Book review – Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki

30231806I’ve heard a lot of really good things about this book and it’s positive take on minimalism, so I was really shocked and disappointed by some of the assumptions the Sasaki made. While I believe that his intentions were good and that he did not mean to be exclusive in his assumptions, this book reeks of the his privilege and ignorance. I tried to take everything with a grain of salt and I tried to be open minded (he’s Japanese, so maybe something was lost in translation?), but I just can’t get over some of the nonsense in this book.

Sasaki does have some good ideas and suggestions regarding minimalism in general. I didn’t feel that it was particularly unique or inspirational, but he laid out a good foundation for minimalism and why it’s worth considering. Aside from a few minor comments that were stereotypical (ex: women loving clothes/dresses), I didn’t start finding problematic statements and ideas until Sasaki started talking about how to be a minimalist (about a quarter of the way through the book). At that point, he almost immediately showed his privilege by implying that we all have jobs and housing situations that we love (or loved) at some point. To me, this immediately disregarded anyone with limited options, such as the huge number of people/families who are living in low-income situations or have limited job oppotunities.

Sadly, many of the comments/ideas I highlighted throughout the book oozed with the same privilege. Based on his book, I suspect he knows little or nothing about: having to consider  the needs of the whole household (whether that be partners and/or children), having limited money or resources, having limited choices for jobs or where you live, etc.

He spoke about minimalism like it was so easy and I felt like he was suggesting that it was ridiculous that we weren’t all living at the same level of minimalism as he is (he’s what many would consider to be an extreme minimalist). He claimed that there was no right way to do things and he claimed that that was OK, but the words he used and the suggestions he made in most of the book implied that we should all just get rid of everything, even some (if not all) of the things that bring us joy.

For me, this book was completely out of touch and it framed a way of living that’s not only difficult to achieve (even for someone like myself – childless, good job, low expenses, etc.), but that also sounds horribly stark.

I appreciated some of the ideas Sasaki had, but I hated this book. If you’re interested in minimalism but not interested in being “extreme,” then don’t read this. It will just make you feel bad about your efforts or feel like the idea is unattainable. There are so many other books out there that are better: more inclusive, more inspirational, less judgy, etc. There are also a lot of online resources (YouTubers, etc.) that cover of range of realistic situations and efforts to be more minimalist. Here’s a list of some of my favourites books and resources that are about or that support minimalism or simple living:

One final thought: minimalism or simple living doesn’t have to be a life with nothing but the necessities. You’re allowed to have art, colour, an extra mug (or 3), a box of letters, hobby supplies, books, etc. Just don’t have more than what *you* need to function and be happy. Keep the things that bring you joy, as Marie Kondo would suggest, and stop worrying about keeping up with the neighbours, whether they have all the best consumer items or they are extreme minimalist. Only you can know where your happy spot is.

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Book review – Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner

29491890As noted on the author’s website, Chasing Slow is about “slowing down, about stripping the excess, about refusing to amass in a world that shouts for more”. In other words, it’s about simplifying your life and minimizing your possessions. What makes it stand apart from books like The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is that it’s not strictly a how-to book. It’s full of advice, but it’s also full of anecdotes about the author’s path to simplicity, the good and the bad.

I enjoyed the book and got a lot of good advice from it. It’s a good, solid read and I think that a lot of people would really enjoy it. Some of the advice she gives is really thoughtful and I found her book to fairly inclusive (for example, she doesn’t preach getting rid of everything and seems to have a fairly realistic view of simplicity and minimalism).

The three main things that I got from the book are:

1. Our default equation is to add more when we feel less

I think this is pretty common knowledge: we buy things to feel better about ourselves, we strive for bigger homes, we work to get larger salaries, etc. But, as Loechner notes, this equation wrong. Adding more things to our lives won’t make us happier, except maybe for that brief moment when we make the purchase (obviously, there are exceptions: if you are poor, a larger income will make you happier; if you have two jobs and three kids, kitchen tools that make meal prep faster will free up more time; etc.).

But, we’ve been led to believe that we should buy more to be more. For many of us, that simply means having more things around, but still being at the same base level of happiness or contentment. Or, being worse off because we spend all our time maintaining all those things or working to afford the space to house all those things.

One of the things Loachner said in her book that struck a chord with me was that we should remove the weight from your wings so we can fly. I’ve seen this or similar ideas in other books, but it felt particularly relevant while reading her book. The idea is that we all have capacity to fly, but it’s easier to do so if we aren’t carrying a load, whether that be stuff, emotional baggage, or the social rules we use to lock ourselves into to be versions of ourselves that we think society will approve of.

