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Out With the Old and In With the New

by Tonia Tomlin

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Out With the Old and In With the New With the holidays upon us, it’s time to prepare for all the new items you will accumulate during the holidays - whether you want them or not. No matter what stage of life you are in, regular purging and simplifying is a necessity to staying organized and stress-free. Also through this process you not only reduce clutter but you can save money, earn money and help out others.

Whether it’s the toys and clothes your children have outgrown, that piece of clothing you have kept because you are sure you’ll wear it again “one day”, the gifts you’ve received but never used, or perhaps those collectibles you stopped saving years ago, there are always things in your home you longer use or want.

With my children, I go through their toys every year before the holidays and pull out the ones they no longer play with or that they’ve outgrown.  I take this time to see what they have left and make notes of what they need, so that when I’m shopping I can be more efficient and ensure I don’t spend money unnecessarily. Also, I don’t know about you, but my children typically get more than they need over the holidays and sometimes I hold some back for later in the year. But there are times when they get gifts they don’t like or ones they already have.  If I can’t or won’t take it back, I create a “re-gift” storage area in one of my closets. The next year I use those new, unwrapped toys to give to programs like “Toys for Tots”.

As for those clothes you haven’t worn in a while, well perhaps it’s time to create some new closet space for those new clothes you’ll get over the holidays and make some storage for those gifts you want to hide from your family. My rule is “If I haven’t worn it in the last 12 months, then I probably won’t wear it again so it’s time to go”… unless it’s a specialty piece like a shawl or that little black dress that withstands time.  

The same goes for some of those gifts you received but never used or really don’t want. They may just be taking up space or perhaps they just stay in your closet collecting dust. Well, now is a great time to put them in your “give-away” pile.

So now you’ve gone through your closets, drawers and cabinets and you have several items to get rid of. You have several options for these unwanted items.

You might choose to give them to other people who many want or need them. Those people may be within your own group of friends and family so why not invite them over and see if they have a need for them. You can also resell many items on consignment (clothes, jewelry, children’s toys, etc.) to earn a little spending money for the holidays. And there are many charitable organizations who would welcome your new and used items for others such as survivors of hurricane Ike (The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and the Red Cross to name a few).

You also might take this time to do an inventory of your wrapping products while you are in purging mode. Many times I’m at the store and can’t remember what I have, so I go ahead and stock up on items such as bows, ribbons, paper, etc. Before you get to this holiday season, take an inventory of your wrapping storage containers. Clean them up and reorganize them for the holidays; then you’ll know exactly what you need when you’re at the store and you won’t overspend!

And lastly don’t overlook those pantries!  Recently my friend moved her mom to a retirement facility.  As she went through her mom’s pantry she was startled by some canned and packaged goods far past their expiration dates (some even back to the 1990’s!) So my girlfriend who just knew she couldn’t possibly have that same problem, perused her own pantry to find several canned goods expired.  It’s easy to lose foods at the back of the pantry, so now’s a good time to take a peek at the back of your pantry and possibly make some room for the holiday foods you’ll be purchasing soon!

So while you simplify your life and distress your living areas, you can also save money, earn money, help others and be prepared for all the new items you’ll soon be brining into your home!

Tonia Tomlin is the Founder and President of Sorted Out™ and Sorted Out Publishing. Tonia is an author, publisher, speaker and mother of twin girls. She has been featured on HGTV’s, Mission: Organization, and is the author of the book Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms-of-Multiples’ Guide to an Organized Family. For more information, please email: or visit

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