Monday, February 22, 2010

Time Management Junkie--Skill #2--Declutter!

Look around you right now.  Can you see your flat surfaces?  Are your counters there (somewhere, under the mail and the dirty dishes and the remnants of lunch)?  Does your coffee table need dusted (or can you not see under the remote controls, the magazines, the kid toys, and the kleenx)?  If you can’t see your flat surfaces, and I mean walls and floors, too, then it is time to de-clutter!

Here’s a quick challenge.  Get up right now, grab a plastic grocery sack and go shop for 10 items you can get give or throw away.  Go.  Now.  I’ll wait.

Think in these terms:

Really, do I want to dust that ugly vase again?  Do I really want to devote time to reorganize those DVDs I haven’t watched since I had the kids?  Are those used margarine containers and lids really worth re-using again and again as Tupperware?

Did you find 10 items (or more)?  Great.  Take a picture of what you just found and e-mail it to me.  Really, I want to see what you found.  

Now if you can throw it away/recycle it (meaning it is garbage or junk) do it now.  If you can give it away, rush out and put it in your trunk.  Yes, I mean now.  Out of sight, out of mind.  If you can’t see what you are giving away then you won’t think about all the ways you could use that item in the future (despite the fact you haven’t used it in 10 years and don’t like it).

Congratulations.  Now repeat this with a different room every day of the week.

WARNING:  Do Not get trapped into poverty thinking. 
What’s that?  
Poverty thinking is holding onto something you don’t like and haven’t used IN YEARS because you think you might use it someday.  

Why is this poverty thinking?  
Because you are neglecting to think that someone who lives in poverty RIGHT NOW might be able to use that item RIGHT NOW.  You are also assuming that if you need that third blender in nine years you won’t be able to afford it.

Be generous with your junk.

Take it to Goodwill or give it away on your local group.
If it’s worth money, sell it on craigslist or ebay

But for heaven’s sake, if you don’t love it, get rid of it.  Clutter is a time and energy drain!

The de-clutter rule: Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful.

If you really want to get after it, get three large bins and label them: give away, sell, and throw away.  Now go through each room of your house (1-2 a day) and put 10 things in each bin. Your kids will love helping as long as it’s YOUR stuff.

Did you do it?  Prove it!


  1. I have my kids do this several times a week... go around and pick up 10 things as fast as you can that belong to you... that are inevitably strung all over the house. My daughter loves it and since she is the worst she normally ends up with 30-50 odds and ends that are mostly very small things. They sure add up!

    You have an award over on my blog, The Improbable Housewife. :)

  2. What a great idea! Getting started is usually the most difficult part - the job can seem so overwhelming. I'm going to have to do this before we move this summer & I'm suddenly in a time crunch!

    Another hint: if you have books that you aren't going to keep, you might be able to easily make some money. has instant quotes, free shipping, quick turnaround & excellent customer service. Please feel free to email me with any questions.

  3. Jessica--Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the award. That is so sweet.

    Rhoni--Thanks for the suggestion and tip!

  4. I seem to be doing exactly this at least once a month. I get the bug to seriously de-clutter and just start tossing things even though it pains me! Maybe it would be easier to let them go if I tried doing it more often like you suggest? I'm going to give it try! Thanx!


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