Posted by Sue on Mar 22, 2010
“I’ve been getting rid of some clutter – anything that doesn’t serve a positive purpose in my life – and making room for things that feel happy to me. Because I get to make my life whatever I want it to be. I get to make the room feel however I want it to feel. I get to make the closet as full or as spacious as I want it. And, if I have more clutter to get rid of after Christmas, I’m not going to wait a year, or two or three to do it.”
~ Jan Denise, American Author, Columnist and Speaker
At the end of this tip, I’ve reprinted a wonderful letter from May, my virtual friend, colleague and client, who lives in Scotland (visit her at: www.delicioushealing.com). We did all our work over the internet, using photos and SKYPE. It was an exciting adventure for us both. [To find out more about "virtual consultations," check our website.] In her letter, May mentions tips that have really WORKED for her and then issues us a huge challenge!
First off, BRAVO May! It is great hearing about your successes! It’s your challenge that I want to address here: Getting Stuff OUT after you’ve sorted it!
I’m impressed by your stalwart resolve to not hide the stuff away, even when company arrives. But, I need to clarify: The MOST important piece in organizing is to not cause yourself undue stress. If you haven’t disposed of the sorted stuff after a week’s time (or by the time company is due to arrive) I strongly suggest that you SCOOP IT: Put it in a box, note the date and contents on the outside and put it in the garage. I can almost hear readers quake, “OH NO! It will just sit there!” Yes, it will just sit there until you move it out; but your living space will be clear and happy. Your living space is part of your prime real estate – where you and your family spend most of your time. As such, it needs to stay clear (or as clear as possible) of miscellaneous clutter.
Other options: Have a friend take away the boxes. Both Sue and I are adamant recyclers. BUT, exactly HOW to dispose of stuff can really tie people up in knots. YOUR time and energy are vital resources – So sometimes the wisest choice, if you really don’t care about the stuff and it isn’t valuable, is to let a friend get rid of it for you without getting caught up in HOW.
I don’t know if it’s allowed in Scotland, but it works well in the States to put things out on the curb with a big sign that says, “FREE.” I will always remember a bulky computer desk which a client and I dragged out to the side of the road. Before we even brought the drawers out, a driver had stopped and asked us to please save it for him – he was going to get a truck. One person’s junk is another person’s treasure!
Regarding a TAKE OUT pile, I suggest having just ONE box that is always ready to deliver to Goodwill or similar place. This works for your ongoing de-cluttering. But when you have a MAJOR DE-CLUTTERING MARATHON you need to plan ahead to move the many boxes you’ll generate OUT, or else the job won’t truly feel complete.
One final suggestion: If your “exit strategy” is truly STUCK, call a friend and commit to a plan. Tell him or her HOW MANY boxes you are exiting from the house, WHERE they are going and WHEN you are taking them there. And, write it in your calendar as well. I also suggest you REWARD yourself in some way, especially if you’ve been really stuck (the stuff has been there over a month).
By now you may have moved it all but do let us know. Sue and I often do the delivery for our clients, leaving their place with our cars stuffed to the gills. If they want a donation receipt we’re happy to get one filled out and mail it to them.
Hope this helps a bit. Thanks VERY much for writing!
Joanna (and Sue)
Thought I’d share my latest, inadvertent, de-clutter – where I used some of your tips,and still have some challenges.
Our student son was short of cash, so I said I’d pay him to paint our living room. Being the most public – and least cluttered – room in the house, I thought this would be easy, and the decorating went smoothly. Having removed all the ornaments etc to the dining room, I remembered your ‘treasure cupboard’ idea, emptied two drawers, and put away most of the ornaments with the idea that each week, one of the four of us could put things away, and put out their chosen pieces for the week. With fewer ornaments dusting is abreeze.
I really like the energy in this room now – and have found myself taking my laptop through to work there! What an unexpected bonus. I would never have thought of starting with the least cluttered room. There was also stuff we didn’t want to keep, so I followed another of your tips – and placed it on and under a small table in the hall. I even resisted the temptation to hide it away in when visitors/clients came. Now, two weeks on, it’s all still there. So, I’m wondering if you have a tip on moving stuff on. There’s a globe, some craft stuff, a coffee table, and something to enlarge drawings.
I guess it could all go the the charity chop, or to Freecycle, yet I’m just not shifting it. Also, a pile of audio tapes, video tapes and some other bits and pieces whose future is still to be decided in the dining room.
This experience has motivated me to tackle our bedroom and also my office again – where things have built up.
So many thanks for your tips, and I’m hoping you have one for me on getting stuff out of the house!