(a.k.a.) Pinterest inspirations: 40 bags in 40 days
A friend pinned a list she found online of 40 places to sort over 40 days. I love the idea of living a simple and clutter free life. But, at the same time, I’m a bit of a magpie – I like to collect “pretty” things (that is, I have a bad habit of collecting pretty or interesting things – just ask my family about my once epic collection of beach treasures). When I was a teenager, I had lots of things that I didn’t need, but wouldn’t purge. As I got older, I got better at weeding things out, but hadn’t yet learned the art of not buying any old thing that I fancied. I was in a constant battle with myself: I’d de-clutter a few times a year, but then quickly accumulate more things to fill those empty spaces.
Over the years, I got better at being selective about things that I brought into to my home. Then I moved a few times (including a move across the country). Having pretty, interesting, or potentially useful things is great, moving them is not. So, over the past few years I’ve been working on de-cluttering my life, living with less, and appreciating what I decide to keep (literally and figuratively). It’s been hard, especially when I was sorting through things I had inherited from my mother (not so much because they were my mother’s, but because I was worried family members would be upset if I got rid of certain things).
I’ve reached a point where I know myself well enough to be able to curb my desire to collect things (most of the time) and take preventative actions (example: the more places I have to put things, the more I will own, so I don’t like having too many shelves or dressers).
That said, I still have de-cluttering to do because I haven’t made a concerted effort to de-clutter my whole apartment since my last move. So, when I saw this list I decided to use it as inspiration to create my own list and finish the job I keep starting but not finishing.
The idea behind it is to list all the places that need de-cluttering and sort through one each day. But, first, I need to plan a head: I need a list, I need to determine the ferocity of this de-clutter (major de-clutter or just a wee tidy up?), and I need a place to put things that I’m going to donate (this is very important for me – I don’t have a car, so donating things may not happen right away and may take a few trips). I have lots of space in my apartment, so finding a temporary home for things I plan to donate is easy. I don’t have much stuff, but I want to deal with things that I keep being indecisive about so I’m going for a full-on major de-clutter.
That just leaves the list. I can’t use the original list because there are too many spaces that I don’t have (kids room, garage, etc.), but I can use the list as a starting point to create my own personalized list. The first things I did was write “Be Brutal” on the top of a page. This is my way of reminding myself to only keep things that fit under my “should I keep it?” list. Then I picked the things I could use off the original list and started adding my own.
This is my final list:
- Junk drawer in the kitchen
- Utensil / cutlery drawers
- Under the kitchen sink
- Refrigerator / freezer
- Lower kitchen cupboards (mostly small appliances and containers)
- Upper kitchen cupboards (mostly dishes and dry goods)
- Office supplies
- Art / craft supplies
- Cameras and accessories (digital and film … mostly film)
- Movies and music (including copies in iTunes)
- Books and magazines
- Bedroom closet
- Shelves in bedroom closet
- Jewelry and jewelry boxes
- Front hall closet
- Under the bathroom sink
- Storage closet: shelves
- Storage closet: everything else
- Papers (files and the pile of random papers waiting to be sorted or scanned)
I didn’t even make it to 20, but that’s OK. I live in an apartment by myself and I don’t have many places to let clutter accumulate. It doesn’t matter how small your home is or how much stuff you have, this is a good exercise. Some people will find that all they end up doing is a quick tidy up of the space, other’s will find that they needed all morning just to get through the junk drawer.
The next step is, of course, to start de-cluttering. So, I need to print off this list, put it somehwere where I will see it each day, and commit to tackling at least one everyday until they’re all done.