Third Step to Organized: When in Doubt, Throw it Out

My sink is clean.  My routines are getting done 90% of the time.  And I’m ending week number 3!  If I can keep this up for just another month, this will be the longest new habit I’ve ever purposely gotten myself to learn that I can remember.  (Yeah… that’s how bad I am!)  Or maybe its a problem with my memory….     anyway…

What’s next?  Tossing junk out and de-cluttering the home. What do we do to minimize all the clutter?  A few things.  First we start with the rules.

1.  Form a new habit of getting rid of it before it starts. Anytime you buy something new, throw out a similar item.  If you buy new sneakers, immediately throw out the old ones you are replacing.  If there is nothing old of a similar item, then throw out two unrelated things.  (I make the exception with books, movies, or anything where we are adding to a category that we WANT to grow.  But that is just us.  I don’t think we have enough stuff to get rid of to not have exceptions to the rule.)  NO EXCEPTIONS IF YOU HAVE ROOMS THAT HAVE NO FLOOR BECAUSE THEY ARE PILED WITH STUFF!!!  That defeats the whole purpose.

2.  Know where the nearest donation centers are and what types of things they accept. This will help you know what to throw straight into the trash/recycle bins, or what to put in a box to take out to the car.

3.  Don’t think too hard; when in doubt, throw it out… or box it for the season and see if you can decide later. Have you used it in the last 6 months?  Does it still fit?  Do you still like it?  This method goes with those unwanted gifts, too.  You know all those things over the years that people have given you that don’t fit the decor of the house, doesn’t fit, never read, broken,  so you have it boxed up… yeah, those!  If you aren’t going to hang it, wear it, or use it for its purpose… THROW IT OUT!  Those you’re afraid to offend are not going to see it sitting in the box either*  (And people, don’t be too offended if someone doesn’t like your gift.  We’ve ALL done it.  Most of the time it is the THOUGHT and EFFORT that counts more than the gift itself.)

Not too many rules, right?  Easy to remember. But, wait!  What do we do with the clutter we ALREADY HAVE???

If your house is really bad than I would recommend what she calls the 27 Fling Boogie.  Basically, everyday grab a box or trash bag and quickly run through the house and collect 27 items to trash or donate.  This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes!  If there is a room that you can’t even enter because it has THAT much stuff in it, don’t stress.  Include it in your daily throw-out with a minimum of 5 items each round.  It may take a few months, but you’ll have that room back for use with very little effort on your part.

If your house is fine but could use a little work than I would recommend sectionalizing the place.  Choose 1 spot a week or month or however often you feel is necessary and declutter that one area.  Choose small areas that you can go through in less than 20 min. You could choose the computer desk, your craft drawer, the kitchen table, the pantry, pots and pans, movies, ect.  If those areas are really bad, break it down even further.  If your craft drawer is more like a craft center, then choose a specific craft or specific drawer, and JUST do that.  Set a timer to make sure you don’t get carried away.  Unless you have the whole afternoon to kill.  Then, GO FOR IT!

Remember! The whole point of the exercises is to do a little here and a little there.  We are learning habits.  If you go too big and get it all done too quickly, it will just build up again because you didn’t have enough time to make it a habit.

So far, for me, I’ve gone through my shoes, my clothes, and rearranged where I put my cooking books (back in the kitchen, thankfully).  Next stop:  I’d really like to organize my study space.  I don’t really have ONE place.  This has resulted in my ‘study materials’ to be spread all over the house.  Some by the bed, some on my desk, some in a few corners, some on the kitchen table…  Talk about clutter, right?  I’d like to keep everything by my computer but I only have one of those small computer desks.  SUGGESTIONS???

*Disclaimer:  I apologize to whoever has given me gifts that I no longer have.  That includes all those cute little Valentines from elementary school, or mass Christmas presents from middle school.  I’m sorry.  I really am.  But each of them was very appreciated!
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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Third Step to Organized: When in Doubt, Throw it Out

  1. Merry

    You could be a basket to put by your computer desk that’s for all your study materials. Then they’d be by the desk, even though you don’t have space for them on it, and they wouldn’t be spread around or in a pile (I have a problem with piles…meaning, I pile stuff all the time!).

  2. yostkm

    This is why I like moving every year or so. I love to throw things out as I am packing (mainly because I don’t want to pack it). And poof… My apartment is clutter free. Now if I could just do the same thing without actually moving.

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