Your storage spaces are likely a mixture of your past, present, and future. Well-loved toys, grade school memorabilia, and furniture from the college years may make up memories from your past. Perhaps golf clubs, cold-weather clothing, and gardening tools may reflect your present. Baby clothes or gear being saved for a future child may represent your future.
Take a good look at the categories you’ve created and see if they reflect your current lifestyle and activities. Never going to play badminton again? Out go the rackets! Have your kids moved out of the house? Perhaps it’s time to let go of their 20-year-old boxes of stuffed animals. Use a keen eye and steady conviction to get rid of the things that you no longer love, truly need, or find useful. If you’re still not sure if you should get rid of an item, ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if I toss this?” The answer may help give you the power to discard the clutter.
It will be helpful to have large, dark-colored garbage bags for trash, plus some large boxes on hand for items to donate, sell, or give to friends. (For extremely large purging jobs, consider renting a dumpster.)
As you declutter, take note of the amount of “past” memories stored compared to the “current” and “future” items in the space. While it’s wonderful to save some memories, don’t allow yourself to dwell too much on the past. It’s not coming back, and the future is what you make it. What do you want to do in the upcoming months and years? Out with the old to make way for some new hobbies and activities: a cleared-out attic could make a great artists’ studio. Your tidy basement might morph into a fabulous home theater! An organized garage could allow your budding Tim the Tool Man to come alive. (And let your car have a proper home!)
Once pared down, take time regularly to review and purge. Clutter has a way of sneaking up on us. Don’t let it! If you don’t know what to do with something, the basement/attic/garage is not its holding cell. Make conscious, deliberate decisions about the things in your life, and reclaim your space once and for all!