Jaunary is a great month to de-clutter your life. A new year is also a great time to reflect, to look at the past year and make positive changes in your life, such as simplifying it. This may sound difficult, but it can be done.
Some of us feel we were born disorganized, and that’s why we live in a mess. This is far from the truth. It is a skill, and we can all learn it, but we have allowed ourselves over time to continue to fall into bad habits. Here are a few simple rules: 1) If you take it out, put it back. 2) If you open it, close it. 3) If you throw it down, pick it up. 4) If you take it off, hang it up.
Consider the ten basic laws of stuff from the “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Organnizing Your Life.”
1. Stuff breeds
2. Useless stuff crowds out the ‘good’ stuff
3. Dust loves stuff
4. Stuff loves to stay where it lands
5. Stuff expands to fill space available
6. Over time, stuff becomes ‘invisible’
7. Stuff costs you money more than once
8. Stuff has a powerful effect on your state of mind
9. Stuff takes on value only when it’s used
10. Stuff doesn’t make you happy. You do.
When we start to de-clutter or downsize, our home and our life will become more functional and easier to clean. We will have more time to do the fun things in life and, perhaps, entertain more as we no longer live in clutter, chaos and confusion. Click link for how to get started…
Let’s get started. First, do a walk-about from room to room. Make a list of the areas of clutter. Work on the visible first. Imagine you have guests coming over to visit. Ask yourself, “which areas of the house would they be using?” Once you have made a list, then prioritize. Next, make an appointment with yourself. Start with two hours per week (this can be in one block or you can split it up). Select times when your energy level is good and when you will have little or no distractions.
Most of us have four kinds of clutter: 1) Things you do not use or love 2) Things that are untidy or disorganized 3) Too many things in too small a space 4) Anything unfinished. Let us look at these one by one.
1) If you do not use it or love it, either give it away, donate it to charity or try to turn it into cash.
2) Sometimes we have items we only use once or twice a year (like having a family party) or we only cook and bake for large groups when we entertain (and if you only do that once or twice a year perhaps you could eat out) for these items we need to be creative and find clutter-free homes.
3) If you have too much stuff in a small space, you need to re-think your space. Be creative and get rid of the excess.
4) All those projects that you meant to complete but never did, give yourself a time-line or pass them on to someone that is more committed and passionate about it than you are.
Remember that to de-clutter is a lifetime process. You need to put yourself and your house on a diet. Three key words you need to keep in mind are: Value – ask yourself what is the value of keeping this? Is it sentimental or dollar value? Purpose – What is the purpose of keeping this and how does it empower or affect my lifestyle? Ruthless – This is a must in de-cluttering or downsizing. If you are unable to do this, consider hiring an organizer.
Keep what is essential to your well-being. Be practical and, if you wish, hold on to those things that are beautiful or sentimental.
Start with one area, such as a room or a closet. Do not zig-zag or you will end up with incomplete projects in all areas. Throw out obvious garbage and remember to recycle where possible.
Quckly divide up items into themes, such as what is essential, useful, beautiful or holds sentimental value.
Subdivide these items, for example: papers, books, pens and kitchen stuff. Sort through these piles more thoroughly to determine again if they are garbage, recyclable, to be given away, for garage sale or consignment stores, or if they belong to another room or to someone else.
Place things in proper order. This may entail purchasing more storage accessories. Do not buy any items until you have sorted, purged and assigned a home – rethink your space, be creative, visualize or call in a professional.
Remember that your “stuff” did not happen overnight, and it will take time, energy and commitment to de-clutter. As a general rule, any clothing you have not worn within the last twelve months, consider letting go. Most of us wear the same 20% of clothes 80% of the time. Try each item on. Be realistic. If Christmas is showing on your waist, let the items go. Many women’s shelters would be happy to receive your clothing.
Most people are drowning in papers. Set up some simple, practical systems. Be ruthless. If your house were burning, could you find your passport, mortgage, insurance papers, bank records, etc.?