Do you have a stash of ketchup packets in your kitchen?

I’m organizing a client’s fridge today. On the door, they have a giant stash of ketchup packets, dressing from bagged salad, and chili pepper flakes from pizza deliveries.

Guess how often they get used…never!

There may be packets of something truly useful in there. But who can see it buried under the avalanche of ketchup and dressing?

This brings us to our 2nd block when it comes to getting organized:

You hate wasting!

How often have we all held onto something because we didn’t want to waste it…but then never actually use it?

Maybe it’s something simple like condiments, napkins, or plastic grocery bags. But it might also be furniture, clothing, or office supplies.

Now, if you’re someone who actually uses these items over time…more power to you! Just make sure you’re keeping a reasonable amount that you’ll be able to use before they go bad or wear out.

Holding onto things because you don’t want to waste them is noble. But it may be making your organizing projects more challenging than they need to be.

Thankfully, there are some solid workarounds for this block:

1-Ask Yourself “Why Am I Keeping This?” – Go beyond the surface on this one. Do you get anxious about wasting? Do you feel guilty that you had takeout more times than you wish you had? Do you feel excited to add that flavor to a dish you make at home like you saw them do on the Food Network?

Awareness is the most important place to start. Sometimes all we have to do is honor a feeling to move past it. Other times, the feeling guides us to our next right action.

2-Move it into Action – We hold onto certain items because we want to use them…but then we don’t. How can you actually start to use these items instead of holding onto them for some future time? For example, I often put beauty samples in front of my daily-use toiletries so I use them right away. Sometimes, I even place items somewhere annoying and “in my face” so I have to use them right away.

Get creative here, but try to apply this to only one item at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.

2-Just Say NO – The best way to stop clutter in its tracks is to stop it at the source. This is the #1 thing you can do to help reduce waste. Let restaurants know you don’t need disposable silverware when you pick up your order. Tell your aunt that you don’t need that extra dresser (even if you feel anxious that it may not go to the right home).

By being the “Steward of Excess” you’re giving yourself a daily weight to carry. Not to mention a future organizing project to handle. Say no to both.

3-Donate Your Excess – Is wasting is a trigger for you? If it is, it can feel fantastic to put your treasures into the hands of someone who really need or want them. Take your excess take-out packets to your local food bank or homeless shelter. Give Habitat for Humanity those cans of paint that don’t match anything in your house. Take those bonus office supplies to a non-profit.

Holding onto things you never use is wasting…just a slower version of it.

Get those things into the hands of someone who can use them today.

What item do you hold onto because you don’t want to be wasteful?

How can you give it a second life today?

Share in the comments below, I would love to know.