Decluttering and cleaning both give you a new perspective on your home…and in turn, your life. I think when we make space in our home, we also make it in our life. This March, I'll add to this article each day, focusing on ways to make a ‘clean sweep’ of our spaces. Let’s create a little space to grow the things we want in our life…more time and energy for the people, activities, events, and experiences that are what’re really important.
Start by Clearing the Trash
Grab a box or a bin and move around a room…or your entire house…gathering anything that belongs in the trash bin or recycling. This could be food wrappers, soda cans, junk mail, old newspapers or magazines, broken items, and excess cardboard boxes that are too large or small to use for packing donations or items you’re planning to sell.
Whether you do a room, or your entire home will depend on how much time you have for this task as well as how much stuff you have to pick up. Do what will work for you. Remember, doing a little work is better than doing a lot of nothing.
If you find yourself holding something and debating what to do with it, put it down and move on. You can come back to this item later (and maybe, in the meantime, your subconscious will decide what to do with the item). Today, focus on trash and recycling.
After you’ve filled the box that you’ve been carrying with you, sort the items into the trash or recycling bin.
Follow Stuff's Path into and through Your Home
If you’re decluttering the stuff that has taken up residence in your home, you may not quite notice the new things that are coming into your home on a daily (or nearly) basis. What happens to these things when they are brought into your house? Does the path they follow lead them to where these things belong (get stored or readied for the next necessary action)?
Or do they get set down “for a moment?”
Right now, close your eyes and imagine bringing in a package, the mail, shopping bags, your purse, and so on. (You can focus on one thing at a time.) What do you do with these things? What do you wish you did with them? Envision the path you take to bring these things into your home.
If you’re thinking, “I wish I put the mail in a basket near the door,” don’t hurry off to buy a new basket. Instead, put a box, bowl, or basket that you already have in that space. See if you can develop this habit…and that you’re pleased with the results, before you invest a lot of money, time, or energy into your solution.
Do you drop shopping bags of non-perishable items in the corner of a room without putting these things away? Do you then go out and buy more of these items because you forgot you already bought more?
While it may seem premature to focus on organizing stuff that you haven’t yet brought into your home, it is very easy to give all your attention to the things that have been in your home for a while. We can declutter one location while clutter collects in another.
Check out this new article about the cycle of endlessly clearing clutter…and how figuring out why clutter collects, and how to stop it, can help you keep clutter from forming.
Don’t worry about trying to resolve every drop spot for the things that come into your home in a single day. And if something is working for you, don’t change it! But if it isn’t working, use the tips in the article to come up with another solution.