“Everybody’s gotta have a little place for their stuff. That’s all life is about. Trying to find a place for your stuff.” — George Carlin
When I was making my first cup of coffee this morning, I went to retrieve a coffee mug from my see through glass paneled pantry cabinet and as I looked up, noticed that these cabinets were housing an array of coffee mugs, vases, cookbooks, pitchers, popcorn bowls and several other items that don’t get used on a regular basis and while my coffee was brewing, I thought to myself, “I really need to weed out all the junk in these two cabinets”. After I poured my coffee, I thought about the cabinet space directly below it that is closer to the floor. That space is occupied by more cookbooks, large serving trays that only come out on holidays, old food storage containers and place-mats. I realized that we only really use 2 of the cookbooks on a regular basis that occupy the space in these cabinets and maybe 2 or 3 sets of the place mats come out into regular rotation.
So I started to make a mental inventory of what I could get rid of from that space, but as I was making that list in my mind, I would veer off to the unused tablecloths and tea set in my dining room sideboard and the pile of refrigerator magnets in my junk drawer and some of the Christmas presents that I received months earlier still sitting in their original boxes on a shelf in my bedroom closet. All of a sudden, I was feeling completely overwhelmed and my head was spinning with thoughts of where I should start this purge?, and when do I have the time?, and just like that, it usually gets put on the waaaay back burner and this exercise is in jeopardy of not getting accomplished.
My husband, myself and our brood moved into our current house, only a few short years ago. Our previous house was approximately 1600 square foot, and as the kids started to get much bigger, we always seemed to be on top of one another. So we moved into our current house that has approximately 2800 square feet, much better when it comes to breathing room and personal space for all of us. When we were getting ready to move from our old house, we needed to get rid of a lot of stuff, after all, there were many years of accumulated crap. We had at least two garage sales, donated countless boxes of clothes and household items and threw out bag after bag of trash, and this was all before we even packed our first moving box. At the time, it was overwhelming and a huge hassle. I never wanted to have that undertaking again.
I dislike clutter and as I have mentioned before, my home decorating style is minimalist. There are not a lot of knick knacks donning the flat surfaces in the rooms of my house, simply because I despise cleaning all of it. However, it appears as though my closet and cabinet spaces area a different story. So, because I didn’t learn my lesson during the time of our move, we apparently, still have a huge abundance of stuff.
The problem is the thought of spending the time to go through it to get rid of it. When I think about it; I get discouraged and feel completely overwhelmed. I know I have to do it, but it becomes something I procrastinate on. However, then it becomes this double edged sword, and then seeps into my thoughts, day and night and I think…”yeah…I really have to get to that”.
Yes, I am aware of the “one in…one out method” and I really do try to adhere to that, and I also am very aware of designating a specific day to tackling this clutter dilemma. The problem is working up the ambition to do it, because that feels like such a massive undertaking.
So I have decided to take a slightly different approach. This upcoming weekend, I plan on picking up at least 2 moving boxes, assembling them and come Monday afternoon, plop them down in the middle of my kitchen, bedroom closet or in the middle of my living room. I am going to start my timer and give myself 30 minutes to physically touch items and determine if it is something that has seen the light of day in the past 6 months and if it stays where it is, goes into the box designated for donation or the box marked for trash. When my 30 minutes is up, I will be done with this exercise for the day and I will put the boxes into the garage and if they are not full, pull them out on Tuesday, Wednesday, etc…until the two boxes are full.
Once I have filled the two boxes, they will go to their final destinations either out on the curb on trash day, or dropped off to the donation bin at our closest Goodwill. Then I will repeat the process the following week. Even though it is going to take me quite some time to go through my house using this method, I know that I will still feel a sense of accomplishment and I will be achieving my goal of decluttering my “stuff”, albeit 30 minutes at a time, and I will certainly be making a more contentious effort, while I am out….not to bring home more stuff!