Decluttering

It would seem I am in a perpetual state of decluttering, but the “bug” especially hits me at the beginning of each year.  It just seems like a good time to part with items no longer needed and are in the way.

If you ever need motivation, YouTube is replete with decluttering motivational videos that will inspire you to leave no dust bunny unturned in your quest to purge your life of all that is unnecessary.

This “bug” has hit at a particularly ill timed season for me as I am 5 weeks post-op from a hysterectomy and face another major surgery in just four short weeks!  Combine my quest for purging with my knack for list making and it is a recipe for disaster.  Haha.  Nonetheless, I am writing to encourage those who are not recovering from surgery to consider the advent of a new year as solid ground for re-evaluating the non-essentials and clutter in your life.

Three rules I have found very helpful:

One item in = one item out.  (If you buy a new shirt, donate a shirt, etc.)

If I haven’t used it for a year or more, I’m probably not going to.  Donate it.

Just because someone gave it to you, does not mean you must keep it for life.  No guilt!

The reasons we hold onto “stuff” are complex sometimes.  We tend to think that the proverbial “one day”, we may need it.  No.  We won’t.  Donate it.

I’ve always considered myself a neatnik but even I can hoard things, just in a more controlled fashion.  So, my new question to ask myself is:

“Am I honestly going to use this item in the future?”

Come on, be honest.  If the answer is no, then in the donation bag it goes.

Another hang-up I have had for some time is – If the item has great value, how can I just donate it?  Aren’t I throwing good money away?

I heard a reply to this dilemma once that I really liked.  They said, “Holding onto the item is not going to get your money back.  The money is spent.”

Now, if we can process that and move on, we will have really accomplished breakthrough.  Of course, there’s the option of selling the item, but sometimes we simply need to let it go and donate it.

I am a crafter and have a number of crafting interests.  I’m also an American.  I think that makes me an instant hoarder right there.  Haha.  No, not really, but the potential is definitely there.

I quilt, scrapbook, make cards, crochet, and make wreaths.  Attached to each of these fine crafts are many necessary components.  However, these can easily get out of hand without a storage system in place and periodic purging.  My daughter also enjoys the same crafts minus the quilting (although she has made a rag quilt), so I usually run any discards by her before donating to charity.  She’s always very happy to receive my unwanted items.

Two of the biggest issues we must address when attempting to purge our “stuff” are:

Honesty

Procrastination

If we can simply be honest with ourselves during the decluttering process, we will be in a much better position to simplify our lives than deceiving ourselves into thinking that one day we will use it or need it.

Procrastination is like a second cousin to fear in my opinion.  We are afraid to confront the pile of paperwork because it is taxing, so we dread it, so we never attempt.  The more healthy approach would be to face our fear head on and deal with it.  We generally find at the end of such projects that it was ridiculous to avoid it for so long.  The relief is euphoric.

A licensed personal organizer, I am not.  However, I have been a lifelong neatnik married to, ahem, let’s just say, “not a neatnik”.  He can be very neat and organized.  It’s the maintenance that escapes him.  It’s rather amusing that our three children share his traits but as they’ve gotten older have become more neat (which gives me hope!).  Haha.

Interestingly, after our daughter began working at the local library shelving books, etc., she became more attuned to order and everything in their places.  Her room became a reflection of that and she even applied the Dewey Decimal System to her own personal library.

I think most people generally enjoy order.  We think more clearly and accomplish more without clutter.  Once we move past the things that hinder a more simplified life, we are free to be more creative and productive.

 

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