2. Things should add value, meaning or purpose

What Loechner said was this: “If it does not add value, it does not add much. If it does not add meaning, it does not add much. If it does not add purpose, it does not add much.”

This is very much in line with Marie Kondo’s philosophy of only keeping things that bring you joy (or have a purpose). And, I think that it’s a good philosophy to follow. It doesn’t mean that you can only have things that add value, meaning, or purpose. It simply means that anything else won’t add much.

And, of course, how “value”, “meaning” and “purpose” are defined will depend on you. Does “value” mean increasing the value of your house, or providing you with a service that is valuable to you? Does “meaning” need to be a family heirloom, or can it be a special souvenir or photo from a vacation?

3. Life lessons in frugality

At the end of the book, Loechner shares several life lessons. The list include basics like “it’s not a sale if you don’t need it” or “never buy anything dry clean only.” It also includes ones that I don’t see that often, like:

  • You can save time or you can save money – shopping universally saves neither
  • Reduce, reuse, or just plain go without (the less you have to dust, the less you have to dust)
  • Don’t be afraid of that thrift store musk (it washes out)

 

Overall, I found the book had a really good balance between Loechner’s own story and her advice about simplicity and minimalism. I think that a lot of people would find it very inspirational and would feel that they could relate to her story more than I did.

It’s a good book and you should read it if this is a topic you’re interested in.

Hope brings things

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I made this note months ago:

Re. minimalism:

  • Hope brings things
  • you hope you’ll use things, you hope you’ll have friends over for games nights, you hope you’ll sew the pattern, etc. 
  • But those hopes may not be who you really are (ex: I don’t tend to invite people over, but I do sew on occasion). 

I can’t remember exactly where I heard this, but I’m fairly sure that it was in one of The Minimalists* podcasts. This idea of hope bringing things caught my attention because it’s true and it’s something that has had a huge impact on my life:

  • I hoped to be perceived as a successful adult, which I am, so I don’t know why I felt the need to prove it with a bigger-than-I-like apartment and “nice” things
  • I hoped to be a great quilter or stitcher, when, in fact, I liked the crafts but wasn’t passionate about them
  • I hoped to be more interested in cooking, which is silly because I eat very well with my simple and rare cooking endeavors
  • I hoped …
  • I hoped …
  • I hoped …

Instead of using my time and energy to become those things (or, more importantly, to consider if I really wanted to become those things), I used my time and money to acquire things that those people might have. It’s as if I was looking for that magic pill or a bit of instant gratification: “I have a quilt pattern, now I’m a quilter – yay! I feel gratified!”

Quilting might be a bad example, as I’ve made a few quilts (and have one in the works as I draft this), but you get the idea. Hope, or the wish to be something, can lead us to buying things that we don’t need yet and may never need. It’s what entices us to buy the latest fashions, the better lawnmower, or the full set of gear that we think we need for a new hobby that we’ve only just began (or haven’t even tried yet).

I’ve had  many chances to revisit my past hopes over the past few years. Each time I got rid of something, I had to admit that it had just been a hope. In some cases I was sorry that the hope hadn’t turned into reality and sometimes I was ashamed about not turning that hope into reality. But, we can’t be everything and I needed to focus on my priorities and the hobbies that I loved best.

Going forward, I’m trying to be more careful of hope. When I find myself itching to buy things, one of the things that I consider is if I’m buying it because I know I need it or because I hope I’ll need/use it. I struggle with this when I’m considering art supplies. For example, I recently decided to buy a Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal, but I agonized over it for days – Do I really needed it? Am I just hoping to keep a bullet journal? Am I just hoping that this book with be better than the notebooks I already own? Why do I need it?

I did purchase it in the end because I’ve been keeping a bullet journal of sorts for a few weeks and had already tried it in several different notebooks or different sized papers. In this case, the Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal has all the things I need: a medium sized page with something to act as a guide for my layout (grid dots). For me, it was based on a preexisting reality, not on hope, so it made sense to buy the journal. And, yes, I do use it – not everyday, but certainly several times a week.

The next time you declutter or consider buying something, do a little thought experiment and consider if you’re buying something you need, or something you hope that you’ll need.

*If you’re interested in minimalism or simply need something inspirational to listen to while decluttering/simplifying, The Minimalist are a good resource. While they have embraced a fairly stereotypical minimalist lifestyle for themselves, they’re adamant that we all need to find what works best for us, whether that be owning only 50 items or keeping that random key chain collection that you love even though your partner thinks it’s silly. The podcasts do get a bit repetitive if you listen to too many in one day, but they still have useful content. 

