At this time of year, many of you may take stock of your “stuff” and realize that you have too much of it. Whether it’s because Santa is coming to town, your in-laws are coming to town, or you want a clean living space when you return from going out of town, December is the perfect time to master the art of de-cluttering.
“Clutter”, as defined by Peter Walsh, organizer extraordinaire, is “anything that gets between you and the life you want to be living.” Take note that this is not limited to baby toys and boxes of outdated textbooks. Clutter includes emails in your inbox, people who need to hear “no” from you, and unorganized thoughts in your mind that keep you up at night.
Think about it this way: If you are unable to throw out the old, you cannot make room for the new. This applies to all types of clutter.
- For example, when you clear out your inbox, you make room for the new projects and re-charged communication to clients and colleagues that you desire come January.
- When you clear out your children’s toy baskets, books, and closets, you will be ready to sort and store the new gifts without the overwhelm or guilt (especially if you have donated the old).
- When you clear out the baby clothes and textbooks, you will be ready to embrace your future goals and make room for the next phase of your life.
After all, letting go of textbooks does not mean letting go of memories. The all-nighters, the Friday night escapades and the carefree living days of the past still happened and will not be thrown away just because the campus beer mug is.
To get you started, here are some unique tips:
- With sentimental items you never wear or use (the Puerto Vallarta t-shirt), take a photo of them and compile a photo book of “Sentimental Clutter”.
- When de-cluttering, ask yourself: “Is it beautiful or useful?” If no, purge.
- Take one hour this week, choose an inbox, and do nothing but delete for that hour.
- Choose a room and choose a number (master bedroom + 25). Don’t leave the room until 25 items have been removed.
- Take stock of all of your obligations and dare to say “no” to 20% of them. You will be amazed at the breathing space you create.
Before your begin, make a plan that sets you up for success. If you need help with your plan and accountability along the way, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.