While National Get Organized Month may have already come and gone, we can still keep the momentum going even if our first attempts have failed. Though my initial efforts to reclaim my home and my life didn’t get off to the greatest start, I’ve decided to try again.  

It all began as it often does when I have the best intentions. First I bought a new planner only to discover that I couldn’t find it anywhere. It turns out my purchase never made it to my car. Fortunately the store let me get a free replacement since I had already paid for the original one.   

Still, that wouldn’t motivate me to use my new planner right away. Instead, the pages stayed blank until the end of January.  

Despite the delay, I managed to sift through enough belongings last month to remember that every organizing project has a reward. In fact, my sorting always leads to something of value.  

Though I’ve yet to find a winning lottery ticket buried beneath the rubble, there is typically an object worth finding. For instance, a closer look inside my closet led me to a bag of prescription eyeglasses I’ve been meaning to donate. 

Then there were the coupons I came across that may not seem terribly significant until they begin to add up. Letting them sit in a drawer like I often do simply doesn’t make sense.  

The sentimental items I’ve unearthed have a value that cannot be measured like old photos and other keepsakes. Some of these meaningful pieces should be on display instead of hidden away somewhere.  

Whether my daughter cleans her room or I clean out my purse, we tend to find random gift cards. If it’s enough to cover a cup of coffee, it’s a welcome surprise in my eyes.    

I’ve also come across secondhand items around the house that were ready to be donated or sold. We often take my daughter’s clothing to a consignment shop that offers cash on the spot, so she gets some extra spending money and a friend takes whatever the store doesn’t accept.   

Keeping designated bags in my closet for unwanted items makes it easy to see when it’s time to make a trip or schedule a donation pick up.  

Store returns can pile up, especially after the holiday season, but it feels good to get that merchandise out the door as well for a refund, an exchange or a store credit. 

During my recent organizing attempts, I even stumbled upon a few gifts I had for people that I couldn’t find in time for Christmas.   

On a snowy day, we finally cleared out some old items that had been taking up space in a kitchen cabinet for far too long. Now there’s enough room for something useful to go there. 

When you find items that are no longer of value to you, they could be worth something to others. This is the perfect time of year to hunker down and be productive by sorting through your belongings and parting with those you no longer want or need.  

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at  



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