Minimalism versus frugality

I’ve been thinking about the idea of minimalism and the practice of frugality.

Having recently made the decision to avoid keeping things “just in case,” I’m still trying to work out the kinks in my new approach to keeping things. But, I was raised to not waste useful things and I spent a decade being a poor student, so sometimes I have a hard time getting rid of things that might be useful.

Minimalism vs. frugality are opposites and yet the same. Both promote the idea of reducing waste and the idea of being more conscientious about how we consume and about what we do with what we have. But, one focuses on the idea of keeping useful things or buying extras if something’s on sale, while the other focuses on getting rid of anything you don’t need right now and only buying what you need as you need it.

Frugality is all about thriftiness – reducing wastefulness and focusing on saving money. Some people take this to the money saving or preparedness extremes by buying multiples of things that are on sale without always thinking about whether or not the items are actually needed. Or, even if the time they took to get the coupons/sales was worth it.

Minimalism, also known as simple living, is all about voluntarily reducing possessions, refraining from consumerism, and focusing on a more intentional way of living. Some take this to extreme and almost seem to be competing to see who can own the least amount of stuff. Worse, there are some people who are so dedicated to only owning what is needed right now that they throw away things that will have to be repurchased later.

There are a lot of people who approach these ideas carefully and have been able to apply them to their lives without going to extremes. And, though they seem very different, you can be frugal and minimalist at the same time. The key is to be thoughtful – don’t blindly do something because a lifestyle philosophy tells you to do it. Instead, consider the best option for your needs and values.

As part of my efforts to embrace a simple living lifestyle, I decided to get rid of as many “just in case” items as possible. Because of this, I have a whole lot of empty boxes that used to hold extra blankets, supplies for crafts I abandoned, kitchen things I never used, etc. From a minimalist perspective, I should get rid of these boxes as I don’t need them right now. But, as someone trying to live frugally, I’m going to keep most of them because they’re an appropriate size for moving and I have an empty closet where they can be stored.

Another example would be buying sale items with consideration. I love peanut butter, but I don’t eat enough of it to be able to store a back-up bottle – by the time I open it, it will be expired (I prefer natural peanut butter, which has a shorter shelf life). But, toilet paper doesn’t go bad, so if I happen to notice that it’s on sale, I will happily buy as much as I have room for to save money in the long term.

It’s all about balance and recognizing that you don’t have to commit 100% to any particular lifestyle.

I know, I know. Many people tell you that you aren’t a real [insert label here] unless you commit 100%. Yes, there are some communities that require full devotion to their ideas before they’ll let you be accepted, but maybe you don’t need them. Instead, have the courage to live the best life you can, even if that means that you’re not “perfect” or don’t belong to a stringent community of fellow devotees.

By allowing myself to dissect new ideas and consider what I do or do not agree with, I’ve found that many things I’ve chosen to do have common themes and complement each other (for example: practices from both the minimalist and the frugal lifestyle are doing a wonderful job of helping me be a bit more environmentally friendly).

Just focus on being conformable with your choices and allowing yourself to grow and move towards your ideal over time.

January declutter

I moved my bed out of my bedroom for a couple of days (because of some minor but messy repairs). As my sofa is pretty uncomfortable to sleep on, I just set my bed up in my living room. Having the bed, sofa, etc. all crammed into one room made things a bit cramped, but it wasn’t too bad as long as I made my bed and tidied up each day, which I do anyway.

When I was able to move things back in, the first things I grabbed were my laundry baskets. I hate my laundry baskets. They are very utilitarian collapsible cloth bins. Because they collapse, they always look untidy. I’ve never had room for both of them in my closet, so at least one has always lived “hidden” behind other furniture in my bedroom. But, when I brought them back in, I thought, “no! no way in hell am I cluttering up my sleep space with these things anymore.” 

This meant that I was going to have to make space in my closet, which I knew would be an annoying task because of it’s odd and somewhat useless design (a rod that’s half hidden because they could be bothered getting doors that are wide enough and awkwardly sized shelving on one side). And, of course, my closet was crammed full despite having done a major declutter/purge of unwanted things about 2 years ago. I was really good about not bringing in extra new things all last year, but I had also kept some things that I wasn’t sure about because, as badly designed as it is, I do have a lot of storage space.

And, that, right there, is a big part of my problem. I kept things because I had the space.

Having read a lot about minimalism, living simply, etc. over the past few months, I know that I should only be keeping things because I need them or because I love them (preferably, a bit of both). I should not be keeping things “just in case” or just because I have the space.

