Working from home means the piles of papers that used to get left at the office are now in your home. And even though its cringe worthy to admit, your work piles are sitting on top of the piles of clutter that were already there, right?
Both my husband and I work from home and some days I feel like I’m drowning in all of the clutter.
Decluttering regularly has become a quarterly must do for me and I’m always left with a keep pile that I don’t know what to do with. It finally dawned on me to repurpose the decluttering keep pile.
It’s easy to let the clutter overwhelmed you. Combine that with a limited amount of storage options and decluttering becomes a must do!
If you are anything like me though, after trying to declutter, you end up with items that you either can’t part with or don’t know what to do with.
And while the decluttering experts make it sound easy to “just give it away” in reality that’s not always so easy!
Some items are sentimental. Other items you might not want to spend money buying a second time. Or maybe you just don’t want to have wasted the money you spent buying something in the first place.
This year I’ve already participated in two great decluttering challenges. But at the end of both I was left with items I didn’t really need but I didn’t want to part with. And items that I had no idea where to donate them too.
I also discovered I’m an emotional keeper. I saved ALL of my daughter’s preschool art work. And while I haven’t found a perfect solution for repurposing her art I can address some other emotional keeper issues- like how to repurpose wedding gifts when you declutter.
Lets get started repurposing you decluttering keep pile!
5 Ways to Repurpose the Decluttering Keep Pile
1. Wedding Gifts
Wedding gifts are some of the most difficult items to part with. If you are like me, you received a number of beautiful serving dishes, bowls and trays that you don’t want to part with.
First declutter the ones you don’t actually like. Then repurpose the serving bowls and trays you like but don’t use often. They are going to get new life in your kitchen.
I use wedding gift serving bowls as our counter top fruit bowl and serving trays to hold the spices and olive oil next to our stove.
Sure some of them are fancy but they are equally fancy while hidden away in a cabinet.
I keep this same casual serving bowl full of apples, oranges or peaches on our kitchen island all summer.
Select a few favorite bowls and trays and then rotate them throughout the year. Your apples and bananas get a pretty home and you get to use and enjoy the wedding gifts given to you by your family and friends.
The same goes for holiday serving dishes and trays. Use them seasonally in your kitchen.
And if you think you will forget to rotate them seasonally schedule a recurring note in your calendar to swap them out at the beginning of every quarter.
Speaking of holiday items…
2. Christmas Cards
I’m not really sure how this happened and I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s done this. Mixed into my Christmas decoration bins are half unused boxes of Christmas Cards. You know, the cards we all sent before we started sending photo cards to friends and family?
I found a great way to repurpose the boxed cards.
Boxed holiday cards are perfect holiday cards for people that you meet at networking functions and conferences.
But the key here is to address them as you meet the person.
When sending your nice to have met you follow up email or note, address a Christmas card to them as well. Sign your name and add your business card but don’t seal the envelope. Store the signed addressed cards in a pretty box or bag that you also didn’t want to get rid of during the declutter.
After Thanksgiving weekend, go through them add a note to the cards of the people you got to know. Seal, stamp and mail all of the cards.
Networking and decluttering done all in one step.
3. Hotel Soap & Shampoo
If you are following a decluttering program, there is a good chance they recommended you start in your bathroom and linen closet.
And if your family travels or you travel for work like I do, there is a good chance you have a collection of little hotel soaps and shampoos.
You might even have a collection of pretty hand soaps that were given to you as hostess gifts.
I know this sounds crazy, but what if you actually use all of the little hotel soaps and shampoos you collected?
Gather them up and sort them into baggies by type. When you use up your current bar of soap grab one of the little bars instead of buying soap at the store.
If you have small kids, they will love getting to pick a new little soap regularly.
The money you save buying regular size soap and shampoo will more then cover the cost of buying clear travel shampoo bottles to use when you travel.
If you would rather donate your hotel soaps ask you local thrift store if they can recommend a shelter or donate them for you.
4. Fabric Tote Bags
Free fabric tote bags from the cosmetics give away, free fabric tote bags from the kids event at the library and free fabric tote bags from every work conference.
I don’t know about you, but every time I start to declutter I am always amazed at how many tote bags we have!
And I could never figure out what to do with them until now.
If you are like me and have a ton of fabric bags stashed around the house gather them all up. Get them out of the laundry room, out of the coat closet and out of your kid’s closet.
Pick out a few that you like, use one to hold all of the others then repurpose the rest as the bags you will take unused items to the thrift store in.
In every “maybe” plastic bin or box that you have filled while decluttering put one or two of these fabric tote bags. Next time you open that bin fill the bags and take the items to the thrift store.
In the bottom of each kid’s closet put a fabric tote bag with a note that says “Give Away Bag”.
Shirt too small? put it in the bag. Toy out grown? Put it in the bag.
Set a reminder on your calendar once a month to take the bag to the thrift store.
Do the same in your closet for clothes that don’t fit right anymore. Or shoes that are uncomfortable.
How long should you do this for? Until all of the fabric tote bags are used up or realize you don’t need to hang on to them anymore and you take them to the thrift store too.
This tote bag that collapses and stores flat in your is a great reward for getting rid of all of the fabric tote bags you’ve collected.
5. Seed Starter Greenhouse
Before spring on a warm late winter afternoon, while my husband chuckled, my daughter and I planted tiny seeds into a lot of very small pots. We decided to try growing our vegetable garden from seeds.
We had a great time and I was so sure of our green thumbs that I even bought this budget and space friendly seed starting greenhouse.
If you’ve tried seed starting I’m going to guess your seed starting result was much like ours. Womp womp.
Seed starting is hard! And just as my husband suspected, our seed starting experiment soon went awry and the seed starting greenhouse went unused.
But seed starting greenhouses have zipper coves which make them great storage shelves on a back porch. When the pollen covered everything in thick coat of yellow this spring everything inside our seed starting stand stayed clean.
I know now everyone has a greenhouse just waiting to be repurposed. But with a little creativity I bet you can find a new used for items you aren’t ready to part with too.
The same as brown bananas in the kitchen make great banana muffins, repurposing items you already own saves you money and emotional effort.
Wedding gift serving bowls make great fruit bowls. Serving trays make great count top decor and can also be used as the place for incoming mail or outgoing bills to be gathered.
If you liked the hotel shampoo enough to bring it home, why not use it? Or give your kids a treat and let them pick little shampoos or soaps to use.
Now if someone could just help me figure out with what to do with all of my daughter’s preschool art work…
What’s your favorite way to repurpose items in your house? Let me know in the comments below!