Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Purge-athon Part 3: General Clutter

It's called a Purge-athon for a reason.  It took an entire week.  It took 100% of my time and attention.  It involved every room in my house.  And that's why I planned this for the week when all my family was out of town.

Clutter is serious business.  You can't reason with clutter; you can't treat it politely; you have to be vicious.  My particular method of dealing with clutter is downright anti-social.  Maybe even illegal in some states for all I know.  (Look out!  I'm an organizational renegade, I am!)  Basically, it goes like this:
  1. Drag all the junk out into the open.  And all means ALL!
  2. Throw out the trash.
  3. Pack up all the donate-ables.
  4. Put things you intend to keep in their final proper place.
I know that sounds super simple, but in fact there are plenty of ways to screw it up.  Avoid the following pitfalls:

Yes, it is going to make a huge mess.  That's called motivation.  When you see several years' worth of crapola splayed out all over your living space, you'll be inspired to end the madness once and for all.

You won't be tempted to "leave well enough alone" and skip over things that are at least out of sight.  That is probably how you got into this mess, and so those are the things you need to handle most of all.

You will be less tempted to hold onto things if you recognize the extent of your excess.

Finally, when you determine the best place for something you wish to keep, there won't already be a bunch of stuff there.

If it's no good, if you never used it, if it got ruined, get it out.  The fact is, you wasted your money the second you paid for the thing.  The sin has already been committed, and continuing to give that useless thing space in your home only serves to remind you of your mistake.  Forgive yourself, consider it tuition for a lesson learned, and let the thing go.

Whenever I feel liking clinging to something that is really no longer useful to me, I make up stories about what should happen to it.  For instance, when I left the workplace, I had a professional wardrobe that could have hung beautifully in my closet for years to come.  Oh, the memories!  I can still picture the day I wore that nice tweed number to a meeting with the auditors... HAH!

Instead, I picture a shabby but deserving girl coming across that lovely suit at the thrift store a few days before her big job interview.  I imagine her wearing it and feeling confident and professional as she lands the job that will be the first step in a brilliant and successful career...  Okay, that probably didn't happen, but so what?  It's okay to pretend, especially if it means never for one moment missing any of the things you decide to give away.

You may like it.  It may have sentimental value.  It may be priceless...  but unless you have a place to put it, you can't keep it.  Give it to your kid, sell it at a consignment shop, donate it to a museum, whatever...  but if it doesn't have a place, it has to go.  Trust me.  It has to go.

Here's the good news, though:  if you really worked steps 1 through 3, you probably have plenty of places to stash away all the good stuff you like and use and really want to keep.  Do so with my blessings!

1 comment:

  1. I was laughing all the way through this, especially the feeling guilty about wasting. So true! The feeling after you get through the purge though is so awesome. Just got to finish. These tips are great.