Clutter is Simply Decisions not Made
There are many decisions in a day, week, month, year….and as we put them aside, clutter is the result.
As we resolve to turn over a new leaf this year, one of the most challenging things we face is organizing all of our stuff. I don’t know about you, but I find that there are things lurking in places I hadn’t expected…and what I’m faced with is a task of making decisions that I should have made days, weeks, even months ago. But I just put it in a pile, drawer, or box until I find the time to get down to business with it.
Unfortunately, especially if it’s been put out of sight, it’s also out of mind. Even unattended stacks in your inbox (physical or email) is a token of your procrastination with decision-making…which has turned into clutter. Sadly, as days, weeks, months pass, the clutter rises around us because making a decision about it requires time and as time goes on, we create an abundance of time-consuming clutter with which to deal. If only we had taken the few minutes to file, discard, or find a permanent place for each item in a timely matter!
Clutter is also an energetic block. It takes up physical and energetic space, and compromises fresh energy, ideas, and flow. When you can’t find something because it’s crammed in a box, drawer or stack, it slows you down and takes more time than if you’d eliminated or organized it to begin with. So, now we are faced with organizing a lot of stuff that we most likely didn’t even remember we had.
This year, set an intention to make decisions as they occur…and to keep only those things you really need, use and love. The fewer things you have, the less there is to organize! Here are some ways to simplify your life. What you do with the things you don’t need is your decision but try spreading the joy around. If you didn’t need it, then pass it on to someone who can use it. Donate usable items to a school, shelter, non-profit or charitable organizations such as St. Vincent de Paul that give the items directly to those in need. It’s good karma. Let’s get started!
- Eliminate all duplicate and triplicate kitchen gadgets & cookware
- Eliminate all appliances, gadgets, dishes and cookware that you don’t use
- Keep only the items you actually use in your frig and pantry. If you haven’t used it in the past year, out it goes.
- Eliminate office supplies that you don’t use and excess supplies. Donate to a school or non-profit.
- Go through your bookcase and make some decisions about the books that are dear to you, or are resources you use. Remember, some books may contain outdated material that can be researched on the internet or at the library. I donated several shelves of old design/architectural books. Fiction & non-fiction books can be donated to military/veteran support groups, shelters, senior centers, and libraries. Children’s books can be donated to schools, shelters, and non-profit children’s programs.
- Go through your closet and eliminate anything that you haven’t worn in the past year for any number of reasons. The same goes for shoes.
- Eliminate excess or dried up craft/painting supplies. If you haven’t managed to get around to a project you’ve been wanting to do, either schedule it into the next 6 months or eliminate it.
- Be selective about bedding you keep. If it’s not in good repair, get rid of it. Sheets and bedding that’s threadbare or otherwise in poor repair shouldn’t deserve space. That goes for pillows. And how many extra pillows do you really need? Wash the extras and take them to a shelter or homeless encampment. Do NOT add them to the waste stream since most pillow filling doesn’t biodegrade.
- Donate board & card games that you no longer play to veteran support groups, senior homes, afterschool programs, and homeless shelters.
- Toys should be in a continual cycle of receiving & giving back. It teaches children compassion and generosity. Donate clean and usable items to local children’s wards, family shelters, military family organizations, local children’s care centers or St. Vincent de Paul (they give all donated items to needy families)
- Eliminate tools that are duplicates or are not in good repair.
- Excess/expired personal care products: all those lotions and potions that you never use and the travel size ones from the hotels you’ve visited. Donate what’s unsealed to shelters and for extra bonus points, share the other products at homeless encampments.
- Other people’s things…notify people who have left things (yes, including grown children) to pick them up. If they don’t want them, donate them. Their energy shouldn’t be taking up space in your space.
- Things without a match (odd lid or odd sock) and that can’t be used in their current state (e.g., broken)…including all those unidentifiable objects in your junk drawer.
- If you have holiday décor that you don’t use, get rid of it. Also, don’t relegate precious real estate to excess décor when you need it for other things. Maybe it’s time to rethink and simplify your décor.
- Only keep art that is truly meaningful. If it’s a poster, it’s not really art. If that’s all you can afford, that’s one thing….but everything in your home should have meaning to you. If it’s only there to fill a space and you don’t LOVE it, then remove it and open that space energetically for the piece that’s meant for you. A local artist would be delighted that a piece, which they lovingly created, hangs on your wall. Another thing people do is OVER-decorate their walls. How on earth can you appreciate any one piece when there are so many clumped together? “Gallery” walls are a misnomer. Go to a gallery and you’ll see that each and every piece has pride of place.
- If you don’t have space for it, it’s clutter. I see so many homes packed to the corners with furnishings and other items. Use an editorial eye and pare it down. Not everyone is a minimalist, but too much of a “good” thing is simply too much. Have a garage sale or call Habitat for Humanity ReStore, DMV or Goodwill to pick up excess furnishings.
- If the memory attached to an item is negative, don’t keep it. If you only keep it out of guilt, don’t keep it. Everything in your space should have purpose and be meaningful in a positive way.
If you need an on-site cheerleader, contact me on this website or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. As a military dependent who moved constantly for many years, I became a master at simplifying.