I decided that I needed to do another big declutter and that I would use my empty bedroom to review every item in my house, from my biggest pieces of furniture to my smallest scraps of paper.

The first thing I tackled was my bedroom closet. I don’t have a lot of clothes, but the closet had become a catch-all for other things: craft supplies, extra notebooks, my rarely used scanner, etc. Some of those things could stay (ex: my collection of quilt batting, which is messy looking, so I’d rather leave it in a closet), but most were banished. If they didn’t fit with the collection they belonged to, then I clearly needed to review the collection.

Next, my storage closet. Ideally, this is where I would store all my rarely used items (camping gear, quilt batting, etc.), but I have found that I tend to expand to fill my space, so I decided to clear this closet out as much as possible. It was pretty much full and it now 5 items, most of which are only there because I’m a bit lazy (ex: I have a bag for shredded paper so that I don’t walk to the recycling depot each weekend).

Slowly but surely, I made it through each room and each space. My kitchen was a two day project. Scanning all the odds and ends of documents I found took hours (thankfully, spread out over a few days). My storage solutions for craft supplies had to be completely overhauled (not because I needed more containers, but because I had too many).

I was amazed at how many “for now” solutions I had and at how few of them were needed. With the exception of my sewing table (which I want to replace with a drop-leaf table), I got rid of most of the things I had kept “for now” because I either wasn’t using them or I needed to get off my butt and replace them (ex: a timer that is unreliable – I can just use my cell phone!).

Several bags of clothes and linens, several boxes of random junk, and my sofa (something I’d been planning on doing for a while) are all still piled up in my bedroom (not having a car means that getting rid of things can take a couple weekends), but that’s OK.  

I managed to make more space, clear out cupboards and closets, and end up with a dozen empty containers and boxes. Oh, and I got rid of the second laundry hamper, because I really don’t need two.

I feel like I should be surprised by having so much more to get rid of, but I’m not really. I can take several attempts to whittle down your possessions and it requires regular reviews and/or vigilance about not bringing unnecessary things into the space. 

What I was surprised about was how much I’ve been enjoying having all my things in one space. Without the sofa, my living/bed room set up is very nice. It’s cozy, I have easy access to everything, and it’s easy to tidy. I think that I might miss it when I moved my bed back into my bedroom. 

 

De-clutering: the e-edition

De-cluttering your e-content is a good thing.

There are 2 main sources of e-content: your computer and online.

On your computer, try to keep things semi organized (sort things into folders, delete old documents you no longer need, tag photos, etc.). The more stuff you keep the harder it is to find the things you really need/want, especially if you haven’t keep them organized.

For your online e-content, you need to look at both actual content you publish (example: photos added to Flickr or documents you hoard in Google Docs) and the online accounts you have. The more you add yourself to the web, the more likely you are to suffer a security risk.

Here’s an example: I read an interesting comment on Jezebel a long while back. I felt compelled to comment, but that required a username and login. I provided both, left my comment, and never commented on another thing again. Then, a couple months ago, they had a security breach. My username and password (a combo I used frequently, thought fortunately not for important things) may have been acquired by hackers. So, I had to update passwords all over the net … all because of one wee comment. This prompted me to re-evaluate which accounts I actually needed. Should I keep that Twitter account I never use? What about the Ravelry account – I rarely knit, so what’s the point? In the end, I deleted at least a dozen random accounts (everything from full profile accounts to random username and passwords needed for newsletters I rarely read). I then assessed (and mostly changed) the username/password for every other account I could remember having and the content I kept on them (including a good wed of my “friends” on Facebook).

Having less online presence was oddly liberating, and made my list of passwords much shorter (and easier to manage).

De-cluttering: the “should I keep it?” list

In my last post, I talked about my inspiration and plan to de-clutter. One of the key things you need to establish before a big de-clutter is a “should I keep it?” list. This is what my list looks like:

1. Is it something I use regularly? 
Example: A shirt that I wear almost every week or a favourite pair of earrings

2. Is it something that I love?
Really love, not just “love” because OMG it’s so pretty! Example: A Mexican coin bracelet that I never wear. If I were inclined to wear more jewelry and didn’t work at a computer all day, I would wear this bracelet every other day, but for now I keep it, and a few other treasures, for special occasions.

3. Is it something with sentimental value?
Example: Elephanté, my stuffed elephant from childhood. I love her dearly and have been known, in my adult life, to take it out when I needed a few moments of comfort. If I had shelves, I would put her and her companions (two dolls made by my great grandmother and a stuffed tooth fairy made by my mother) out on display because I am not ashamed to be an adult with a handful of very special stuffed toys

4. Is it something that would cost a lot to replace?
Example: I have an KitchenAid mixer which I don’t use very often as I’m not much of a baker. They’re not cheap and I got a really sweet deal on it, so it’s not going anywhere, not even if I get to a point where I only use it for Christmas cookies.

