My fiancé and I are preparing for a future consolidation of our two houses. After 50 plus years of separate accumulation, needless to say, clutter has been on my mind quite a bit of late.
I think the mistake I’ve been making with my clutter is assuming that it’s all due to an overwhelming amount of laziness and an utter lack of organization. I’ve always felt that if I could get off my behind and just get with the program, all my clutter problems would be solved. Well, after a fair amount of internet searching about clutter and it’s causes, I now think a lot differently about my stuff.
In particular, I found this short video, entitled THE two things that cause ALL clutter to be most helpful indeed. Basically, it demonstrates that there are two reasons for clutter: Deferred Decisions and Incomplete Actions.
Some examples of Deferred Decisions are:
I am keeping this item because I might use it as xyz. Or maybe I’ll just throw it away. I haven’t decided.
These clothes don’t fit me. I don’t know whether to keep them in hopes that I lose weight, or give them away.
This is a pile of books I will probably never read. But you never know.
Some examples of Incomplete Actions are:
I’ve been meaning to give this to my sister, but I haven’t gotten around to it.
I put that there to do something with, and I forgot all about it.
I plan to sell this, but I haven’t posted it on Craig’s List yet.
I have these craft supplies because I plan to make something with them, but I haven’t found the time.
I’ve been meaning to sort through these obsolete phones and computers and get rid of them, but I haven’t taken the time.
I’ve been meaning to transfer these photos/Cassette recordings to digital to create more space. One of these days.
Once you look at things from the lens of Delayed Decisions and Incomplete Actions, it’s a lot easier to get moving on them. With the former: Make your decision! Don’t put it off. There’s no time like the present. With the latter: complete that action. Just do it.
Easier said than done, I know. But what I’m finding is that it’s a lot simpler to follow through on this stuff if my fiancé is present. He doesn’t judge. He just acts as a logical sounding board, and points out the obvious.
“Are you really ever going to play that ukulele again?” “Even if you fit into those clothes again, are they your style anymore?” “I know a great place where you can have your cassettes digitized. Let’s consolidate them into one box and do that on Wednesday.” “Do you really need 8 garlic presses?” “If that has sentimental value, maybe you should keep it. Or maybe you should take a picture of it to keep, and then pass it on to someone who could use it.”
I’ve made more progress with his help in the past few weeks than in all the time I’ve tried to tackle it alone. When I die, whoever has the unenviable task of sorting through my personal effects will want to kiss him on the lips.
Another thing that has incentivized me is that my neighborhood is planning a community garage sale later this month. That would be a great opportunity to try to sell stuff. But anything that doesn’t go will NOT go back into the house. Period. It will either go to Goodwill or I will put it on Craig’s List for sale THAT DAY, and leave it on the back porch for a maximum of two weeks in hopes of sale.
But, back to my original argument about laziness and lack of organization. The good news is that you don’t have to get rid of everything. Thinking you do is half of what has probably caused your inaction. No, there are some things that are
Not clutter, but a mess:
Photos. (But do try to digitize as many of them as you can.)
Things that have sentimental value (and a photo won’t suffice).
Things you really have used within the past year.
Once you’ve gotten rid of all the other stuff, it’s time to organize the mess. But that will be a whole lot easier when you have the space. And, if you’re like me, as you make more and more progress, you’ll feel proud of your accomplishments and you’ll be energized.
Wish me luck! If I can do this, you can do this. And, like a shoe that’s two sizes too small, it’ll feel soooo good when it’s gone.