SOCIAL MEDIA

3.17.2017

Clear the Clutter 101: The Spring Purge



Does anyone else ever get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff they have accumulated over the years? I know that I'm not alone... but it seems that clutter isn't something people really like to talk about.

Clutter used to be a source of shame for me. I felt bad that I had so much in my life that I wasn't using, appreciating, or enjoying. I felt burdened by my stuff. I felt overwhelmed. Tired. Ashamed. Constantly bombarded by reminders that I wasn't using the things that I already had and that I had become a slave to papers.  I wasn't really hoarding, and my room wasn't dirty. But... it wasn't the epitomy of cleanliness, either. And who needs calendars, gifted lottery tickets, and receipts from six years ago?! Honestly. Finally one day, enough was enough. I tackled the clutter with the tremendous help from my mother. In fact, I highly recommend enlisting another person to help you tackle your clutter, because things that feel sentimental to you, ("how can I throw out this calendar from 2014? It shows me exactly what I did that year!") are seen as trash to the other person, and are discarded accordingly. (I took a picture of the calendar to reference whenever I need to. Though honestly.... I doubt I ever will!)

Clearing the clutter out of my life has been incredibly freeing. I got rid of that chair (lovingly nicknamed, "crap chair") in my bedroom that housed unpacked boxes from my move for nine. months. Nine months! We moved it to the downstairs living room where it can be actually used... ya know, for sitting on. What a concept!

I'm going out on a limb here... and showing you my very real "crap chair" More like, crap corner!
I threw out old papers, calendars, and planners. I donated organizing containers I wasn't using and no longer needed (oh the irony!) along with candles, jewelry I never wear that wasn't worth much, books I had never read and probably never would read, art supplies, etc. I sold clothing, shoes and more high end accessories online (a post about that coming soon.) I gifted items to people who would actually love and use them i.e. I gave my coworker a sweater of mine that I didn't love, but was in mint condition, that she had been eyeing when I wore it to work one day.

It felt so good to gift things to people who would actually love and use my stuff!

In addition to my "crap chair" I also moved my desk and desk chair out of my room. This created SO MUCH SPACE. So much space! My room is now empty enough that when you stand in the middle of it, it sort of creates an echo when you talk. I also have an empty drawer in my dresser, completely void of anything. Oh how liberating it is to have an empty drawer!

All in all, my spring purge has lifted me mentally in SUCH a big way, I feel freer, calmer, more organized and in control. I felt so weighed down CONSTANTLY by my clutter that it had become part of who I was and how I felt on a daily basis! I can now enjoy my room as the oasis it is. It was very important for me to move my desk out of my bedroom because quite frankly I don't like working in my room. My desk was another "crap pile" gatherer, housing clothes I'd worn earlier in the week, discarded jackets, papers, etc. It was an eyesore!

I know that I'm not alone in feeling down in the dumps because of my clutter. So, here are some helpful tips I have for anyone looking to clear the clutter and do their own spring purge:

1. Just start. 
You will always come up with excuses on why today isn't the best day to start. I recommend starting say, on a weekend when you have nothing else going on. That way you have two full days to dedicate to clearing the clutter. My mom and I spent about 8 hours a day (no joke) last weekend unpacking boxes, moving furniture, ripping apart rooms and then putting them back together. The end result was so worth it!

2. Have trash bags and boxes on hand. 
Get your trash bags ready. You'll need some boxes for donations, too. I made a few different piles - trash bag for trash, box for donations, pile on my bed for things to give friends, etc. When a trash bag is full, take it out immediately. That will help clear up the limited space on your floor or in your living room. Also take the donation box out to the car immediately once it's full. If it's already in your car, it will be more likely to make it to Goodwill as opposed to if it just sits in your garage or hallway for six months. It worked out nicely for us because trash day is Monday. Our trash bins were overflowing by the time I was done but it was okay because the trash trucks came the next day.

3. Figure out what the source of your clutter pain point is. 
Mine is/was paper clutter. It was everywhere. As mentioned previously, I had 6 years worth of old paper that I didn't need. I had never really needed a paper filing system before because I wasn't an adult doing adult things like paying credit card, car, and medical bills. Once you've identified your pain point, move on to step four...

4. Create a system to tackle this pain point.
I needed a filing system. We got out an old filing cabinet and a bunch of folders and I started labeling away. I got a handle on my papers by setting up a filing system and creating folders for things like manuals/instructions, taxes, health, self-improvement, etc. Now when a paper comes my way, I know exactly where it goes, or it goes straight to the shredder.

5. Touch (almost) everything you own.
This might seem like a daunting task and it's probably because it is. Try to touch every item of clothing in your closet and remove anything that a) doesn't bring you joy any more b) brings you negative emotions, like that expensive shirt you bought that still has a tag on it, that you're regretting buying c) doesn't serve you d) doesn't FIT! I got a handle on my closet by combing through what I own and sorting into donate, give away, sell, toss. I had to touch every single item of clothing I owned for this to be effective. Same thing with jewelry. If you aren't ready to part with something, that's okay. Try putting it in a "not sure" box, and then seal it. If you don't miss it in three months, get rid of it! This applies to almost anything you own!

6. Identify the problem and then pivot.
I had to rearrange furniture for me to feel fully comfortable and free in my downstairs living room space which has now essentially been turned into my office. Here was the problem: The teeny little desk in my bedroom wasn't serving me. So what did I need? A large table that could serve as a desk and craft table. How could I make this happen? I had to pivot and think outside the box. Instead of using a traditional desk I would use an Ikea dining table (without the leaf) for my craft table/ desk. Now I have a space to work that serves me and brings me joy.

7. Work with joy in mind. 
I took every single book off of my bookshelf, picked out the ones to donate, and then rearranged them all by color. Now when I walk into my living room I feel so. much. joy!! Looking at the books so beautifully organized on the shelves makes me happy. It's the little things, people! Do things that create joy in your space and in your life.

My amazing joyful bookcase that I love so so much!!

I hope you enjoyed these 7 tips to help you clear your own clutter. What will you get started on today?

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