Yup, that’s me, an organizing freak.
So I have an idea for getting rid of clutter in your house. If you care about clutter in your house …. which I do. I live in about 4-1/2 small rooms, and clutter makes a big difference. Space is valuable around here. So anyway – every year in early January I do an inventory of all the stuff, a.k.a. loot, which entered my living quarters as a result of the holidays. I count all the different items we got for Christmas, except for food items of course which I have already nom’d by then. Nom nom. :-) Say the number is 20. (If you have a lot of siblings, which both my husband and I do, the Christmas presents can really add up.) So then I have to go through the house and find the same number of objects which I don’t need or don’t use anymore, and I put them in bags to be either donated or thrown away. Got that? So for every item that came into the house, you have to choose an item that will leave the house. It’s like a game. Yes, this is the twisted thinking of an organizing freak.
Now if you’re even MORE freakish than I am, you can make this “game” harder. You can make the items “match.” So if you got three items of clothing, you have to get rid of three items of clothing you don’t need/like/wear anymore. If you got something for the kitchen, you have to get rid of something in your kitchen. If you got a book, you have to get rid of a book. WAIT!! No, forget I said that. You can never have too many books. That’s the gospel truth.
Anyway, I don’t take it that far, although that extreme approach kind of makes sense to make sure that you’re not all LAME and CHEAT. Cheating is when you have to get rid of 20 items so you go dig in your bottom drawer and find 20 pairs of cruddy old socks you never wear anymore and you throw them out and say “OK done.” I mean, technically I guess this would be fair but you know, if you really think about it, that it’s just not right. You need to get rid of more than that. Stop drowning in stuff you don’t use and you’ll never use again and FREE YOURSELF! Are your piles of junk paying you rent? No? Then kick them out!!!
Wow, I got a little excited there …. sorry. ;-) But seriously, getting rid of stuff is one of my favorite things to do. I’m aware that that is weird, and I’m OK with it. If you get rid of stuff with any regularity, you will love it too. When I declutter I usually get kind of carried away and get rid of more stuff than I was planning on in the first place — and I can’t remember one time when I regretted donating or tossing something I no longer used or liked.
This year I had about 30 things to get rid of — yes, Santa really came through this year — so I went through my whole apartment, starting with my bedroom, where old T-shirts go to die. I got rid of a lot of clothing I had been hanging on to, who knows why. That’s where most of the de-junking took place this year. It didn’t take long at all to have 30 items, but I had a lot more stuff I knew was taking up space, so I kept going. Everything I got rid of was small, but it really added up. When the dust cleared I had about 4 (tall kitchen size) bags of stuff to donate, and about 3 to throw away. And I didn’t really even get to the kitchen! I sure had a lot of useless stuff, even in my tiny apartment. It’s always kind of a shocking revelation.
One tip to go with this: It can be really tempting when you are de-junking to get sidetracked with other jobs that need to be done. While you are digging through your closet you might realize your closet is really kind of DIRTY and you should clean it, but don’t. Put it on your list to clean later, then keep going with the de-cluttering. Otherwise you will just run out of steam and you won’t end up making much of a difference. Plus, think how much easier it will be to clean the closet next week when it has so much less stuff in it because you’ve gotten rid of unwanted things. Yay! It’s a win-win situation. And I love those.
I’m going to wrap up this super-stirring, super-freakish organization post with an inspiring quote from the great William Morris, whoever he was:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
I really like that quote. Not that I live by it 100% or anything. In one of our TWO precious closets, I have an entire (quite large) box filled with stuffed animals that belong to Ben & me. Stuffed animals! And none of them are useful, and most wouldn’t be considered beautiful either. But I hang on to them, and probably always will hang on to most of them, because I like them! (Well, maybe not Ben’s stuffed Spider-Man collection; I don’t like them but I keep them because I do love my husband and I don’t want to make him cry.) :-)
All right … I’m done now. Good night. :-)