Friday, June 24, 2011

5 Ways To De-Clutter

I struggle with messiness, clutter, and too much stuff just like most people I know. Up to a point.  But don't you have those times when you feel like you simply must clean out and de-clutter or you will self destruct?  I do! Even so, sometimes it feels like a never-ending battle. Just going to the mailbox can provide you an hour's to-do list. Saving what must be saved, and putting it "somewhere" in an organized manner takes time doesn't it.

That which no longer serves me in any way needs to go.  I want my environment to reflect who I am and I hope that includes "calm and peaceful".  If I have clutter everywhere, anxiety and overwhelm start to creep in.

Here are 5 ideas that work for me:

1.  Open the mail while standing by the trash can. Got junk mail?   Get rid of it immediately.  Shred it or recycle, but just get rid of it in the moment.

2.  I worked  in a field with an endless amount of paperwork; the bottomless stack just never went away.  Then one day I went to a seminar that challenged us to put a dot on a piece of paper (in upper right hand corner) every time we handled it.  That was just to raise our individual awareness to realize how often we pick up a paper, then put it somewhere else, only to pick it up again later.  When your paper begins to look like it has the measles, you know you have a problem.  Now, when I read a paper that I do not need to keep, I rip it in half that very moment. Whether I am at the library, in the car, or at church, the decision is made it or keep it.  If I ever run into a ripped sheet, I don't even look it.  It's a goner.

3.  If I am somehow emotionally connected to an item and I really want to keep it, then it needs a special place.  I have several special places.  One is a BIG ole Bible my Grandmother gave me when I got married. A lot of "special family stuff" goes in there.  What a treasure trove it is!

Other meaningful things I love go in plastic pages in a 3-ring keepsake notebook.  I can enjoy these things a lot more frequently because I know where they are.  A quicker pile-reducer than scrapbooking.

4.  I think laminating machines rock! It was on my wish list and I got one for Christmas.  Some things I love so much I want them to be in sight...or I might want to share them with others and they may be handled a lot.  These things get laminated.  I just love the permanence.  Nobody is going to throw away a laminated colorful, personalized, poem, photo, drawing, quote, note, scribble or otherwise without taking a second look.  Works for me.  The cheapest place to laminate is probably your main library.  It can be quite pricey elsewhere.

5.  My last favorite practical declutter idea is online banking.  Every bill I pay is set up in online banking and most are on automatic pay.  I get to pick the day they are paid so I am "in total control"....and I do love being in control! Just ask my husband.  If I am sitting with a stack of bills, I open one, keep the part containing the essential information, and rip the rest in half....on it's way to the trash can, shredder, or recycle.  A quick look at online bill pay allows me to make sure I have the correct payment set up.....and if not, to do so right then.  Then all papers are ripped and disposed of...right then. 

6.  I know I said 5 but I can't leave out Goodwill.  Keep a box.  The moment you think "I don't need this, want this, or like this", go put it in your Goodwill box.  Quickly...before you change your mind. 

Tricia Molloy, author of Divine Wisdom At Work and motivational speaker, often speaks of the value of cleaning out your space.  Here is an excerpt from her teachings: 

"Clutter distracts and confuses us and drains our energy. It often keeps us from doing what’s most important and gets in the way of our goals. There’s a universal law that states: The universe abhors a vacuum. So, when we clear away the physical clutter (like a messy office), as well as the emotional clutter (the regrets, resentments, toxic people and unnecessary obligations) and technical clutter (e-newsletters you don’t read and an over-reliance on your cell phone), we make room for the universe to fill it with what serves our highest good. Commit to begin cleaning out the clutter today."  Amen, I say.
Have fun cleaning out!  Gosh I didn't even think about the refrigerator.  Now that's another story altogether, isn't it!  My cousin calls theirs "the museum".  Get it?

Enjoy the day!