Friday, March 19, 2010

Conquering Clutter!

It always happens in spring- the air becomes warm, and you want to open your windows- but you can't, because all kinds of miscellaneous stuff is stored against them. Great for insulation, but not good when you want to rid your home of Houseitosis- the homemaker's version of bad breath.

So you take the stuff off of the window sills (the cats helped me remove my plants by knocking most of them off) and place all that stuff somewhere else- any flat space will do. But then you realize there aren't anymore flat spaces. You have now run out of spots to store things!

I'm a packrat by nature, but when things get a bit too much, I do have the will power to remove what's bothering me. It isn't easy, but it can be done!

Trust me on this- you are talking to a woman that used to have over sixty boxes of crafting supplies that travelled with her through three moves. And a lot of it was still brand new in the package!

The first decluttering took me nearly two years to complete, from the attic to the basement. Now we do an annual cleanout, just so my hubby and I are sure I don't collect and store anymore treasures. You would be amazed at just how much one woman can accumulate and promptly forget about!

One trick I used to use was the Transfer Method- scooping everything up and putting it somewhere else, just to make the one area look good- at least for a little while. But then something else would come up, and I would have to tidy another area, and back the stuff went- along with other clutter from the other spot. After a while that became really annoying, and I finally realized that it's time to get rid of some things.

And that can be a really scary thought!

I also have another character flaw- I get overwhelmed rather easily. And just thinking about going through all that stuff makes me want to crawl in a hole somewhere and hide. But I can't, since I stored some other stuff in that hole from the living room a few months ago. With nowhere to hide, I took out one of my 18-gallon tote containers (which was surprisingly empty!), and started loading it up with the clutter that littered my desk.

My goal was to empty at least one spot of clutter (or until the tote was full), and go through it when I watch TV. Time passes much faster when you do this, and it doesn't seem like such a hassle because you're distracted. Most of the stuff I saved wound up in the recycle bin, and by the time I had emptied the tote, I had very little to organize. Then I sorted everything and put it away before starting the next spot.

Dump, sort, repeat. Your place will start looking better almost immediately, and most of it will probably be going to the recycling plant or the thrift store. 'Going Green' feels good!

If you get overwhelmed like me, start small- one shelf, your desktop, a kitchen counter...whatever it is, just start small. It won't be long before you can walk into a room and smile in stead of groan!

I'm happy to say I can now open most of my windows, and the fresh air feels and smells wonderful! But don't worry, I promise I won't let all this cleaning go to my head- No being a perfectionist, like dusting the cats, for instance. Just keep things neat enough that I can smile when I walk into the room.

And you can too!


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