Saturday, June 28, 2008

Search and Destroy

Or: Search and De-clutter. That might work better for our purposes. Anyway, here's a technique I've found that helps me a lot in de-cluttering. I never really formed it as a complete thought until somebody posted about clutter in the Livejournal community ourbedrooms.

Tip: If your project seems overwhelming, take it one step at a time. This seems so basic, and it's hard to actually put into practice because you see the mess every day, and every time you think about it, it seems like this monster undertaking that could never possibly get done by doing small pieces of it. However, I find that I make a lot of progress by identifying a single area in a room that has been bothering me in particular, and tackling it.

For example, we couldn't open our front door all the way, like I mentioned the other day. That bugged me a lot. The door was blocked by my mom's wire shelving unit where we stored paper products. I looked around the living room, which has been my main de-cluttering project lately, to find a place I could relocate the shelves to. I cleared out a spot, then made the change. At the same time, I was organizing and not simply moving the clutter around, because I dumped all the paper stuff out and reordered it based on category.

Now our lovely door gets the swing space it needs and, while it still doesn't open all the way, it's a really nice and refreshing change. A helpful one, too, since I don't have to do acrobatics to get all my trash/recycling out the door anymore!

So try the "this bugs me" method and see how far you get! If you have any of your own techniques, feel free to comment and tell me about them!

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1 comment:

Back Garage said...

I love "this bugs me"! It's my own method. I start at the front entrance to my apartment, then tackle the first thing I see that's out of place. I put that away, then refuse to get distracted by what's near what I just put away. Instead, I return to the front door, and put away the second thing I see, etc.

When I'm working with people with way more clutter than me, I love the strategies in Peter Walsh's book, but they're slightly 'meta' and not for everyone. Define what you really want for your living space, start with one room and throw out everything that doesn't match that ideal...