Monday, November 12, 2012

10 Things--How To Declutter--Practical Matters

Last week I mentioned my goal to get rid of 10 things every week day until the end of the year.  I'm doing this because I have noticed a creeping feeling of oppression every time I look around at all of this stuff--stuff that I need to spend time dusting and cleaning around and maintaining, stuff that I don't want and we don't need, stuff that weighs me down.  I'm doing this because I want to experience the freedom and peace that comes from taking control of my belongings, instead of letting them control me.

I'm doing great so far, and in fact, I've exceeded my 10 things each day for the past 2 weeks.  On Friday, the nice folks at Courage Center will be picking up my first load of stuff.  And y'all!  I'm just getting started!  It's been a mixed bag of emotions, but it's a positive change, for sure.

In case you'd like to join me in this effort, I thought I'd let you in on a few tips for decluttering.

Once you've started decluttering an area, do not leave until that area is done. With that said, an area can be as small or large as you want it to be: one shelf,  a closet, or an entire room. Stick with it until it's done.

To accomplish this, bring 3 boxes or bags with you: one for items that need to be relocated to another room (because when you have children things tend to migrate), one for items to be donated or sold, and a third for items to be thrown away.  You could include a fourth box for items to be given away to a friend or family member.  This is important, because it's all too easy to get distracted by putting items back where they belong, or running to the trash every few minutes. 

For advice on figuring out where in your home to start decluttering first, check out this post from Ready. Set. Simplify.

As you're decluttering, ask yourself these questions about each and every item:  Is it useful?  Is it beautiful?  Has this been used in the past year?  If it isn't useful or beautiful, and you haven't used it in the past 12 months, why are you dedicating space to it in your home?

For a few more questions to consider as you're sorting through possessions, check out Mandi's post, 10 Questions to Help You Declutter.

To keep yourself on track, set a deadline.  If you're planning to have a garage sale, schedule it now--decluttering needs to be completed by then.  My deadline is the end of the year at which time I'll decide whether I want to continue.

My last piece of advice is to grant yourself some grace.  You didn't amass all of this stuff in one day, and you won't be able to get rid of it all in one day, either.  Each and every effort in this endeavor, no matter how small, is worthwhile.  If you're not sure about something, put it in a maybe box or pile to decide later.  Chances are when you come back to it, you'll have a clearer idea whether it's something you really want to keep or if it's something you can release.

Have you been inspired to join me on this decluttering journey?  Leave a comment to let me know how you're doing.

To read all of the posts in my 10 Things series, click here.

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