Cut the clutter – donate and do good

BY MARY OOMMEN –

Homes should be a sanctuary of calm – a place where we can rest and relax, but often this is not the case, because of the clutter lying around. Things pile up over the week and getting organized and cleaned up are not always a priority with busy schedules, kids to take care of and groceries to buy; and before you know it, you have a mountain of clutter to take care of over the cherished weekend. If you notice there is constantly “stuff” accumulating everywhere, it’s time to cut the clutter and do some good by donating to charities.

Most of us have been faced, at some point in our lives, with the dreaded feeling of being defeated by mounds of clutter. While the idea of maintaining a picture perfect, organized, uncluttered home can seem like an unrealistic goal, especially for parents of small children, it is not really impossible. Decluttering and getting organized is vital for our well-being as it helps us to do away with unnecessary things that are taking up valuable time and space in our lives.

The fact that clutter can have a negative impact on our well-being was proved by scientists from the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute in New Jersey who uncovered some interesting data about how a disorganized, clutter-filled environment can affect us mentally. Their studies indicated that clutter not only creates a lot of stress but also keeps the mind distracted. When we see things lying around or piling up, it affects our ability to focus and makes it difficult for our brain to process even simple information. This can leave us feeling stressed, irritated and frustrated. We may be trying to get important tasks accomplished through the day, but clutter – not just at home but at work too – makes us less productive than we can actually be.

Decluttering can therefore, actually be a therapeutic process. If the thought of getting started is over-whelming, set a manageable goal. Instead of randomly walking through the house, aim to clean and declutter one small area at a time. Starting perhaps with your overflowing wardrobe or the kitchen where you may have collected mugs, glasses and bowls that you hardly use. Instead of just cleaning up, try reorganizing items by creating a separate pile of things you don’t necessarily use or want anymore. Consider donating these items to local charities who might have need of them. Not only will this clear up space, it will also give you the perfect opportunity to help those in need.

Local charities like Dar Al Atta have placed collection boxes for bed-sheets, comforters, clothes and shoes at various point in the city. Toys, clothes and small household items can also be placed in boxes found outside most Mosques. The Holy Spirit Church at Ghala and the St. Peter and Paul Church at Ruwi also accept donations. Books and magazines can be placed in the ‘Donate a book’ box at Avenue’s Mall. Small trinkets, household items, shoes and home décor can be donated to the Omani Paws group to help in their work with animal rescues.

While keeping aside things to donate, do keep in mind the condition of the item. Only donate things that are “gently used” and in good, clean condition or are unused and presentable. Do not donate items that are broken or that don’t work properly, are missing parts, or are ripped, torn, or stained.  Your donations should be in a good enough condition for others to be able to use. Also, when packing things to give away, don’t just throw them all haphazardly into a box. Pack items in separate bags – clothes together, shoes separate, toys in another bag. And most importantly, be sure that no liquids or sharp objects are placed in the boxes or bags. This will ensure that we make things simple and safe for people working to sort out stuff at the donation centres.

While getting started may seem like a monumental task, it’s just a matter of making the time and having the will to get your home organized. As you begin to declutter and donate stuff you will realize that you will have more time on your hands to do the things that you actually like doing. When you own less, you will spend less time cleaning, tidying and taking care of the things as you will have less “stuff” to manage. Clean up the clutter, and you may just find yourself calmer, happier, less stressed and with more time to spend with the people you love.