I love to declutter–LOVE IT. It’s something I usually embark upon just after the holidays. Packing up the decorations lends itself to tidying up all kinds of other things. This year I chucked out several hundred books and it felt AMAZING. (They went to our local library for their book sale.) I also cleared out loads of shoes and clothes; even the pantry got an overhaul. And I’ll tell you what: when I was finished, I felt light as a FEATHER. The energy in the house soared. If you find yourself feeling a bit stuck, throwing things out is the perfect remedy. I wrote this piece awhile back, but bears reposting because Gail Blanke’s book is a superb kick in the pants to get yourself moving.
I have never been able to wait for spring to overhaul the house. To me, the post-holiday doldrums offer the perfect time for pottering. It’s too cold to go out and usually dreary to boot. It’s the time of year when we feel bloated from too much holiday excess, both inside and out. Our cupboards and closets are groaning from holiday decorations, gifts, miscellanea. It’s the absolute best opportunity to meander through the house, taking a drawer or shelf at a time to organize and purge. It feels virtuous to throw things out or fill up bags for donations. (And honestly, after the holidays, it is lovely to have something to feel virtuous about, don’t you think?)
In my quest to declutter, I love to read about other people’s systems and rules. I’m fascinated by folks who declare they will throw something out every time they bring something new in, and actually stick to it! I am more spontaneous in my purging. I never discard an item just because something new came in, but I will happily get rid of a drawer full of things a week later. (Now that I have started watching HOARDERS it’s become even more satisfying to get rid of things.)
Earlier this week, I tore through Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life by Gail Blanke. It was superb. The principle is simple: throw away fifty things in two weeks. The catch is that like items count as ONE. (Which means if you decide to purge a magazine collection, good for you, but those hundreds of pounds of glossy pages that you hauled out to the recycling bin are still only one item.) The beauty of the system is that once you start weeding out the excess clutter, you weed out the bad thinking as well. It is just as much a self-help book as one about organization, and I found myself flagging page after page so I would go back and read certain passages over again. One of my favorites: There is no way it is. There is only the way you say it is. A beautifully succinct reminder that our reality is what we make it. Anyway, if one of your resolutions was to tidy up, this book is a must-have.