A Brilliant Strategy for Spring Decluttering

 

 

 

 

Social Media – 30 DAY

I have a young friend whom I really admire. She’s over-the-top passionate about minimizing her footprint and living in an environmentally responsible way.  At the beginning of this month, she invited me to join her in a monthlong decluttering challenge that is proving to be the most exhilarating, purposeful shedding of stuff I’ve ever engaged in.

Inspired by the The Minimalists’ “Minimalism Game,” here’s how it works.  Every day, you remove a specific number of items from your home, based on the day of the month.  We started on the first day of this month (it’s now the tenth), and on that first day we each got rid of one item. You donate it, gift it, recycle it, or trash it, but whatever it is has to be out of your home by midnight that night.  On the second day of the month, you get rid of two items. On the third day, three items, and on it goes.

It’s blissfully easy at first, but now we’re into double digits. Day after day after day, you have to come up with more things to get rid of. It gets harder, obviously, but in some ways it’s actually gotten easier. I’ve been thrilled to discover that the challenge has radically changed the way I look at my stuff.

I have something of a gypsy-ish lifestyle and move more often than most people.  Even though I always try to shed things with each relocation, there is a core collection of belongings that (I am realizing now) I mindlessly take from one place to another. I also have a core set of boxes of old things, documents, keepsakes, “just in case I ever need it” stuff that I equally mindlessly schlep from one storage area or basement to another.

Image result for 30 day minimalism

I always thought I was unattached to stuff and pretty good at decluttering, but I’ve discovered that I was deluded in this.

For example, I started going through my kitchen first. I had two big beautiful glass serving bowls that my mom had given me that I have carted around with me for decades. I always imagined using them to serve gorgeous salads to an appreciative group of friends seated at my dining table, but have probably used them only once. Actually, I think I’ve ever used only one of them, once. I have these grand visions of entertaining, but when it comes down to it I don’t really entertain. (OK, let’s be honest. I don’t entertain, period, I’m not good at cooking and get nervous hosting.) I usually meet friends at restaurants or at other events or at their homes. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve painstakingly wrapped those bowls in paper and packed them in a moving box. Forcing myself to face reality, I managed to give one of them away. Not sure if the other will survive the month; we’ll see. After all, I might have a group of friends over before I die. Maybe.

Another kitchen item I was shocked to find myself discarding was a set of wine glasses, brought over from Europe and given to me by an uncle, again over twenty years ago. I’d always seen them as precious, after all they were European, handmade, and quite fancy at the time.  Forced by the Minimalism Game to be uncharacteristically ruthless in my evaluation of all items in my kitchen cupboards, I picked the glasses up and really saw them for the first time. Looking at them objectively, I realized that they were quite small and a rather unappealing shape. Newsflash: I didn’t like them. I was shocked by this…it was as if by declaring them “special” I had not allowed myself to actually see them and had simply, obediently, carefully wrapped and packed them with every move.

I’ve had this experience over, and over, and over again.  I can’t believe the stuff I’ve been holding on to.

When you know that you’re going to have to get rid of dozens of items, day after day and more each day, it forces you to be honest about the things you have and why you have them, and whether you really need them.

I fantasize about one day living in a “tiny” house on a bit of land, and it cheers me immensely to know that this Minimalism Game is giving me a fighting chance at truly living simply, unencumbered by so much ridiculous stuff. So much baggage.

When I was living in Mexico, I paid $100 per month to store the aforementioned boxes and some other pieces of furniture. At the time it seemed reasonable and affordable, but I was away for four years. That’s $4,800 spent on storage for boxes full of mostly useless stuff that I didn’t really need. I can’t get that money back now, but I will say this now: NEVER AGAIN.

The best part? Most of the things I’m getting rid of are in good shape (because I’ve never used them, duh) and are very possibly someone else’s treasure. I live close to a Salvation Army thrift store, and every day I march over a fresh collection of donations that they stick price tags on, selling them to raise funds for homeless shelters and other work that they do. The store is always packed with shoppers, so it feels great to have my things recycled and used to help much less fortunate people.

