We are consumers. Consumers of food (often in excess). Consumers of gossip. Consumers of ideas. Consumers of stress. Consumers of things. By omitting the unnecessary things, we can also help omit the constant excess consumption of other non-tangible items. When our space is more clear, our brains and decisions are more clear. When our brains and decisions are more clear, our life seem a bit more together and happier.
So, you have started this process. You did your job last week by doing a deep clean. Everything is in a spot (even if it’s in the “homeless items” box). The dust and cobwebs and water spots are gone. The floors and counters a cleared. Tell me, how good does it feel?! I know…. grrrrrreat, right!?! Let’s keep moving forward.
Step 2 in my Crap Clean Out strategy is to start weeding through items.
First, you need to have 2 categories of weeding bags/boxes.
- Give Away/Sell Items
- Trash Items
Items of good/decent condition make their way in the first bag. Things that truly are trashed go to the other. Recycle what you can and try to not put more waste in our earth’s soil/atmosphere. Remember your trash could be someone else’s treasure.
Now, you’re ready to start getting rid of the things that caused all the clutter in the first place.
Wait though… before you just dive in head first like a bat-outa-hell, there are a few things to take into consideration. How many times have you done “spring cleaning” just to have to then do “fall cleaning” with the same items you hadn’t seen since spring? Well, my friend, this step is to ensure this won’t happen anymore. It’s simple (notice I didn’t say easy)… just a few questions to ask yourself with each item.
Trash or Keep Questions
- Do I need this? If yes -> keep it. If not -> toss it. (ie: toothbrush or bed)
- Do I want this? If yes -> keep going through steps. If not -> toss it.
- Will I use this again? If yes -> keep going. If not -> toss it. (ie: books)
- Do I have more than one of these? If yes -> toss all but the needed amount. If not -> keep it. (ie: carrot peeler)
- Does this bring me pure joy? If yes -> then keep. If not -> toss it.
Number 5 is a tough one. Not answering this one correctly is what usually leaves people with clutter in the first place. So, be honest with yourself, truly honest. I can’t tell you if something brings you joy. That’s something you have to feel. Does it have a special memory or give you a warm heart every time you see it/wear it/touch it? If you answer these questions honestly, your clutter will reduce significantly!
Now, I’m guessing you don’t have one space in your house, so now, where to physically start? I recommend going room by room or space by space. Don’t try to do it all at once, it’s overwhelming and usually not as productive.
Start in the space that has the least significance to you and work your way to the most significance space. If tossing items is hard for you, it will be nearly impossible if you start with items in a space that you love. If you end in that space, you will be in the habit of getting rid of things and possibly even have less attachment to items because you’ll be ready to be done with this project. For me, I chose to start in my bathroom and end with my books. Make a list of your plan of attack for space order.
Here is a list of spaces to consider. Obviously, every house is different and may add or subtract from here.
- Linen Closets
- Bedrooms (night stands, shelves)
- Clothes Closets
- Dressers/Chest of Drawers
- Junk Drawer
- Living Room
- Dining Room
- Mud Room/Entry Way/Laundry Room
- “Homeless Items” Box
There are a few spaces that have additional strategy for after this project is done.
Closet: Hang all clothes up with the hanger on backwards. Set an alarm on your phone/calendar for 3 months from the day you do this. On that day, any clothes that are still on a backwards hanger, toss!
Kitchen: Count how many people you have in your house that drink out of glasses/mugs or eat off of dishes/utensils? Have enough for 2 per person and the rest go.
Linen Closet: Have max 2 towels sets per person and 2 sets of sheets per bed.
“Homeless Items”: If you can’t find a home for the item that doesn’t turn into clutter, then toss it.
This may take a couple of weeks depending on how much stuff/space/energy you have, but just keeping plugging away. Again, if you’re like me and you love cleaning out crap, you will fly through this in a couple of days. If this is hard for you, then you may take a bit more time. But please, de-clutter at least one space every day until your clutter is gone!
This next part is critical! DO NOT STORE THE “TOSSED” ITEMS…TAKE THEM TO THE DUMP/CHARITY/CONSIGNMENT STORE OF CHOICE RIGHT AWAY! You’ve done the hard work to eliminate the crap, now get it out of your life for good!
Next week we will work on cleaning again, with a bit different strategy.