Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
While we advocate slow and steady decluttering at 365lessthings, sometimes that’s just not what happens. Sometimes the Big Power Cleaning is in order. You have the help of your husband, friend, child, or you’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired. It is time to get it done! But how to best proceed?
- DO NOT BUY ANY CONTAINERS BEFORE YOU BEGIN. You do not start a decluttering process by bringing anything extra into your home.
- Get several large boxes or trash bags and label them: Trash, recycling, thrift store, sell (maybe), other (these will be things you find that belong to other people, the library, etc.), and elsewhere (in the house that is). Frankly, I just make a couple piles on the ground for these last two categories.
- Get your label maker or masking tape, a stack of post-it notes, a marker, dust rag, broom, dust pan, scrap paper, a marker and pen. Bring a drink with you and gloves if the job is in a dirty location. Do not bring your phone; that’s what answering machines are for.
- Get ready, get set, begin!
- Drawers – I usually unload these, but only one at a time. Shelves – I shove everything over to one side to begin and move the items to the other side as I proceed. Hanging clothes – I examine these one at a time without taking them out. But, my closet isn’t overly stuffed. If you can barely move your clothes, then pull them out and put them on the bed. If you have a really full warbrode, then maybe you should tackle your clothes one type at a time – pants, t-shirts, etc. Folded clothes – I unload the drawer onto the bed. A room full for junk, or a shed, garage, attic, or basement – Take the first box, stack, or item that you can reach. You’re going to have to process these things one at a time.
- Examine each item one at a time and decide what to do with it – keep, recycle, thrift store, Ebay, belongs to someone else, belongs somewhere else in the house. Put it in its appropriate stack. If necessary, label it (e.g. office). Do not leave the room; do not take anything away.
- If you have multiples of the same sort of items, put like with like.
- When you finish the first drawer, shelf or bin, think about whether keeping these items together and in this container is the best use of your storage and the best way to organize these items. Make a note (using the supplies you brought with you) about what you might need to buy or find to make this area work better for you – book ends, a container, more hangers, etc. Again, you will not be abandoning this project to rush to the store. Hopefully, by reducing your belongings and rearranging things, some of the storage devices that you need will be freed up.
- Dust the drawer or shelf. Sweep the floor.
- Go ahead and reload your items, dusting, neatly folding, etc. as you go. If you’re putting them into a closed container or drawer, label if necessary. When you come across duplicates, decide which you are keeping and which can go.
- Check the time. If you can, move onto the next section. You want to keep an eye on the clock so that you don’t end up with too many things out at once. You don’t want to abandon your project and leave a bigger mess than you started with.
- Repeat as many times as you are able but before you run out of energy or time, STOP. Your project isn’t done until everything you’ve pulled out, piled around, and labeled for elsewhere has been put away.
- Return the items in your home to their true locations. Don’t know where that is? Well today isn’t the day to declutter the new location, just put like with like and know that’s a project for another day.
- Decide where your selling items should be kept. I think there are two main strategies for this. The obvious one is having a pile somewhere. The less obvious strategy is to keep the item where it lived before (a toy on your child’s shelf, a handbag in the closet), and make yourself a list of what you want to sell. Be realistic: Will you really sell this, and is it really worth selling?
- Once the only piles left are the ones that have to leave the house, load your car. If you know that actually taking items to the thrift store is a weak area of yours, then do it now, as a last step of your project. If you have items that belong to other people, think about exactly how and when you will return these items. Should you just take them now? Maybe it would be best for you to make a circuit delivering items to their owners rather than trying to coordinate the delivery of each with a social visit.
- All done, all cleaned up, all finished. Take a good look at what you’ve done. Celebrate it on Facebook. Call your best friend to cheer. Aren’t you proud of yourself? You should be!
Today’s Declutter Item
I love the local bulk waste pick up days our local council puts on every six months or so. It is a great time to get rid of stuff that is just junk but too big to put in the wheelie bin. I also love that people come along and sort through the junk and sometimes take pieces to be recycled. This time around Liam cleaned out a bunch of his old art stuff from the garage.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
I am grateful that the sun shone long enough yesterday to get my washing mostly dry. It started to get a little overcast as the afternoon wore on but it did it stayed dry and I only had to put a few things in the drying for a short tumble.