SIMPLE WAYS TO CLEAR YOUR CLUTTER
Ah, spring is finally springing here. Time to throw open some windows & let the air & light in. Time to pack up the boots & coats & hats &… what’s that pile (still) doing over there? & Oh, my! Would you look at that life-sized dust bunny scampering across the floor every time the wind blows?
It’s time, dear Masetros, to deal with both the wanted & unwanted stuff that has filled up in your space. But don’t fret… I’ve got some simple ways to help you clear your clutter.
It’s not rocket science, really… but for some reason we get so stuck when it comes to our stuff. It can literally begin to weigh you down & immobilize you just by thinking about it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
MAKE CLEARING CLUTTER FUN
Let’s make a game out of it. Games are always a fun way around things, don’t you think? Let’s play “I’m moving & I gotta fit it all into a Uhaul.”
*Yes, I realize we don’t all currently live in an smallish apartment & may have collected vast amounts of stuff to fill our larger spaces over the years, but suspend reality for a while, won’t you? Like I said, it’s a game. & it just may work for you.
You will need four boxes (not many for a move, right?!) & a whole lot of fortitude.
HOW TO PLAY THE CLEARING CLUTTER GAME:
1. Start with one room only to avoid overwhelm. Maybe the one with the least amount of stuff if you’re not feeling motivated, like, say… the bathroom.
*Do not consider your closet. The closet is a game best saved for later, when you’re feeling strong, clear, calm & confident. Because there’s nothing like a neon pair of pegged pants from the 80s (two sizes too small no less) to send you into an existential frenzy. Or a pair of shoes, still in the box, to make you feel ashamed. Adornments are a direct expression of who we are. Going through them is like excavating the soul in some ways. We’ll do that one another day.
2. Scan the room. How does it make you feel? Now this might seem like a stupid question, but our environment has a strong pull on how we respond neurologically. Is your bathroom a place of sanctuary, where relaxing showers & baths occur? Or is it a ramshackle mess stuffed with twelve different kinds of lotions, cosmetics or vitamins that are ten years old & every towel you’ve ever had since you started living on your own? I’m not judging the juice here. Just asking you to take an honest look at your space & notice how it makes you feel.
3. Touch everything in the room. Go on- open the drawers, the cabinets. Touch it ALL. Chances are you’ll start wondering why, in fact, you have 27 lipsticks all in the shade of pink or five half-filled cans of shaving cream that you didn’t realize you actually had.
While touching each item, ask yourself right then & there where it will live. Your choices are:
- Back where it came from.
- In the TO BE TRASHED or RECYCLED boxes.
- In the DONATION box (though I don’t recommend donating much from the bathroom!).
- In the I’M NOT SURE YET box.
Put the item, ON FIRST IMPULSE, where it will go. Do your best not to spend five minutes (or even two) agonizing over what to do with said item in your hand.
Then count your blessings. You aren’t moving really, are you? (That’s another game, too).
4. Go for a walk, do some yoga or any other sort of physical activity that makes you feel GOOD. Or take a nap if you think you need it. Just looking at all your shit can wear you out. You’ve earned yourself a good hard snooze.
5. Go back in. Scan the room again. Stay for more than a few minutes & really notice if anything, at all, has shifted for you by clearing that space & letting go of some of the stuff that was really just taking up space in your home & your life.
6. Play the game in every room. Bring in a non-judgmental friend if that feels less overwhelming & more fun. Give yourself time, but not so much time that you agonize over it for weeks. Some rooms might take a few days. If you give yourself a deadline, like pretending your lease is up by a certain date, you will have more mojo to accomplish it sooner than later.
7. DEAL WITH THE BOXES. Do not, on any account, let that stuff stick around in plain view. Your efforts & intentions will go slowly out the window… as you begin to start poking around in those boxes, second guessing your decisions. Drop the donation boxes off or have them come pick up the furniture you are no longer loving or needing. Recycle what you can & trash the rest.
As for the “I Don’t Know” Boxes… Get some packing tape & seal that sucker up. You can label it if you choose, if you can figure out what to call it all. Write a date that is 6 months from now on it & store it: attic, basement, closet… preferably a space that you don’t use very often.
God forbid you need to pay for a storage unit, though if you do, you’ll hardly be alone. According to the Self Storage Association’s 2013 Fact Sheet, nearly ten percent of American households have storage units averaging approximately 46,500 square feet each. That’s a lot of stuff in a fair amount of space. Factor in the average $145 monthly costs for it, & you’ve got yourself a hefty annual bill for a whole load of stuff that isn’t doing very much to serve you. (Wouldn’t that fifteen hundred plus dollars be better spent on plane tickets to Bali or donation to someone in Bali who doesn’t even have a pot to piss in?)
In 6 months, decide if you want to open that Pandora’s box or not. Chances are, if you don’t even remember what’s in it, it’s not being missed. Donate it.
If you really MUST open it, do so, but do so with a discerning eye & visualize where it will “live” once you take it out & mix it with the things you live with daily. Otherwise you’ll find yourself right back where you started, & probably not very happy about that fact at all.
So, are you ready? What stuff will you tackle first? What stuff seems to be ever creeping & wreaking havoc into your potentially peaceful abode? Wave that magic BE GONE wand & make it go…AWAY.
& don’t buy anything else if you can help it. But that, my friends, is another post entirely…
Cricket Desmarais is a true virgo with a love of order & a sense of Zen minimalism. She does, however, have two small children who contribute to the continual flotsam & jetsum of doo-hickeys & paper piles in her home, which makes her crazier than she already often feels. Her daily practice of this game helps keep things under control. Or at least the illusion of it, anyway… Find out how Cricket can help you with your business & creative mojo by clicking HERE.