The Psychology of Decluttering with Different Size Trash Bags

Posted by Vivian McNeil on

“Oh, no! It can’t be! If school started, then the summer is virtually over and done! What about my grand plans to declutter my house? This was my main summer project, and it was not accomplished.” 

Don’t be so hard on yourself. The fall is the best time to get rid of your unwanted items. Join me while we have some fun tackling the very serious matter of decluttering the home. We will advise you on how you will become emotionally healthier by throwing out unneeded possessions in your home. Or shall we call them artifacts? They may be heirlooms or other commodities that you have become sentimentally attached to. We will try to describe different methods that various experts in this field utilize in their professions as declutterers, trash removers, home organizers etc. Some of these talented individuals have their own original mantras as well as their own successful companies. 

Putting away clothing at the end of the season 

Summer clothing is not as durable as heavier winter apparel. Bathing suits, especially children’s, get worn and faded from the pool and beach. The weather this summer was the perfect time to use and abuse swimsuits. Always wash the swimwear before storing it. If you see that your family’s swimsuits are not in good enough condition to save, this will be a good way to officially start your decluttering project. 

Tee shirts and socks may need replacing since they are washed so often in the summertime due to excess sweating, mud and basic summer projects. Summer is the season for stains, so make sure to wash clothes before storing. Also, be aware, that sweaty clothing is quite inviting to bugs and another reason to only put freshly washed and cleaned clothing away in storage. If you see that the clothing items are salvageable, you must put them in storage bags for the winter. As the weather gets cooler, make room for plush sweaters, puffer coats and bulky boots, by discarding your family’s abused summer clothing. 

Storing your summer items does not mean cramming them into a box. Begin by buying an assortment of different sizes and types of trash bags. Clear bags are the perfect type of bag for storing clothes since you can instantly see what’s inside. Clothes that are for donation will do well in black heavy-duty trash bags. We tend to think that clothing is lightweight. However, if it hasn’t happened yet, it will. If you use the wrong size and weight trash bag you will be surprised to see what happens. Yes, clothing tends to be heavy in great amounts. Thick black trash bags can brave the elements if they are left outside. If you plan on keeping the clothes on hangers, you certainly don’t want the hangers to puncture your trash bag. Try to gage how much clothing to put in each bag. It’s better to use more bags and be on the safe side. 

Less mess causes less stress 

If people surround themselves with more things than they can handle, they tend to feel as if their lives are out of control. There is a correlation between taking care of the clutter at home and taking care of yourself. Clutter can zap a person’s energy when they try to look for things that they can’t find. Even though it seems like hard work at the beginning, decluttering becomes an enjoyable way to relieve stress. 

Look at this beautiful quote from author, Francine Jay, from her book, The Joy of Less. 

“Nothing prepared me for the rush I felt when that first bag of discards hit the curb. What I expected to be a tedious and rather onerous task turned out to be exhilarating. I was instantly addicted. I decluttered in the morning; I decluttered in the evening; I decluttered on the weekends; I decluttered in my dreams (really!). When I wasn’t decluttering, I was planning what I could declutter next. It’s as if I could feel the physical weight being lifted from my shoulders. After I’d been particularly productive, I’d twirl around in my newly empty space with a huge grin on my face.” 

A Bag a Day Keeps the Clutter Away 

It’s so interesting to see the various YouTube instructional videos on how to get rid of the clutter in your home. One expert advises the, “Bag a Day” method. At the beginning of this type of decluttering campaign, she advised picking up the largest and heaviest trash bag you have. If you don’t own an assortment of trash bags, it pays to buy boxes of different sizes. Here’s why. The first day of your new cleaning campaign, you will get hold of the most heavy-duty trash bag. With this method, you go all around your entire house, garage and office included, with your trash bag in hand. Go into each room, and open drawers and closets and randomly pick items that you don't need or want. Some will be heavy, like old phones and other substantial items. In your kitchen you will surely find outdated food and spices. So, you see why you will need a heavier bag. The best tactic of this method is repeating this procedure every day. Each day, you will notice that you will need a smaller and lighter garbage bag than the previous day, since you are getting rid of the heavier items at the beginning of your campaign. By the time this, “Bag a Day” method is completed, you will be using only a small white garbage bag. If this method sounds too drastic to implement daily, then try it every other day at the beginning. Believe it or not, you will look forward to this purging idea. 

Take One Room at a Time 

Another method recommended is to tackle one room at a time. One fascinating statistic is that the average person only wears twenty percent of the clothes they have in their closets. The psychology of decluttering shows that psychological turmoil takes place in the mind of a person, when getting rid of old clothes. An article about organizing and decluttering would not be complete without mentioning the chief ambassador of home organizing, Marie Kondo, owner of, KonMari consultants. 

“Tidying itself is not the be-all and end-all goal. It’s much more introspective. It’s about checking in with yourself and choosing joy in your daily life. I just show ‘how you get there through tidying. A tidy home is filled only with items you cherish. To ease the emotional parting with old belongings, it helps to know that they will have a new home. There is peer to- peer resale markets such as, OfferUp, where you can sell the items that you want to get rid of in your local neighborhood. You never regret letting go of an item when you know it has gone to a new home! I am an avid H&M shopper and they make it so easy to discard old clothing. They will give you 15% off your next purchase for every two items you donate to their textile recycling program. And wow, what an advantage you will have when you come home, you will have so much more room for your winter items and much less to store.”  

Marie Kondo has a specific test to see if you should keep or discard an item. It’s called, the Marie Kondo “sparks of joy” test. For example, when it comes to hobby tools, you should feel good when you see how they are stored. She recommends storing things as much as possible, in an upright position so you get to see where everything is. That way you can get started on your project right away instead of searching for the things you need and wasting precious time. 

Marie Kondo will come to your home and organize it for you. “American trash bags are amazing,'' says this Japanese expert through a translator. She laughs at the American scented trash bags. Marie likes Americans so much that she has moved here with her family and is building her business called KonMari Media in California. 

Where in your house do you think you will have the greatest amount of trash? In your garage, of course. Before beginning to declutter your garage, make sure to know how to organize trash bags and have an assortment of trash bags handy. For example, forty-two-gallon contractor bags are highly resistant and can accept almost any type of garbage, whether it’s flower pots, magazines or cardboard boxes. For clothing that you will donate, use a thirty-three-gallon contractor bag. Also have some white permanent markers handy to identify the different types of clothing in the bags. If there is recycling in your area, you will need clear garbage bags. 

In summary, you can find pleasure in throwing things away. Even if you still like something, you can find pleasure in donating or selling it. According to one organizer, it might take a year or more to finalize the decluttering of your home. If you use the “Bag a Day”, “Sparks of Joy” or any other method, you will be successful if you remember this mantra. “Slow and Steady Wins the Race”. Good luck to all. Happy decluttering!

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