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 Linda Malotke gives a talk about getting rid of sentimental clutter during a presentation at the Shelby Township Library June 26.

Linda Malotke gives a talk about getting rid of sentimental clutter during a presentation at the Shelby Township Library June 26.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Expert shares simple ways to declutter your space

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 28, 2019


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Decluttering can be a big task, especially if many items have a sentimental meaning to you.

Whether it’s books, furniture or even a relative’s possessions, it can all add up over time. But there comes a point when it’s too much, and you ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”

That’s where guest speaker Linda Malotke shared her expertise during a community event at the Shelby Township Library June 26.

She owns a business called Sentimental Clutter, and she specializes in helping families with life transitions, including children going off to school, parents moving to smaller living spaces, and families who need to organize a little more on a daily basis for less stress.

She said she worked for a cleaning company at one time, and one of her clients was a hoarder. Malotke said that hoarding is a state of mind that is easy to get trapped in.

She said that when considering whether to keep or get rid of something, ask yourself whether you really need to keep it.

“Why am I keeping it? Does it resonate in your soul? Does it say something to you that is important?” said Malotke.

She mentioned that some of the items she wanted to keep had a deeper meaning to her.

“Each of you have something that is important to you,” she said.

The main reason people keep so much stuff is because they find that the object has meant something special to them, so they collect it.

In order to get rid of some things, she said she told herself that she was going to get one thing a week done until she was finished.

She once had so many cooking books that she had to get rid of them.

“Why on earth am I keeping all these cookbooks?” she said she asked herself.

She said she just made copies of the recipes that were her favorites and sold the books.

Another example she shared was a useful way to get rid of jewelry and make a gift for someone else.

“One of my friends was retiring, and what I did was, all of our friends ... each one of us took a piece of jewelry and did a shadow box with those pieces … and that’s what we gave her for her retirement. You can take jewelry together and make a collage,” she said.

There are many other ways to get rid of possessions that may be sitting around. She mentioned picking the possessions that you don’t need any more and donating them to different organizations that could make use of them. She mentioned Grace Centers of Hope stores as one example.

“They take whatever you give them, and they will come and pick it up so you don’t have to drive there,” said Malotke.

Plastic bags can be donated to stores like Target, Meijer, and Kroger. Facebook can be used to sell items. Malotke said the Michigan Humane Society is always looking for old towels. Eyeglasses can be donated to the Shelby Township Lions Club.

She introduced books that could be read about hoarding and getting rid of things around the house you no longer need.

“My goal is to do one thing at a time,” she said.

Cheryl Imami, of Shelby Township, attended the event and said she was raised during a time when nothing was really thrown away, so she finds it hard to get rid of things.

She has wanted to get rid of some furniture from her parents, but no one really wanted the furniture, so she could donate it.

Jean Jasin, from Washington Township, thought that donating items sounded like a good way to reduce clutter.

“I don’t like throwing stuff away, and I would rather donate it,” Jasin said.

Elizabeth Campion, a librarian at the Shelby Township Library, said she really enjoyed the presentation and found that one thing really stuck with her after the presentation.

“I really enjoyed Linda’s presentation. She had so many wonderful resources and ideas for how to give or sell our clutter without just throwing it away. She also said something that really struck me: Just because an item was really important to a relative who has died, doesn’t mean it needs to be as important to me. If it doesn’t evoke a sentimental reaction in me, I should feel free to let it go,” Campion said.