I know my good intentions often get away from me. I buy the supplies for a project I’ve convinced myself that I’ll get around to – and, nope, it never gets done. It’s difficult to get rid of this stuff. Every time I look at it, I remind myself that I should plan to do the project. However, unless I set the time to do it, it’s unlikely to get done.
And, so, if you’re like me, take a deep breath and admit that although the project was a great idea and you did want to do it when you shopped for the materials, it’s not getting done – this year or next.
Remove this nagging task from your to-do list and the thoughts that scamper around your mind and release the items. Learn more about releasing aspirational clutter.
Maybe, while decluttering or doing some cleaning for the holidays, you’ve discovered a stash of pens worthy of a corporate office or wrapped candles in a quantity that could light your home for a week. Maybe you’ve wondered how you ended up with so many boxes of facial tissue.
If appropriate, share your wealth with a local charity or with friends. Or, group these items so they are stored in one location in your home, so you can best keep track of the inventory you keep.
Remove one thing from your to-do list or eliminate a single expectation you have for yourself. Maybe you make one less trip to a store today. Maybe you remove one item from your menu. Maybe you spend one less hour (or minute) on a task so to free up time to take a breather, sip a cup of herbal tea or go to bed a bit earlier.
Your choice. Step into your garage and select something for permanent removal. However, if this item doesn’t belong to you, look for something that does. You can try to encourage everyone in your home to eliminate one thing from the garage that belongs to them.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Eliminate an item from any storage space in your home.
Grab a trash bag (the size is your choice – anything from a reused store shopping bag to a large lawn & leaf bag) and walk through each room in your home grabbing any obvious trash – used paper plates and napkins, damaged items, stained items, anything unusable. You don’t have to open cabinet doors or drawers or closets, just focus on what’s on the floor or on flat surfaces.
Set a timer for 15-minutes so you don’t get caught up in making this a much longer, more involved task.
Take a quick walk through your home while looking at the photos, artwork, and items you have on display. Is each piece still meaningful to you and your family? Would eliminating some items from your walls create a cleaner look to the room?
Have you purchased drawer organizers, a rolling cart, shelf dividers, or any other organizing tool that hasn’t done its job? Maybe every time you turn the lazy Susan in your spice cabinet, the bottles fall off. Remove the organizer and see it the items stay organized without it. Maybe you’re organizing items that you don’t even need.
You might find that you can use the organizing tool someplace else in your home – give it a try.
You know that thing you’re holding onto that the thought of someone else discovering just makes you cringe? Is there a reason to hold onto it?
I have two quart-size plastic food storage bags packed with cat fur from my long-haired calico. For a year (or, er, longer?), I’ve been collecting the fur every time I brush her with the intention of felting the fur. I even bought a book on felting cat fur and turning the fabric into decorative elements.
I certainly have enough fur for a small decoration. And I just need an hour or so to turn the fur into felted fabric and then make a decoration. Then, I wouldn’t be faced with two bags of cat fur and a book on felting fur.
Okay, I’m writing this at the end of November and so this will post in two weeks … my goal is to finish this project before this task shows up in my email box.
Although it may be easier to focus on clutter that we don’t use, need, or want, items that aren’t put away where they belong are also clutter. If an item has a home, then putting it away quickly eliminates that clutter. However, if you have something that just doesn’t seem to belong anywhere in your home, consider if you just don’t need it.
Remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect or proper place for items; sometimes, you just need to decide where you are going to keep it. If you find that you can’t, or don’t want to, do that for an item, see if that to-be-donated box you keep in the closet is the perfect place.
Maybe you considered getting rid of something earlier in the year, but you didn’t. Whatever the reason, whatever your thoughts and feelings are for the item, you’ve held onto it all the while thinking that you should get rid of it.
Instead of thinking about why you should get rid of the item, consider why you are holding onto it. Does this added clarity help make your decision?
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.