Transformation Tip: Clear Your Clutter

One of my patterns that I am trying to change for the better is that of collecting (and keeping!) clutter. Not only will clearing away and releasing clutter physically transform the space it occupies, but it transforms us by relieving added stress and creating a sense of calm and tranquility.

I have seemingly always had these little stashes around the house, in every room, and even in my car of “stuff” that I have every good intention of either reusing, re-purposing, recycling or replacing.

The problem is that I find myself spending too much time just rearranging it all and letting it take up space and being either an eyesore or a nuisance. Annoying! My rationale has always been, “Yeah, well, I’m too busy! I’ll get to it eventually. I will just work around it.”

Well, enough already! I’m changing things up! From now forward, “stuff” has an expiration date in my home.  Set the “expiration” that works best for you, but here’s what I’m playing with right now:

If it is in my car, it gets a maximum of 24 hours (unless it’s a perishable, then it goes right inside the fridge). Trash? OUT.  Recycling items? Into the proper bin for weekly collection by the city.  Change in the cup holder? Designated piggy-bank for a year end charity donation.

If it is in my house, it gets a maximum of 1 week. I see these more often, but it gives me an opportunity to get it all handled on a designated day of the week when I have a bulk of time to do a bunch of housekeeping. Spending a couple of leisurely hours over the weekend to gather & pack up things like donation items, stuff to sell on Craigslist, or downsizing from 12 bottles of half-used body lotion to free up vanity counter space is great. It helps me to process some thoughts or mental notes that have come up during the week, while my body is just happily plugging along. Since it’s being kept up with on a weekly basis, it doesn’t get so out of hand anymore or take a whole day to complete.

Here’s a look at a few areas of clutter I busted earlier this week. Total time investment: 30 minutes!

This year during Lent, I gathered one item of clothing per day to donate to a local thrift store.

 

Random phone and iPod accessories, foreign currency, my passport, and converters.

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Closet clutter

I’ve made lots of progress on my clutter busting and am loving the freedom it has given back to me. I’m much more grateful for the things I have, and less encumbered by the “stuff” that I don’t need or even want. But there’s still work to do.

The hardest one for me by far has been the mountain range of papers I have yet to sort through. I’m talking 2 households worth of old hard copy files dating back decades. My dad left file cabinets upon file cabinets of stuff when he died, and I’m not looking forward to going through all of it to see what must be kept and what can be shredded. Add to this my own haphazard filing system that awaits me, which I suspect is plotting to bury me alive under the sheer emotional weight of it. Such a daunting task!

As with anything, the key is to make a plan, schedule X amount of time to work on the task (i.e. 10 minutes a day during the week + 1 hour on the weekends until it’s done) and then just f*cking do it. I’m not opposed to hiring someone to help, either.  So, what are you doing this weekend? 😉

You may enjoy The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
by Marie Kondo.