I received an email from Christie this week asking for some advice. I’ll launch right in with her email, followed by my advice, and then I would love you all to add your thoughts on the subject. Hopefully somewhereÂ among all that advice there will be the spark to help ignite a flame of determination in her to let go of these items standing in the way of a beautiful uncluttered life.
Hi Colleen. I am a single mother with a long list of things toÂ do…always. Life is a process I know and I can’t tackle everything atÂ one time. I try to heed my own advice I give my daughter….practiceÂ your patience. But so many things always need to be done….that IÂ endÂ up shutting down and waste time…does that make sense? IÂ need toÂ declutter and organize many things, which IÂ am highly capable of, butÂ there are a few things IÂ just simply do not know how to deal with.
OneÂ of the main things that takes up space is greeting cards. A lot ofÂ them. Why do IÂ hang on to these? IÂ think IÂ have 80% of the greetingÂ cards that have been given to me in my 45 years of life. Gasp! And now IÂ am hanging on to the ones my daughter gets. And they are a mess. Boxes of unorganized cards. Why? What to do? IÂ simply cannot wrap myÂ head around it. And google has given me nothing.
and then there areÂ magazines. i am a chef. and i have years upon years of Bon appetit andÂ gourmet magazines. why? ugh. i can’t make myself throw them out. thereÂ has to be a better way.
I desperately would love any suggestions youÂ can throw my way. I am drowning in self loathing at this point andÂ need to pull my head up and provide my precious daughter a betterÂ example to live by. Much thanks to you in advance and much thanks toÂ you for your blog. 🙂
My response to Christie’s email was this…
My first advice is if you have other clutter that is easier to part with then work on that first. I always advise people to leave the hard stuff until last, at which time you tend to be more ruthless. The joy and feeling of success generated by letting go of other stuff will spur you one to get rid of stuff you never thought you would.
My advice on the cards and magazines, once you get to them, is simple. It is clear to me from reading your email that you have already decided that these are things that you donâ€™t want to keep. Decluttering is all about getting rid of things you donâ€™t want to keep. These things are obviously causing you stress and you donâ€™t care that much about them so not only are they wasting space in your home they are also affecting you negatively. Just another reason to let them go. What you are doing is keeping them out of habit and obligation. Life is a beautiful thing, the way it changes for us in waves. What we must do is ride those waves not try to swim against them. The magazines are a thing of the past, a past you are obviously reluctant to let go of. However any information contained within them can be easily found on the internet. And the beauty of the internet that it is so vast and yet it takes up so little space in your home. Go digital and get rid of that collection of dust collecting, stress inducing Â magazines. Just put them right in the recycling bin. Iâ€™d like to bet that once they are gone you will wonder why you had such trouble letting them go. It is kind of like pulling off a bandaid. There is way more time and agony involved in the procrastination than there ever will be once the deed is done.
As for the cards it seems to me that they would be a mix of sentimental and obligational clutter. Ones that mean a lot to you and ones the you just keep because you feel you should. Well let me tell you that you donâ€™t need to keep anything you only feel you should. Most people donâ€™t give cards or gifts with the obligation that we should keep them together. They are merely a symbol of their affection for us in the here and now. Sometimes cards and gifts are even given purely out of obligation and their is no sentiment involved at all. So break this task down, it will mean double handling but that will be better for you phycological state. Go through them all, even if that is just a handful at a time when you have nothing better to do. Pick out the ones that mean something to you and put them aside for now and throw away all the ones that are pretty much meaningless at this point in your life. They can also go straight into the recycling bin or donated to a craft group that recycles old cards into new to raise money for charity. Sometimes donating them makes it easier to reconcile getting rid of them but it also makes it a little more difficult to get rid of them quickly. Once again a quick google search can prove very fruitful. You can then deal with the more sentimental cards at a later date or also go digital with them now by scanning them into your computer and getting rid of the hard copies. I personally would put them aside until you feel ready to deal with the further.
Here is a link to the post where I decluttered my greeting cards.
Now it is up to you, Christie’s fellow readers, to lend your advice to her situation. Thank you all in advance.
Today’s Mini Mission
And how about those book shelves ~ I havenâ€™t picked on them for a while ~ how about you visit the elephant book graveyard and choose five books you are unlikely ever to reread and declutter them.
â€œIf we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think weâ€™d beÂ happy withÂ more?â€ â€” Unknown
Eco Tip for the Day
Just like my decluttering approach you can gradually improve your carbon footprint by implementing a newÂ environmentally friendly routine into your life on a regular basis.Â It doesnâ€™t have to be a chore but a fun challenge to not only help the planet but quite often it turns out will also save you money.
For a full list of my eco tips so far click here
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when Iâ€™m slow