The hardest part of this new daily routine is walking out through the store after leaving my donations at the back…some of the dishes and other items they are selling are so adorable. I am proud to say that, despite picking up a few items and cooing over them, I have made myself put them down and have not bought any more stuff.

So will you join me in this liberating, exhilarating Minimalism Game?  It doesn’t really matter what date you’re reading this on, as you really can start on any day of the month. If it’s the 15th, start with 15 things. If it’s closer to the end of the month, wait until the first and start then. Invite a friend or friends to join you (posting on social media is a great way to recruit other declutterers). Sharing the experience will make it more fun and also make you much more likely to follow through.

It will completely change the way you look at your things, trust me.

HERE’s HOW:

Find a friend or family member: someone who’s willing to get rid of their excess stuff. This month, each of you must get rid of one thing on the first day. On the second, two things. Three items on the third. So forth, and so on. Anything can go! Clothes, furniture, electronics, tools, decorations, etc. Donate, sell, or trash. Whatever you do, each material possession must be out of your house—and out of your life—by midnight each day.

It’s an easy game at first. However, it starts getting challenging by week two when you’re both jettisoning more than a dozen items each day. Whoever can keep it going the longest wins; you both win if you can make it all month. Bonus points if you play with more than two people.

Win or lose, we’d love to hear about your game.

 

 

Advertisements

Organizing your closet like a computer organizes its memory

How Should You Organize Your Closet? Exactly Like a Computer Organizes Its Memory

Excerpted from Algorithms to Live By:  The Computer Science of Human Decisions, by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

The Connection between the Present Moment & being Organized

 

 

screenshot-www-canva-com-2017-02-06-01-23-45Being conscious about why you’re doing it and why it’s important to you is my focus at PRESENT MOMENT ORGANIZING….   Believing in the concept that it is easier to prioritize and take the right actions when connecting your actions to your goals and values.

Simply, the secret is all about being consciously aware of how “being organized” supports other things you value in your life.
I will help you to create a place that allows you to live your life in the manner you would like, so those all-important day-to-day  choices become easier to make.

 

 

screenshot-www-canva-com-2017-02-06-01-19-54It’s a conscious effort to be completely present and fully  aware of the current moment.

It’s a non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts, emotions    and situations, which allow us to appreciate the moment.  Being present in the moment opens our hearts and minds to  a sense of wonder and possibility – of what we want to  create, how we want to feel, or what we want to experience.  Mindfulness opens us up to the world unfolding right before us. Mindfulness provides a way to take a gentle and friendly look at ourselves without judgment – to make friends with ourselves.

Being in the PRESENT MOMENT helps us to think more clearly and make better decisions rather than dwelling on the past or future. Mindfulness helps us tune into our intuition and what will work best for us. It helps us understand what we truly want, how we want to feel in our spaces, and how they should look. It allows us to be mindful of this as we sort and decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

Try this exercise when deciding what to let go of: on a scale of 1 to 5, where does attachment to the item fall? If it falls under a 4, remove it!

The more mindful we are, the more likely we are to make good decisions about our possessions and the more freeing we will feel to let things go that are not enhancing our lives. Being mindful makes us notice when it’s time to put things back in their home rather than letting clutter overtake our lives. –

Your San Diego Home Organizer

 

17025c0e-b9f7-4108-aced-9eae84b496b4It is my belief that great organizing is fun, energetic, surprising and smart—and it should be accessible and affordable for everyone. When I talk about my dedication to good organizing, I don’t just mean how something looks, but also how it satisfies a need, how it simplifies your life, and how it makes you feel.  Staying in the Present Moment, being Mindful, enhances you and the life you want to live. Find out what drives my focus as a personal  organizer, a personal assistant, being Mindful and how each affects the other.                   Hand in Hand.