Organizing & decluttering principles

With all the work we’re doing on the house lately, I’m coming to a few new principles that I’m finding helpful in creating order in our home.
1. Do it now. When I have the impulse to organize, it’s worth my while to do it right then, rather than wait until a future date I’ve planned to get to it. By the time that future date comes, there are usually other pressing tasks to accomplish, resulting in limited time and more pressure. Plus, the impulse might not be there – one of the MOST CRITICAL factors in useful purging!

For example, in my last month of work I had a strong impulse to clean out the filing cabinet. Things were busy at work, I was tired at night, and I had 6 weeks off for mat leave – every reason to wait. But I wanted to, I did, and getting that done cleared the space and time to actually do a full office purge/organize once I was on leave. If I’d waited it would have been a lot more overwhelming.

2. Do a little. Big messes are made up of small messes. By tackling one drawer, closet, shelf, etc. at a time, you are steadily picking away at the accumulated clutter. By the end of a couple of weeks of tackling small bits, the difference is amazing.

3. Have an out box. As you declutter, have a pile of boxes and keep filling them with things to get rid of! A clear place to put outgoing items prevents them from being reassimilated, and the sight of a big pile of what you’ve eliminated is very rewarding. Speaking of which, M took a big pile of boxes (full of kitchen and other items) plus a now-excess plastic shelving unit to drop off this morning. Yay!

4. Do it over time. It will not happen overnight, just as I didn’t accumulate all these things overnight. Keeping on top of what comes in, and persistently eliminating the extra keeps the order I’ve created.

We had another declutter evening yesterday and are both energized by it. I want more! Or rather, to get rid of more!

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