Today, I had a bit of a wakeup call about my problem…yes I have a problem and I bet you do too. What is my problem you ask??? I sometimes keep things that I don’t need!!!! I have good intentions, but a lack of follow through. Come on, admit it…you have this same problem. Don’t act like I’m in this by myself.
You will find that in the process of decluttering, you will organize stuff that should be thrown away and you will make piles/stacks of things to review or handle later. Many times people forget about these projects and the stacks just get moved from place to place…or they get organized and forgotten…or you just don’t have the “time” to work on them. Ok people, lets be realistic with ourselves about these mystery stacks and set some guidelines as to when they will be discarded, completed or cleaned out.
One way to combat this issue is to create a visitation log for the item/stack. This could be a label that you hang from the basket or clip to the stack. On the label you should have the following. (1) The start date which is the date you create the stack or pile, (2) Several lines for the access date(s) which will have the date that you work on the project or read the magazine, etc., and (3) an expiration date which is an allotted amount of time to have completed the project.
Delivery Date: 8/13/12
Access Date: ___________
Access Date: ___________
Access Date: ___________
Expiration Date: six months from the last date accessed
By creating this label it forces you to face reality. Now there are other organized areas that this process won’t work for so you have to be honest with yourself and determine when you will regularly clean out those areas. For example, you have a basket that is the junk basket for a closet. Once a month or quarter you should planned to clean the basket out or review its contents. Set some rules for yourself. If you have something in there that you haven’t used in over a year or two seasons (i.e., 2 winters in a row)…it’s time to let it G.O. By doing the regular review, you eliminate the risk of forgetting that you own an item.
Now that I have given you some suggested fixes let me tell you about a couple of my “special places”:
The Candy Basket
Now don’t judge! This basket used to be the stuffed animal basket, until I realized I have no kids and in reality what do I need stuffed animals for….so it became my basket where I threw hard candy and gum…and other little treats that don’t need to be in the kitchen. Reality…well, that cookie in the box is from TWO YEARS AGO!!! Yes, my best friend got married and his bride sent these out to those who were in the wedding. It was the cutest thing ever, so I didn’t want to eat it…but really, do I still need it in the house? I’m sure if she is reading this, she is cringing at the fact that it wasn’t eaten, but it was just too darn cute! This basket is getting an overhaul and will be repurposed into my stair travel basket. I will place it by the stairs and anything that needs to go up will be put in it and once it is upstairs, anything that needs to go downstairs will be placed in it. I really don’t need that much candy and gum anyway!
Basket of Magazines
Now this basket is really pretty useful, but do I really need two of them??? And how often have I retrieved a magazine out of it? Ummmm we are being honest right?? Well the reality is I never retrieve the magazines out of it, so that tells me I need to get rid of them!!! I hate to do that because I’m sure the magazines in them have great articles but they have been sitting there for over a year. It’s time to just let them G.O! I have already stopped all my previous subscriptions, but that was probably two years ago (yeah just like the cookie). I’m sure a teacher could use these for some kind of art project. So, I am going to set a three month expiration date on them. If they aren’t reviewed by that date all of them will be donated.
Lesson Plans and Supporting Books
About ummm Three years ago, I used to teach a class at one of the local colleges and they gave me copies of all the books for the lesson plans. Some of the books were for classes I didn’t even teach, but I kept them because I wanted to review them and teach myself some stuff to help with work. Well, reality is I haven’t cracked those books since they walked (like they have legs) into this house. They have just moved from place to place. I have decided they will be relocated to my office, at work and labeled using the method above. Since they are technology books a lot of the data may be obsolete, but I wanted to get some of the basic computing information that they provide.
I’m sure I have other areas of “organized crap” in the house, but those are the first three I will tackle. Do you have any “organized crap” around your home or office? Try the methods above and let me know how they work for you. You know what I’m about to say…FILL THAT HAPPINESS BUCKET…lets get the crap out of your life!