Saturday, March 27, 2010

Decluttering the piecemeal way

Cluttered home office

Clutter is the bane of my existence. I have too much stuff that just ends up collecting dust and the "I need it just in case" instance never comes. Culling is never easy, but a recent family onslaught (e.g., hosting a family gathering) prompted a major clean up in my home. Well, that and starting a to-do list of items that I needed to tackle. Here is how I accomplished my first pass at decluttering:

Give it away: This was done in two phases: donations to a local charity shop and then offering items for free. I had accumulated several paper bags worth of stuff that I meant to donate but I finally took the time to list each item and its worth before taking it to the donation center. This now adds to my itemized deductions. I gave six feet of books (mostly Star Wars novels) to my brother who will enjoy them and gave away almost all my videotape collection, mostly TV shows and movies I recorded myself. I also managed to give away most of my scrap fabric collection for a church's use.

Sort through it: There was clothing I was not wearing or no longer liked, fabric I was never going to use, papers no longer needed and bins reclaimed in giving away the VHS tapes. With extra bins, I could sort through my fabric collection, put away the Christmas-themed fabric, and cull various items. It also reminded me I had several pieces of clothing that I had set aside for repair. These actions reduced the clutter around my sewing machine. Many items were sent to the basement for storage until needed (e.g., box fan and electric heater).

Also, the newly opened bookshelf space--was partially filled in by books that were stacked on or in front of the bookshelf. Less clutter and easy access to frequently used books on preserving and gardening--bonus for me!

Fix it: That clothing I "found" in the long-neglected to-be-repaired pile? I fixed all of it, washed and sorted the items back into my closet and dresser. That freed up a lot of clutter from one room. However, having all these new items in my closet also reminds me I need to think about a second round of clothing culling.

Just do it: Keeping a list of what I needed to accomplish (cleaning, decluttering, moving items around) and marking them off gave me a sense of purpose as I noted my progress. Plus, I uncovered a lot of floor space that I did not know I had and hey, I have a kitchen table at which several people can eat!

However, this is only my first effort at decluttering the home. While seeing more of my house rather than my stuff is easier on the eyes, my next steps include focusing on specific thinks in each room (e.g., all the papers stacked in my computer armiore) and asking if I truly need to keep the stuff or not.

1 comment:

  1. The $20 rule has helped me alot. If an item is less than $20 then I toss it. For example, I had 6 half-empty cans of paint in the garage for touchup paint. I never use them and a new can costs less than $20 so they have all been taken to the recycle center. Feels great!