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Labor Day is the perfect time to declutter after a busy summer

Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late 19th century when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to our country’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. By 1894, 23 states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday.

With Labor Day just around the corner (Sept. 6), the question becomes: How do I best observe the long weekend holiday?

The added day makes Labor Day the perfect time to declutter the home and garage. Clutter has its way of creeping back into the house after a successful spring cleaning, so it’s wise to enter the fall season with a clean slate.

Here are some tips:

  • Take it one room at a time: If your home took a beating this summer in terms of “clutter-gathering,” try to break down the cleanup into smaller chunks easier to manage. If it’s a single room that’s in need of some serious decluttering, break the room sections to make it a more manageable project.
  • Organize the garage: Start putting away all the stuff taking up space in the garage, such as summertime kid’s toys. Shop at Goodwill for any organizing supplies you need. Baskets, large and small containers and bins, desk trays, hooks, and the like are easily found and put to good use.
  • Focus on three words: Remember, your organizing system should ideally be visible (everyone can see where things belong and what is available for making selections), easy (everyone can put things away with minimum hassle, ideally with one-handed operation) and obvious (the categories of items are labeled clearly and are unambiguous).
  • Fruits of your labor: As you begin to organize, identify those items that can easily be purged and donated to Goodwill. Your donations help us transform lives and communities through the power of education and employment.

Assuming someone begins working full-time at age 21 and retires at 65, they will end up working more than 91,000 hours. That’s a lot of labor.

Labor Day is set aside to salute the hard-working individuals who have helped build this country. Rarely do people actually celebrate America’s workers, think of ways to get more people in the workforce, or consider how to lessen the unemployment rate.

At Goodwill, we think about those things every day. Our employees put our mission into action and provide employment, job training, and other community-based programs for people with disabilities, those who lack education or job experience, and others facing employment challenges.

Here’s an idea. During your Labor Day decluttering process, take a photo and post on social media with the hashtags #PowerOfWork and #GoodwillCentralCoast. It sends a powerful message that we can all celebrate.