5. Is it something that’s essential?
Example: My winter coat. You cannot live in Edmonton without a proper winter coat.

6. Is it something that I use rarely, but when I do use it, I’m bloody glad to have it?
Example: I have a canning funnel. 90% of the time is gathers dust in the back of a cupboard, but I’m always very happy to have it when I make cranberry sauce.

7. Is it something that I rarely use, but is still useful when I pull it out of storage?
Example: … Actually, let’s go with an example that doesn’t meet this criteria: my re-chargeable batteries. I have 3 things that need batteries: an old portable CD player, a small alarm clock, and a flashlight. Thanks to my iPod, I no longer need to first two. The flashlight is very useful, but I have a eco-flashlight (hand-crank flashlight) and rarely have issues with power outages. The rechargeable batteries are old (very old – as in from back in my university years), take a long time to charge, and don’t keep their charge while in storage. I’ll keep the flashlight for emergencies, but the rechargeable batteries are *not* useful when I pull them out of storage (as they are usually dead by then), so they have to go.

8. Is it something that I know I will need/use later?
And, when I say “know”, I really mean it. Example: I used to keep boxes of all sizes for sending parcels, but shipping is expensive and I found that, more and more, it cost as much to ship an item as it did to buy the item. I can’t afford to waste that kind of money, so I recently decided to switch to gift cards or donations in the gift recipient’s name. This means that I can now get rid of all the boxes I’ve been hoarding.

9. Is it something that I will need when I repair something?
Example: Anything in my minimalist tool box that I’m likely to use at least once a year. There’s an additional question with this one: Is it something that I can easily borrow from someone else or rent? Of course, I ask this question anytime I consider buying a tool, so my tool box remains very minimal.

10. Is it something that I will need when I next move?
Example: A box that something came packed in that would be useful for repacking to move, like the box my KitchenAid came in. There’s an additional question with this one: If I were to move across the country (or to another country), would I bother to move that item with me? This is a really good question to ask yourself. Moving things across the country is expensive, and there are some things that aren’t worth taking with you. For some things, it may be cheaper and easier to donate the item and buy a new one (or live without the item) after you move. For these times, there’s no point in keeping the box they came in.

11. For things that come in groups: Do I need to keep them all?
Example: Chopsticks. I bought some really pretty ones while in Vancouver last year. All I could find was a collection of 12, but I don’t need that many, so I need to decide how many I really need, and get rid of the rest.

The list of questions will be different for everyone, as will the need to be strict. Let’s face it, there’s always something that falls in a grey area: you don’t “need” it, but you want to keep it even though it doesn’t fit under any of the pre-defined reasons for keeping things. That’s OK. Sometimes you just have to allow yourself to hang on to things. The important thing is to avoid hanging on to too much.

If you’re worried you’ll have too many things that fall in this grey area, make a rule to deal with them: you can keep one extra thing per space or only as many things as you can fit in a standard sized box. I’ve done the latter before. I even labeled the box “grey area” and left it in the hall to gather “grey area” items. Anytime I decided that an item fit in the grey area, I put it in the box. By the time I was done, the box was over flowing. I reminded myself that the rule was that it had to fit in the box. To me, that meant that I had to be able to close the box. So, I sorted through everything, got ride of a few things right away, and then put them in order based on how much I wanted to keep them. Then I started packing them in the box, starting with the thing that I wanted to keep the most, and working my way down. When the box was full, that was it – everything else had to go.

It can be hard, especially if you are a very sentimental person or this is your first really concerted attempt to de-clutter. Even seasoned organizers like myself can find it mentally exhausting, but it’s worth the effort.

De-cluttering: getting started

(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:

  1. Junk drawer in the kitchen
  2. Utensil / cutlery drawers
  3. Under the kitchen sink
  4. Refrigerator / freezer
  5. Lower kitchen cupboards (mostly small appliances and containers)
  6. Upper kitchen cupboards (mostly dishes and dry goods)
  7. Office supplies
  8. Art / craft supplies
  9. Cameras and accessories (digital and film … mostly film)
  10. Movies and music (including copies in iTunes)
  11. Books and magazines
  12. Bedroom closet
  13. Shelves in bedroom closet
  14. Jewelry and jewelry boxes
  15. Front hall closet
  16. Under the bathroom sink
  17. Storage closet: shelves
  18. Storage closet: everything else
  19. 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.