Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Don't love it, need it or use it? Just toss it!

The miniature lighthouse, a holiday souvenir, sits on a shelf gathering dust. A juicer is abandoned beneath the sink after only 6 months of use. Past birthday and Christmas cards overflow from a credenza drawer that won't close. And of course, there's the myriad of shoes, replaced by newer styles, but never discarded, taking up space in the hallway closet. After all they might be good for...gardening, painting, you name it! Come to think of it, those worn out stilettos make great gardening shoes, and of course, the higher the shoe the better for reaching above door frames with a paintbrush!

Yes, we hold onto things, telling ourselves it's "Just in case I need it one day." According to Marla Cilley, the inimitable Flylady and Queen of Decluttering, those items we keep--that we do not love, need or use--only take up valuable real estate. At the current cost of square footage, have we ever given thought to what this amounts to over time? Not to mention, the emotional cost!

Clutter has the potential to stifle our creativity and our productivity. When we surround ourselves with clutter, our life risks being cluttered and thus so does our mind. Clutter never subtracts; it only multiplies as clutter begets more clutter. Have you ever told yourself that you'll get around to that (writing, painting, etc.) project or hobby, once you clear things out of a certain space or room? Somehow the clearing out never happens and instead, you may find yourself feeling guilt and resentment. As Flylady aptly says, "You can't organize clutter; you have to get rid of it to find yourself."

These quick tips, based on the Flylady approach, will help get you started attacking the clutter bug:

  • Approach clutter 15 minutes at a time. Your room or space didn't get that way over night. Rather than declutter an entire room and feel overwhelmed doing so, instead, tackle one drawer or one shelf. You'll be amazed at the results, which will motivate you to clear more spaces.
  • Get 3 boxes: one for items to give away, one to recycle and one for trash. Then, according to Flylady, just fling! Be ruthless as you ask yourself: "Do I love it? Do I need it? Do I use it?" Take pictures of special items such as your child's art/school projects--these take up very little space on a hard drive.
  • Make sure you put those boxes or bags OUT. It's still clutter if you bag or box it and then store it!
  • When you bring a new item home, get rid of the old one--search and replace! Immediately.
  • Maintenance is key! Don't let clutter build. If you wait until "spring cleaning" time, you'll be overwhelmed. Get into the habit of getting rid of clutter regularly.

Whatever your creative pursuits, wouldn't that creativity flow better unencumbered by clutter? There are many parallels here that can be applied to good writing; look for it in a future post. To learn more about decluttering your home, your life and your mind, visit www.flylady.net. Now, to echo the Flylady, go fling that clutter!

2 comments:

  1. I so need to do this to my daughter's room. I just can't do it when she's around. She won't let me throw anything out!

    Most areas have a freecycle board. You list stuff you don't want and someone else comes to take it away. You'd be surprised at what you can find (and get rid of, in my case) this way!

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  2. Hello Vicki:
    Thanks for visiting and for your great tip re: freecycle. It can be difficult to declutter a child's room as they like to hang onto everything in their world. My son was and at almost 18 still is like that. Depending on your daughter's age, you might want to visit the housefairy.org site. She gives wonderful ways of involving your child in the room decluttering/cleaning process that are fun and creative.

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