Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Spotting Clutter and the 30-Day Purge Project

Over the past few days, I've helped unpack several clients after their relocations.  It amazes me how much STUFF people cart around with them when they move from place to place.  Although I am a generally organized person, these jobs made me wonder about my own stuff.  Since I live in a very small space with little storage, I really try not to hang on to things I don't need. Not only that, but I run a business in which I help my clients make decisions about their belongings, with the end goal of minimizing clutter. Be that as it may, I still end up with all kinds of odds-and-ends in my little condo that have no real function or value.

Here are some categories of clutter I've identified:

Gifted Clutter - "It's the thought that counts" really rings true with many "gifted" items.  As a teacher, I am a frequent recipient of well-intentioned, kid-selected gifts.  My sentimental side tells me to hang onto these things, but practically speaking there is no way I could retain every teacher gift I've been given.  After the thank-you note has been written and the sincere gratitude experienced, I need to seriously assess whether the gift is something I will ever use.

Not Quite Right Clutter- Sometimes we buy things that never really served the purpose we intended, but for whatever reason we hang on to them.  Maybe we are too lazy or busy to return the items to the store, or maybe we can't make the return because we've taken tags off, lost the receipt, etc.  Sometimes we are convinced that the item will someday be useful, or maybe we can give it to someone who can use it, or maybe with a minor tweak we can make it into something we can use...which leads to the next category...

Future Project (a.k.a Broken) Clutter - "I just need some wood glue, hem tape, a staple gun, ______________ (fill in the blank) to make this functional again!"  But seriously...how many years have you been meaning to patch that hole?  I know, I know...you meant to get around to it.  I did too.  Time to let it go.

Outgrown Clutter - These items had their time in the sun, but their time has passed.  This could be clothing or decorative items that are outdated, obsolete, not my current size, or no longer fit my current needs.  Since I've moved frequently in the past 4 years, I have many household items that were purchased for a different space and are just "making do" in my current home.  Sometimes it's worth it to chuck what we have and start fresh with something that makes more sense in our current situation.  And why hang on to the "old" version that wasn't working for us once we've replaced it with an updated version? (I still have my last two "dumb" phones before I finally made the switch to an iphone...why??)

SO, after some serious reflection on how even a self-proclaimed PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER could be living in a hot-bed of clutter, I have decided to embark on a 30-day Purge Project.

Each day for the next 30 days I have pledged to get rid of something that is taking up precious real estate in my cozy little home.  I will post pictures of what I've purged and provide you with information on where to send your no-longer-needed items once you've decided to let them go.  I hope you'll join me on this simple mission to transform your living space into a more peaceful, functional abode.  If you'd like to join me, feel free to post your own Purge Project successes to my Facebook page {https://www.facebook.com/SortOrganizingServices} or blog comment section.

Good luck!

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