Simplify Your Life Series - Part 1 Dealing with Clutter
National Simplify your Life week occurred last month, but I missed it because I was too busy. Yes, I do appreciate the irony, but I still think it is a great topic so I have decided to do a series of posts on my blog this week all about simplifying your life.
I am one of those ‘Empty-Nesters’, my children are grown and on their own, so this is the perfect time for me to simplify my life and work on cleaning out the clutter, but it can be really hard to know what to throw away and what to keep. I am very sentimental so I want to keep a lot of things (like the books I read to my kids when they were younger) but even so, there is a great deal of items that I can get rid of.
Nothing seems to complicate my life more than clutter. Important papers go missing, bills get lost in the shuffle and there seems to be a direct correlation between the level of clutter in my house and my level of stress. It may seem like a herculean task sometimes, but there is no time like the present to sit down and finally sort through that stack of papers on your desk/counter. I like to have a box and a trash can nearby. I go through each item and decide whether to deal with (that means today), file (for tax records etc.) or throw away. In today’s era of useful technology, the pile of items to keep can be very small. Invest in a scanner or just use your cell phone as a makeshift scanner and take a quick photo of items you want to keep. This works well for all but a few official records. When you have paid bills and scanned important records, shred and throw away all of those nonessential papers. This is a chore that should be done on a regular basis, I recommend once a week.
Set a weekly (or even monthly) goal to deal with other areas around your house. The junk drawer, the closet that seems to hide everything, make a plan to go room by room and spend 30-60 minutes organizing. I like to bring 3 boxes (keep, donate, throw away). The golden rule of managing clutter is “if you haven’t used it or touched it in over a year – You DON’T NEED IT”. I keep a big box in my garage for Goodwill, when the box is full it’s time to bring the box to Goodwill. If you don't use it lose it!
It is hard work, but getting rid of the clutter will be worth the effort.
Upcoming posts on simplifying your life will include issues of saying No, simplifying your technology, and having a plan.