Monday, November 23, 2015

Almost Time to Celebrate - Day 18 of the De-Clutter Challenge

It's not time to celebrate yet but I am looking forward to it. Thanksgiving is almost here and it has been a great time to take on a De-Clutter Challenge. It is Day 18 & Day 21 will fall on Black Friday.

My closet is looking better, my cabinets are looking better and I feel somewhat better about the state of affairs of my home & office than I did when I started.

What have I learned so far? De-Cluttering is as much a state of mind as it is a task. At the reccomendation of several friends I checked out Marie Kondo's book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up and her Kon Marie method of De-Cluttering.
Marie instructs you to ask yourself - 'Does this item bring me joy?'
If the answer is 'no' then out it goes.
That way of thinking helped me purge items I have been hanging on to for a long time for reasons unkown.

A tip from Gretchen Rubin is to prepare for a move or just pretend to prepare for a move. This is excellent advice. One tends to be far more selective with what to keep and what to throw away when considering what to pack up and move to a new location.

At my office when cleaning a closet I found some items that could be considered ancient artifacts. A policy manual from 1985 is no longer needed but it did make for some interesting reading!

Wish me luck in my last days of this challenge. Considering what my next challenge will consist of. Any ideas?

All my best, Wendy

Monday, November 9, 2015

21 Day De-Clutter Challenge, It's On

21 Day De-Clutter Challenge

Today is Day 5 of my 21 day challenge.  I put the word out looking for Friends to join me in getting de-cluttered in time for the holidays. There are now 12 of us working at this and I thought I'd recap how it has been going for me so far.

Techniques I have tried:

Fix broken windows - Author Gretchen Rubin on broken windows "The “broken windows theory” of policing holds that when a community tolerates minor examples of disorder and petty crime, such as broken windows, graffiti, turnstile-jumping, or drinking in public, people are more likely to commit more serious crimes.
As a law-enforcement theory, it’s controversial, but whether or not it’s true on a city-wide level, I think it’s true on a personal level."
In an effort to de-clutter clearing up your own broken windows is a great exercise. Examples of broken windows would be unsorted mail, messy counters, burned out light bulbs. One of my broken windows was a torn ironing board cover.Taking some of my husbands clothes that were in need of repair to the tailor was another broken window that it felt great to fix. Used up, broken items clutter up our lives. Fixing broken windows can mean repairing or tossing out those items so they no longer clutter up your world.

Purge Paperwork - Paper so quickly and easily can take over our counters, desks, wallets and purses. Using some simple rules of thumb to decide if a paper, receipt, booklet or flyer is needed and then tossing out or shredding what is not needed can be a task but once done feels great. So much information is now online there is much less of a need to keep hard copies of things like bank statements, owners manuals, etc. Cleaning out a cabinet where I had stashed the pile that had accumulated on my counter this past Saturday didn't take long and I found some important paperwork and filed it in a place where I'll be able to find it when it's needed. In my book that's a win-win. Less clutter now, less stress later when I need important paperwork.

These next 2 techniques are great for busy lives or reluctant de-clutterers because they are so simple.

1 minute rule - Do any little task that you might have otherwise put off. Hang up a coat, put away shoes, close the door, put the bread back in the pantry... Use the mantra do it now!
The 1 minute rule is great for your car. Throw out trash, empty the trunk, check to see if you have an umbrella and an ice scraper. Removing what you don't need from the car and checking to see that you have what you do need are great things to be doing as we head toward winter. 

Pairing - When using the pairing technique the idea is to take care of a de-clutter task as you go about your day. For example when you head to the kitchen take the empty coffee cups with you. Going out? Take the trash to the barrel you are walking by anyway. This was an easy way to start the challenge and is a great habit to get into or to reintroduce.

What are your tips for creating and maintaining a clutter free home and office? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

All my best, Wendy

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

21 Days To Less Clutter?

I hope so! I've mentioned in other posts that I am loving the author Gretchen Rubin. If you are someone (like me) who responds well to a personal challenge or are interested in forming better habits she has really studied this stuff.

I learned in my October Challenges for a Happier Life that when challenging myself with even the smallest things I am more likely to do it if I set the challenge and chronicle it.

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it and so it is just 2 days later than I planned (wanted to start November 1st) that I am starting a 21 Day De-Clutter Challenge.
What does that mean? I am still figuring it out.
Benefits - a clutter free home (obviously), less stress (I have heard that a clutter free environment contributes to stress reduction) & a home that is ready for company in time for the holidays without trying to get it all done last minute.

I think I'll even buy my turkey and put it in the freezer this week. I bet there are many of you who are shopping for gifts already but I just can't bring myself to do that yet. Enjoying each season and not rushing to quickly in to the next is more my style.
What are you doing to get ready for the upcoming holidays? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

All my best, Wendy