Ah, clutter. As a person who has lived in small spaces for decades, clutter and constant purging is an ongoing part of my life. I also work from home, so that’s double the amount of clutter – life and work all in one space. Exciting, yet an organizational nightmare in a bite-sized NYC apartment.
It’s amazing how one small pile of papers can make the walls close in quickly. Add to that mail, books, holiday cards, files, etc. and you have, well life, right?
If my husband had his way, he would throw out every tchotchke in the place, but those artifacts from my travels, notes from old buddies, and life remembrances a part of me, and difficult to let go.
What’s a pack rat like me to do?
Well it’s not as bad as it seems. You’ll never see me on hoarders! In reality, I’m proud of myself for containing all aspects of my life within such small living spaces. It takes practice and discipline, which admittedly I sometimes lack, and I’m not alone.
And if you’re someone who lives in a comfortable space with multiple family members, you may have an even bigger challenge on your hands.
There’s a whole industry of organizers one can hire to hold one’s hand through it for a reason!
With the pod home and “shed quarters” trend rising, we better get on it!
For me, it’s the tidying up of the little messes that open up my airways and give me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. The energy in the room immediately changes to one where I can flow more easily, internally and externally. By allowing for more physical space, I give myself the gift of more emotional space. And that feels good!
Purging that small (yet in my mind Everest-like) pile of papers feels so good, it ultimately motivates me to tackle the next, and the closet, and the bookshelves. I call it my occasional “Purifying Organizing Fits,” or P.O.Fs.
I actually love when a good P.O.F. strikes me! Like shopping, which I despise, it usually comes upon me spontaneously and then poof, there I go tackling areas long needing attention, filing, tossing and gifting.
It’s energizing to gift someone a book collecting dust on my shelf; or donate once loved clothes to the Goodwill (or consignment shop) around the corner. Someone once described the unworn clothes sitting my closet as “someone else’s favorite.” I love that way of thinking about it. Heck instead of leaving it lonely and unused in a dark closet, why not offer it to someone who will adore and USE it?
Now let’s be real, some things are off limits: My essential oils? Staying. So I organized them in a case with labels so I can actually find the ylang ylang vs. the peppermint (used for very different things). Photos from trips to Africa, New Zealand, Thailand and other life changing journeys as well as those of family and friends? Also staying. I love looking at them, and often share them with those who didn’t know me then. That “Just You and I” wine glass from my High School Prom? OK, maybe unreasonable, but also staying. What can I say, I’m sentimental.
But other items I can set free.
The boxes of photos sitting on the top shelf of my closet? Time to get that “photos to dvd scanning” Groupon and make the changeover.
The stack of magazines I’ve been meaning to read? Time to read or recycle them.
Less clutter around you translates to less clutter in your head, and that’s a great way to start a new year.
So what can you set free?
I suggest we make January annual P.O.F. and purge month. Many “declutter challenges” suggest a 50% reduction, but we’re the small steps posse, so let’s start with just 20%. Whether it be your emotional space and you want to take up meditation (note: Whil is a great app with a vast library- use gift code "friendofmarjorie") or your physical space, by January 31 see if you can get rid of just 20% of your stuff. Whether it your car, your home, your office or email – downsize by 20% and admire your work.
For items particularly difficult to let go of, take a photo and view it regularly.
You’ll be ready for that Pod home yet!
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™