I have always struggled with clutter. As a girl, I remember going to friends’ houses and their rooms were neat and orderly. I never seemed to be able to accomplish that. I just didn’t know what to do with my stuff. I also hung on to every little item that reminded me of someone or someplace.
As an adult, I’ve had “junk rooms” in the places I’ve lived. As my children got older, the “junk room” became “junk areas”in main rooms of the house. At some point, things got out of control. When there was going to be company coming over, items got swept into boxes that were hidden in closets. At some point, there just wasn’t a place to put stuff and it got left wherever.
Last year, I got to the point where I decided that enough was enough. The things I was holding onto were stressing me out, not making me happy. I decided it really was time for a change.
I’ve subscribed to different blogs and Facebook pages for tips on becoming organized and decluttering. Then I realized that my life didn’t always fit into someone else’s schedule or plan of how to get organized. Often I would become overwhelmed and avoid doing anything at all.
The thing is, nothing changes without effort. And with some effort, I found a method that is working for me.
Everyday I commit at least 30 minutes to an hour for cleaning my house. First, I maintain the areas that are already straightened. I very quickly go through the house picking up stray items and putting them away. I sweep or vacuum the rooms that need it. I make sure dirty clothes go into the utility room. Then I go through 10 items in each room and decide if the item is trash, recycle or keep. If it is keep, I put it away in it’s permanent home. Ten items don’t take long to deal with. Because I know it is a limited amount, I can tackle it and move onto the next room. I am not doing anything in my sons’ bedrooms at this point. Eventually, I will but my attention is on areas that other people may see.
I’ve been using this system for a couple of months. There are days I get off track, especially if there are school, sports or Boy Scout events going on. But I have seen great progress. I have thrown away a lot of items that where clearly trash, but just kept getting moved from one place to another. I have recycled a huge amount of paper, especially junk mail that never got sorted. I have gone through clothing and donated bags of things that I realized I didn’t want or need anymore. Some days, I have extra time and I am so happy with my progress that I do multiple rounds of sorting 10 items the rooms.
I don’t think I will ever be a minimalist. There are things with sentimental value like cards signed from loved ones now deceased that I choose to keep. But I’m being more selective in what I keep and with what I choose to bring into my home. I’m constantly asking myself “Do I really need this ?” Quite often, the answer is no.