Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Decluttering challenge

Last year on one of the message boards that I frequent, we had a challenge to purge 2009 items from our homes. While I didn’t hit that goal, I did come in with 1358 items tossed, donated or gifted. I’m sure there were more that just weren’t counted.

We are doing this challenge again this year, adding an additional item to make the goal 2010. Thanks to trash pickup this morning, last night I was able to purge 132 items.

I’m ashamed to admit that most of those items were very wasteful. We have a pantry in our basement that we both often forget about. Miscellaneous food items have been stored in there for several years. Some expiration dates were over three years old! Additionally, we have a deep freezer in our laundry room – also in the basement. I’ve started pulling the items from the bottom to throw away. Soups and chili that was bagged and frozen in the fall of 2007. Cookie dough made and frozen around November 2006. Some of the items in both places haven’t been consumed simply because our tastes and eating habits have changed. Others were just forgotten about after being stored. Over the next month or two, I plan to toss at least a dozen of these items every week.

Other items that were purged were old magazines and mail. Goodness how the paper piles up. We have boxes of it stored in the spare room closet – thanks to many moves and grad school. Some of the magazines – the more recent ones – I am going to donate for the library’s book sale. The rest are going directly into the trash. This is when having a wood burning fireplace would be lovely. I’d just burn most of this paper. While I know I could – and should – recycle much of the paper clutter, I’m at a point when it is better to just put it in the trash in order to make sure it leaves my house.

Clutter can always be overwhelming, which, at least in my experience, just makes more appear. Hopefully this year we can tackle the clutter in our home and come out much better for it in the end.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on making the dents in your clutter! I love the tie to the year as your goal to declutter.

    Here are some tips as you go through more of your paper -- I have found that it is the #1 reason people contact us for productivity coaching help. They are questions you can ask yourself to make the decision process process easier:

    Does it require any action by me/us?

    Are there tax or legal implications?

    Is it recent enough to be useful?

    Is it difficult to obtain again?

    Is it beautiful, useful or loved?

    Can I identify specific use?

    Does it reflect the person I was or the person I am now?

    What is the worst possible thing that could happen if I get rid of this?

    If you are interested in knowing more about how to use these questions I have more on my blog (not enough room here to type it all) http://www.productiveandorganized.net/2009/06/dart-paper-management-system.html

    To your success!