Keep It Sorted!

in Community, Meditation

Minimizing Clutter Buildup by Megan Marchese.........

I have pack rat tendencies.  I will participate in full blown conversations with myself where I try to convince future me that perhaps one day I may yet again wear that denim Winnie the Pooh vest from 1993, or that I should keep this box, because it’s a really nice box.  And you never know, I could get a call tomorrow from someone asking me if I have a box they could use to ship something with, and I would be able to say yes to all of these imaginary people, if I only I keep all of the boxes that are delivered to my house.  

We all get trapped in the clutter from time to time.  Living during a pandemic with three kids is a recipe for clutter to find its way into all the corners of my house.  But even if I were on my own during this time, I know there would be areas of my house that could easily be described as “unmitigated disasters”.  Now, you can always turn a blind eye to the clutter.  Believe me, there are some no-go areas in my house.  As an alternative, I have a few tips for simple, but effective declutter techniques that won’t get your home photo shoot ready, but will possibly make you breathe a little bit easier in your slightly less cluttered space.  

Be Honest....

Get rid of unnecessary mail and school papers immediately.  I used to let mail pile up until it was ready to tip over and create an avalanche of bills, circulars, coupons, and random donation requests.  I finally found two ways to make that stop.  The first thing I do is go through the mail as soon as I take it out of the mailbox.  Anything I one hundred percent know I will not be needing goes right in the recycling.  This leads into the second thing I do to help with this issue.  Right next to the door is a table with a plastic mail divider on it.  Any mail I’m keeping in the interim goes in that mail divider.  From there I can make the decision of what’s left, and what’s to be done with it.  Coupon for Bed, Bath, and Beyond?  Into the coupon folder you go.  Who knows when I’m going to need something from the Beyond section?  If it’s a bill set to be paid and you’re ready to file, into the (hopefully not to travel) kitchen table pile you go.  

Same principal goes for school papers.  There were years when all three of my kids got the same piles of papers sent home.  And, to add insult to injury, most of the papers sent home were those that I didn’t need one of, let alone three copies of.  Go through those papers right away, and into the recycling bin they go.  Be honest with yourself with all of it.  Are you really going to go to the pizza place that’s five miles away, when you’re perfectly happy with the pizza place a half a mile down the road?  Most likely, no.  So, get rid of the coupon that came in the mail.  It is awesome that your kid got a check on their homework assignment, but do you think that when your kid is twenty-five, they’re really going to want twelve years’ worth of homework assignments handed over in a giant plastic container?  Probably not. Sometimes the decisions on what to keep and what not to keep are tough.  We are good at talking ourselves into a whole lot of things, but once you’ve read the progress report, is it really necessary to keep it for prosperity’s sake?  

End the Traveling.....

Don’t let things travel.  You know the habit.  That pile of paperwork that needs to be filed gets moved from the kitchen table to a countertop to an end table, then maybe taking a weeklong sabbatical on a floor under a chair before making its way to the room where the filing cabinet is, where it will sit for six months before it gets filed, only to realize there is a new pile ready and waiting to go on your kitchen table.  If you have a pile to paperwork to be filed and it’s on the kitchen table- keep it there until you are ready to file it.  You will most likely get to it a lot faster that way, and as an added bonus, there won’t be a second pile hiding out somewhere when you get to filing.  This can be applied to a myriad of things.  Everyone in my house leaves shoes in various rooms on various floors of the house.  Next to the front door we have a shoe basket.  It was either the basket and a bookcase, or a nice, big shoe rack and no bookcase, because there is no space for both in our living room.  I voted for the bookcase.  Hence, basket full of shoes.  So, when I find my fourteen-year-old son’s boats in the basement, he has to take them directly from the basement to the basket and leave them there.  No stopping and dropping in the kitchen, on the stairs, in the hallway.  No pit stops.  Those shoes go from where they were left to where they belong.  It’s not easy, and I am most guilty of leaving things along the stairs on the first floor for things that belong in either a bedroom or, most unfortunately, the attic.  Attic items take the most amount of time to reach their destination.  It’s dusty, not very insulated, and is accessible only through a ladder in the upstairs hallway.  Not the easiest method of travel from one floor to the next. When you keep things from moving from place to place, you keep them in sight and in mind

1 Space at a time.....

Choose one thing to clean out and be proud that you’ve done it.  This can be super tough when you go for something small.  If you choose to clean out your bedroom, or a closet in your house, the results are obvious.  But what about the small things?  The things that no one else sees?  That junk drawer in the kitchen only closes now if you puzzle everything together just right.  Take the time to go through it.  It’s going to take longer than you think to pull everything out and go through it.  And again, be honest.  It’s great you’ve saved two years’ worth of twist ties from the produce section of the grocery store, but let me ask:  In those two years, have you used even one of those twist ties?  Now, you may feel that maybe someday there will be twist ties no more and boy wouldn’t you be sorry to have thrown them all away.  Keep the twist ties.  But going through, finding things big and small to get rid of, and putting things back in a way that perhaps the puzzle of the junk drawer is a little easier, helps you declutter.  And it’s not just the junk drawer.  Pick a section of a closet to do, or even a section of a room.  What’s happening in the black hole in the corner of the living room?  Things keep getting sucked in there and can’t seem to get out.  Even if the rest of the living room is in need of a good dusting and vacuuming, focus on that one corner alone.  Creating small goals to feel good about can help giving you a sense of accomplishment and keeps the inner critic quiet.  Show off your now clean junk drawer.  Jump at the opportunity to give someone a tissue from your newly organized bag.  Marvel at the perfectly rolled rows of socks.  

Spring is almost here, time to shake off the stillness of the winter, and make space for change and growth.  Decluttering is a great way to create that space.  Remember, change does not have to be big to still be change.  These tips may seem like small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but if they make life a little bit more open to potential change, then perhaps they’re worth giving a go.  

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