Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
Several people have recently asked me how to begin decluttering, and someone confessed last week that she thought all of us were running to the thrift store every single day as we decluttered, so I decided that it was time for another review.
Where Colleen and I started from
For those of you who are newer readers, you may not know that Colleen and I started our decluttering journeys from very different places. (And we didn’t know each other then, either.) Colleen’s house was well organized and very tidy, but she realized that she simply had way too much stuff. Her children were in their late teens when she began.
I moved into our current house with a two year old, and I was pregnant with my second child. The house never got fully organized. In addition, we did a lot of work on the house, so some area was always disrupted. When we finished all the work, the house looked fantastic, and I didn’t want the junk that was everywhere to make my beautiful house look ugly and cluttered. The inside of most cabinets were organized, but every surface was covered and there were laundry baskets of miscellaneous all over the house. By this time, I had one child in elementary school and one child in middle school.
What are your decluttering goals?
Different people declutter with a different goal in mind. Colleen thought she had too much stuff. I wanted my house to look nice, to be able to use my furniture and surfaces as intended, and I wanted to not be embarrassed to have guests.
Categories of clutter
Different people will have different sorts of clutter. I’m sure we all have a few toiletries we need to use up, some medicines that have expired, too many gadgets in the kitchen, some clothes we never wear. I think our trouble areas, however, are more specific to our interests, our psychology, and our personalities. Here are the main categories of clutter for all the members of my family:
Me – All sorts of household miscellanies, things I kept putting off making decisions about, craft supplies, office supplies, toys and games, books.
My husband – Books and papers leftover from college, books in his field (computers) that are now hopelessly outdated, hundreds of career-related magazines, electronic this-and-that, accumulated garage items.
The girls – Clothes and toys that they outgrew, art supplies, all sorts of tiny things that girls like to collect, unwanted birthday and Christmas gifts, art.
Some things you might have – Clothes, impulse purchases, decorative collectibles, books, magazines, newspapers, items you inherited, gadgets, excess food in your pantry or freezer, hobby items, crafts supplies, furniture, gardening tools and planters, stationery, incomplete projects, things that might be useful “someday”, love letters and photos that hurt you, souvenirs, things you have identified to declutter but haven’t actually gotten rid of.
How to begin
Beginning is usually easy once you decide to do it. You probably have an area that’s been bothering you. Take one thing from that area, put it in your discard box. Do not get it back out. Hurrah! You’re on your way.
Over time, you’ll find things that you would like to sell or need to give back to a friend, items that are harder for you to discard or need more thought. In the beginning, skip those and go for the low hanging fruit. You’ll make more progress and feel better about your accomplishments that way.
You’re on your way!
Today’s Mini Mission
Do you really need an alarm clock when your cell phone can carry out this task. Consider decluttering it.
Eco Tip for the Day
When packing items you have sold on eBay use recycled packaging materials when possible. I get used product boxes from my local hardware store.
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow