Sunday, 26 October 2014
I am massively trying to declutter. The decluttering is definitely a work in progress, but I've had a few mindset shifts over the past months.
Anything is better than nothing
As far as decluttering or deep cleaning goes, I'm usually happy enough to sit down with a big chunk of uninterrupted time when I'm in the mood to tackle a big project. Take everything out, sort through it, clean it, take the good stuff to the op shop, store all the stuff that can be used again neatly then sit back and admire my handiwork.
A great theory, except for the two conditions - the big chunk of uninterrupted time, and then in the mood bit. While this is probably the most effective, efficient and rewarding way to declutter, it's also very rare. Like, I have bags of stuff to sort through which I shoved out of the way when I was pregnant. Three pregnancies ago. Because I haven't had a big chunk of uninterrupted time which correlated with the desire to do a clear out in four years.
So instead, I do nothing. Which is as effective as one would expect. I have a great system, it just doesn't get implemented and the resultant actual outcome is much crappier than the theoretical effective one.
So, my new reformed (ok, reforming) perfectionist approach is to just do something. If I only put three random things away from the table, rather than clearing the whole table (which won't actually happen, because REASONS), that's still better than actually doing nothing. A big clear out, 30 minutes on something, five minutes, two pieces of rubbish. Anything is better than nothing, and nothing is usually what happens. This applies to housework too. It doesn't matter if I don't have the time and/or energy to clean the whole kitchen - some work is better than no work.
Fill a bag
In the quest for gold stars, I've been keeping a tally of how many bags I can give away or donate. This morning I had nine, so I grabbed a bag and filled it. It was haphazard and inefficient - a few books, a toy, some shoes which I hadn't worn in years (actually, two pairs were even the wrong size and I had NEVER EVER worn) and I had another bag to drop off. There's no way that I would have gone into the wardrobe to clean it out this morning, but those shoes have gone now as I tried to fill a bag. It's inefficient, it's not systematic but it's a hell of a lot more effective because it ACTUALLY gets stuff done.
When in doubt, throw it out
...or pass it on/ donate it. Even if - especially if - it still has use. I have always tried to be conservative, not wasteful, careful, thrifty, frugal. Don't throw something out if it still has use in it. Except - we have too much stuff. So much stuff that I can't find the stuff that I need. For example, when I was grabbing the shoes mentioned above, I found two passport carriers. One was from ten years ago when I took my first overseas trip and was still in very good condition. The other I have no idea where it came from, but I've had it for ages and it's never been used - I know this because it's still in its original packaging. The 'best' part of this story - Chubs and I just went overseas last month, and I purchased a new passport carrier for that trip because I didn't know that I still had these other two, let alone where they were. I had kept my high quality passport holder from my first trip for ten years because it may be useful in the future, and then I went and bought a two dollar cheapie on the very rare occasion when it would have been useful. So today, I dropped all three passport holders in the donation bin. Someone else can use them in the meantime and I'll buy a new one when I need it again, which is probably what would have happened anyway.
This is a big mindshift for me. It seems extravagant and wasteful, but I have to remind myself that it's actually more efficient than the theoretical, but unachievable, alternative.