Any season is the perfect season for getting rid of excess of all kinds in our lives. This is also a healthy and useful practice for parents to teach their children because it will become a habit that serves them well throughout life. Where do you and your family tend to build up clutter? Here are some common areas:
- Computer files
- Kitchen drawers, counters, and tables
- Bathroom cupboards and counters
- Hobby, crafts, sewing, and toy areas
- Garage and storage shelves or bins
- … You name it!
It’s so easy to drift into the poor habit of “piling” things and tucking them away instead of getting organized. But a lean and clean lifestyle will help you reduce stress in several ways. Not only will the items you want to put your hands on be easier to find, but you’ll have few things to dust, keep track of and keep repaired.
Seven quick tips to de-clutter include:
- Set up three bags or boxes: give away, discard, store. Set a timer for 30 minutes and make fast decisions in your bedroom closets and bureau drawers. Go through the clothes, shoes and accessories that you seldom use. Sort them. If you come across a favorite item that needs repair in order to enjoy it again, put it aside in a 4th pile. Be ruthless. Don’t linger over something that still has on store tags but you’ve never worn and never will. We all make those purchasing mistakes. Bless it and send it off to someone who will enjoy it at a thrift store (or give to a friend)
- While you’re watching TV or a video, drag out your basket or bins of CDs, DVDs, games and software. Whatever you can digitize, copy to your hard drive (or flash drive, external drive, etc) and then donate the hard copy to your favorite charity or library for their fundraising sales. You can also find companies online that will buy used music and movies from you at a very low cost, or you can set up your own store on eBay, Amazon or other sites to sell the items yourself in the used marketplace.
- After you’ve tackled the bedroom, go through linen closets and bathroom cupboards and discard those half-used bottles of shampoo and soap that you didn’t like but you feel guilty tossing. Also donate to charity extra sheets, towels and pillows that you’ve been keeping on hand just because it’s been easier than doing anything about patterns and colors you’re tired of. Get rid of excess!
- Sort your bookcases and stacks of magazines as well.
- Did you notice the item “computer files” on the list above of commonly cluttered areas? That’s because digital clutter counts! If you can’t find a file when you want it, because your computer is not organized into folders that are useful and make sense to you, then this is an area to address. That feeling of frustration, the flurried search for an important document or photo is just as much a cause of stress as when those documents and pictures re hard copies on your desktop. You can start with general folders that make the most sense to you, and as you go along, simply add more folders to the hard drive. For example, you might label a folder “Photos” and then start creating new folders inside that main folder, for other categories that are meaningful to you (“Family,” “Work,” “Vacations”) and/or set up folders for the year so you can readily locate files when a chronological search is logical to you. If you haven’t set up any folders, and only have massive “Document” and “Pictures” folders, then start your new organization method now, within those areas. You can gradually drag and drop more files into the separately labeled folders. For instance, keep the “Documents” header and create new folders under it for “Taxes,” “Financial Records,” “Household,” “Recipes,” etc. depending on how you use your computer.
- When you have a few minutes of idle time while waiting for the microwave or for something on the stove to finish cooking, use that time to gradually go through your kitchen pantry and spice cupboards. Dump old items that are stale, plus those mixes and condiments you know you’ll never get around to using. If items are staples that are unopened, consider donating them to a local food kitchen. They can always use your contributions to help prepare meals for the homeless and others in need.
- When something breaks that is repairable, put it aside in a special basket where you also keep the necessary mending tools such as a sewing kit, household glue/cement, scissors, a stapler, and so on. Set one day a month, such as the last Saturday of the month, as your “Fix It” day, and take care of those repairs. If you put that broken cup back in the cupboard and just keep shoving it aside while muttering to yourself that “someday” you will glue the handle back on, what happens is that you inadvertently pile on a fresh shovelful of tension and stress. Your mind absorbs that thought as being a brand new item on your To Do task list. It doesn’t feel like something old (that is already on the list, even if it’s been on the list for months) because your thought in this moment is refreshing your annoyance with yourself for not taking care of this, the burden of having to much to take care of, and dismay that a cup you like needs mending.
I’m sure you can think of more ways to neaten up your life and create SPACE for all the abundance and new experiences you want to flow into your life. When your life is overcrowded and there’s no room for more, how can you expect wonderful new things to arrive? Clear out the old and unwanted, mend what is still good and usable, and you will get in harmony with the Law of Abundance that will bring more things you would love into your life.
with love and blessings,