to preserve memory.
    • Use on-line digital options to share stories and photos
    • Share stories and memories of items verbally at family gatherings
    • Star in a video sharing stories and memories of family heirlooms
  6. Find worthy recipient to ease guilty feelings.
    • Search on line for specific worthwhile charities
    • Ask family, friends, and social media connections for willing recipients
    • Accept that we may not be able to find the perfect recipient and let it go believing the next owner will cherish it
  7. Experiment and practice letting go.

©September 2018  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®

Repurposing Containers

BagWould you consider purchasing containers as the “fun” part to organizing?  You wouldn’t be alone.  Containers are multifunctional and practical.  They serve important functions in organizing.  They provide boundaries for stuff.  They hold and keep like items together.  They prevent pieces and parts from getting lost or misplaced.

I recommend being creative and resourceful when it comes to containers.  Instead of purchasing, I advocate repurposing containers that we already have in our space.  It’s very economical and environmentally conscious.

Here are several ideas for repurposing the zippered bags that blankets, comforters, and sheets come in.

  1.  Store manuals and instructions
  2.  Keep by washing machine for stray socks
  3.  Use as wet bag for beach towels and bathing suits
  4.  Store games and puzzles that have squashed boxes
  5.  Keep in car for muddy shoes or wet clothes
  6.  Store camping equipment
  7.  Use as container to collect items that need to be dry cleaned
  8.  Use as sports bag for uniforms, equipment and footwear
  9.  Store comic books or other books
  10.  Keep in suitcase for dirty clothes

Ideas for the small zipped pillow case bags:

  •  Travel first aid kit
  •  Cd’s or Dvd’s
  •  Take out menus
  •  Travel bag for toiletries
  •  Pencil case


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What containers have you repurposed?  Please share.

© May 2014  Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®  All rights reserved