Tired of making the same old New Year’s Resolutions about decluttering and getting organized? Let’s make 2020 the year you start making your entertainment clutter earn its keep. What’s entertainment clutter? The books we’re going to read, the movies we’re going to watch, the video games and the board games we intend to play.
Do You Like to Read?
- In addition to your well-stocked shelves, you buy books online and you never pass an bookstore or a library book sale without popping in just to see what they have.
- Maybe you have a subscription to Audible.
- Your weekly trip to the library is a cherished routine but since there’s a deadline to return library books, you find yourself focusing on them and never quite getting to your reading pile. Which has long since toppled over and scattered books all over the floor and under your favorite reading chair.
Are You a Movie Buff?
Rows and rows of DVDs line your customized shelving arranged by genre. Or perhaps you still have cases of VHSs too. Quite a few sets of documentaries and dozens of dramas and rom-coms. All that’s needed is for you to find the time to start watching them.
Board Games Rock
They’re a great way to gather friends and family and challenge wits in a friendly contest. You have a serious collection of games and can’t understand why there’s never time to set up a game.
Plan Your Fun
Take a blank calendar page for January – you can find free templates on line or if you like using dotted journals, you can draw your own.
If you want to focus on reading, decide how much time a day you can realistically spend reading. We’d all like to block off a few hours every day but it’s hard to fit in the rest of your life if you do that. Can you spend 30 minutes a day reading? Twenty? Ten? Five?
Write down in each daily space the name of the book you’re going to read. Play around with how many days you think it’ll take to finish the book, and write the title in each square.
Every day when you read for 20 minutes (set the timer!), take a highlighter and highlight the title on that day when the time rings. No reading, no highlighting.
You can play this game with all sorts of entertaining things you have stashed away around the home.
If you want to play a board game every Thursday evening, write the name of the game in Thursday’s square.
If you want to play a video game for fifteen minutes every afternoon, write down the names of the games you want to play in each day’s square.
Have a book of inspirational quotes you’d like to use? Write Daily Gratitude in each square and highlight it when you’ve read the day’s quotation.
Want to meditate with an app each day but find yourself skipping days? Write down Headspace in your calendar and highlight it when done.
Why This Works
When there’s a plan in place, all the tough decisions have already been made. Reading time? Great – pick up your copy of War and Peace and start reading. You don’t waste time wondering what to read, or skimming Facebook looking for an article. You don’t go online to order a new book, you start using what you have.
Movie time? Pop the DVD you’ve chosen in the player. Just check your calendar grid to find out what’s playing at your home today.
Inspirational mp3s? Grab your headphones and cue up the download you’ve selected for the day.
But My Calendar Isn’t Big Enough!
One calendar page per activity. If you find yourself with twenty-five calendar pages, chuckle at yourself and whittle it down to three pages at most.
Side Effects Include Painless Decluttering
Let’s say you’ve decided you can probably read three novels this month. Go through your stash and pick out three. Pay attention to which ones you pass over. When you set up next month’s calendar grid, if you skip those same books then the truth is, you don’t really want to read those books.
If you want to remember you wanted to read them, write down the titles and authors or take a picture of the cover and then let the books themselves go. That way, you know you can get them from the library if you want to.
When you see you have twenty three separate books of inspirational quotations, you can ponder how many books of inspirational quotations might be enough. I have all the books by a certain author – I used to love those books but I’m not picking any of them out to reread for this project. Can they go too?
And if you want to play, but you find yourself hunting for new books, then it’s time to look at every single book you’ve been saving to read and admit to yourself that you don’t really want to read them. They can go so you’ll have shelf space for the new books that you do want to read.
The Relief of Decluttering
You’ll soon find that when you stop stockpiling entertainment supplies and start using them, you save a bunch of money. Impulse buying is side-lined as you appreciate the things you already have and feel the satisfaction of using them. We often spend money because we’re bored and want to be entertained, this practice helps you focus on being entertained by what you already have.
Is Your Entertainment Out of Date For You?
It also gives you the chance to release any disappointing purchases. You pick a movie for next Saturday, you make the popcorn and sit down only to find you fall asleep halfway through. No need to keep that movie a second longer.
That fiendish jigsaw puzzle of the Rosetta Stone? If you discover you’re just not interested in working it, it’s time to send it to the thrift store and let someone else have a go.
And maybe it helps you discover that actually, you don’t like doing jigsaw puzzles at all. You don’t enjoy playing video games anymore, you really only like listening to books not reading them. They can all go, every last one of them.
This project helps you find out what’s really clutter and what’s bringing you joy. You can clear out the clutter so you’ll have space for doing the things you love. What will make it onto your entertainment calendar this month?