Oh man, I’m really bad at this.
But I figure everyone’s got one, so we ought to have a decluttering stuff post too.
#1: My method of decluttering is to not buy stuff to begin with (except books, but I declutter books by buying bookcases…and sending stuff to the relative who is a reader). And to move every few years… when I move stuff gets taken to goodwill or tossed. About once or twice a year I gear up for a big Goodwill trip and allow DH to remove perfectly nice clothing that he looks nice in but just never wears. He jettisons as much stuff as he can at those points as my natural tendency is pack-rat. Throughout the year as we get gifts we don’t want and so on, we keep a big former TV cabinet as the goodwill cabinet and stash stuff there.
I feel most comfortable with a few papers or books lying around where they don’t belong. It reminds me of home. When I was growing up, I sorted things by strata– newer stuff was on top, older stuff closer to the carpet.
#2: I sometimes read stuff like Unclutterer, not that it really helps, but at least it makes me keep thinking about decluttering and keep that in mind. I too have a particular place where I store stuff to go to Goodwill, and take it over there on a regular basis. (Infrequent, but it happens.) Clothes are the thing I turn over most, because of my changing size and/or taste and/or context of life. You can find some excellent name-brand items to buy at Goodwill. I am working on a better way to store them, too. For books, I try to use Bookins, which my MIL also loves. If a book sits around for a while and it’s not moving on Bookins, I might throw it in the Goodwill bag. I cull books rarely but also regularly.
(images from Things Organized Neatly)
For some things, often including paper and other types of mementos, I have what I call “the emotional statute of limitations”. If I feel like something has emotional value to me and I would miss it, I stick it in a box or file cabinet and keep it. Example: Some of the writing I did in high school. Every once in a while I go through these areas looking for things I no longer need or want. (Example: Some of the writing I did in high school.) For a long time I kept Playbills from shows I saw downtown with my family. They made me feel sophisticated and cultured when I was young, and they brought back good memories. I recently went through several dozen of them and recycled almost all of them. I still have the memories and I no longer need the items.
On the other hand, there is something to be said for clutter. I keep things in front of me to remind me they’re there. My desk at work is cluttered and I use it all the time; the “clutter” is usually made of things I am working on at the time or need to work on soon. My home desk is like this too, but less organized. I sort of like un-organized stuff, as long as you know where it is, but I don’t want to have so much of things that they overwhelm me. Let’s not hate on clutter. Clutter is not the same as disorganized. I find uncluttered places (especially minimalist ones!) to be a little restricting and sterile. They make me feel uncomfortable.
Ok, blog readers, it’s question time. Clutter: do you or don’t you?