Once again I find myself in the midst of cleaning out and de-cluttering. I thought I had accomplished this two years ago when we moved out of our home into a condo. However, although my space is bigger than I had before and because it is arranged differently, I find I am coming face to face with some very bad habits that keep me from being clutter free.
Paper, Paper everywhere! Because I have a workshop and coaching business, I have handouts, articles and information that I use over and over. However, when do I decide to go through all of the paper and throw out what is no longer usable or unimportant for the current market? From the looks of things not very often. As a result I have file drawers brimming with so much stuff that just thinking about the clearing out process gives me a major headache.
Pictures and frames seem to multiply in our home. Of course, having 7 children and 11 grandchildren will naturally produce a slew of pictures. How do I decide which ones to display and which ones to discard? Obviously, I don’t because I have boxes and boxes of photographs, framed pictures and drawings.
Memorabilia is a major downfall for me in decreasing the volume of plastic tubs and boxes in my basement. I still have my own Kindergarten report card along with my children’s. Graduation announcements, prom programs, band trophies, even financial aid letters litter several boxes. My children don’t seem to care about these things so why am I saving them? After all, the memories are in my mind and heart and not on paper.
So, with the help of a home organizer who is logical and skilled in her sorting process, I began once again to weed out. I am happy to report that I have made great progress. I have downsized from 11 packed file drawers to 6 drawers where the files actually move apart from each other! I have emptied 9 plastic bins and have not refilled them. My basement has never looked so open and organized. And I am not done yet.
And, one of the biggest tips my organizer gave me was this: Begin by emptying out the entire area. Then, after going through each box, bin or file decide what you want to put back in. Once that is done remember that each time you put something new into one of your storage spaces it is going to be one more thing you have to empty out the next time you begin to de-clutter – oh, yes, it is an on-going process. “Do not”, she instructed me, “keep anything that you don’t want to have to clean out next time. And, if you do save it, is there something else that has outlived its usefulness that you can take out before you add something new”?
As I do the physical work of de-cluttering I am thinking her advice is useful for all aspects of my life from my business, to my relationships, to my every day choices. “Don’t add anything that you will have to spend a great deal of time getting rid of later”. Good advice.
Now to apply that advice and see what happens.