What Can You Declutter Today?

If you’re a minimalist, the sort who happily gets down to one roll of t-paper before heading for the store, you’ve probably started buying a little more lately. If you’re more of a packrat, you’ve most likely struggled to find space for everything you’ve been buying this month to beef up your supplies.

You know you ought to declutter but when you’re stressed out about the unknown, it’s difficult to let anything go. What if you slip up and get rid of something you’ll need?

To help free yourself, ask yourself if you’ve made any emergency trips to pick up some extra torn baby blankets? Spent hours hunting down a couple more boxes of broken stereo components? Searched online hoping to score just a few more wires that might work if you jiggled them? My guess is you haven’t.

These things are still not useful. They take up space and stop us from living our lives. They crowd in on us, reproaching us for not dealing with them. They gloat from cupboards and hog space in the pantry. They sit smugly in the basement, waiting for us to throw up our hands in despair and leave them to multiply.

If decluttering for twenty minutes a day has been too much for you, I invite you to return to Send it away Saturday: COVID-19 style. That means choosing something that can go in the trash or the recycling. Your favorite donation spot will be open soon but for now, stick with things you know for sure will be able to leave the house.

Each Saturday, find one thing to let go of and see it off the premises. Just one and then you’re done.

Your filing cabinet is a great place to start. Half to three quarters of what’s in there is most likely obsolete.

Pull out a folder and leaf through it. Any instructions you find on how to grow tomatoes, upholster an armchair or string a guitar probably feel delightfully fresh, almost as if you have no remembrance of having saved them.

That’s because you haven’t looked at them since you carefully tucked them away in their manilla folder and shoved the folder into the already bulging file cabinet. When the Internet came along you gradually transitioned to saving interesting articles and ideas online. Reluctant to abandon paper at first, you also printed out the articles and eventually filed the paper copies.

Since then you’ve searched online whenever you wanted to grow tomatoes, upholster an armchair or string a guitar. You’ve seen someone show you how to do all those things. You’ve proved to yourself that the Internet isn’t a passing fad. There’s no longer a need to construct your own Encyclopedia Brittanica (also online now) at home anymore.

If you’re saving these papers so you remember what you’re interested in, find a large pad of paper or open up a document on your computer and start a list. Call it ‘Things I Want to Remember’ and list the topics.

Now the papers themselves can safely go.

If you’re finding it difficult to let go of things, I offer specialized decluttering and organizing services to help you get unstuck. Call me, text me or email me. Tell me your clutter story and let’s come up with a plan to create the organized home you deserve.

Contact me to schedule your complimentary 30 minute consultation.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Good point that there’s ALWAYS something, and some way, to declutter, to some degree. It’s a form of procrastination/perfectionism to say I can’t because it’s too big a job, or because I can’t donate right now. (Really? You don’t have a single corner of your home where you can gather donations so that they’re all ready to leave the house when the donation centers reopen?) And it’s best done a little at a time anyway, on a regular basis, so it DOESN’T turn into a big job. And much easier for some to have a focus — like trash and recyclables only right now, or Saturdays only.

    1. How did I miss this comment?! So insightful, thank you Hazel!

  2. juliebestry says:

    Oh, it made me laugh out loud when you wrote, “if you’ve made any emergency trips to pick up some extra torn baby blankets? Spent hours hunting down a couple more boxes of broken stereo components?” And I love your minimalist approach with the “Send It Away Saturday” because it’s so easy to move forward when so little effort is required to advance. Great post!

    1. Thanks Julie! I’m all about doable decluttering 😉

  3. You are so correct. Most information we keep in paper form is no longer relevant and even if we looked for it we won’t be able to find it. It’s so much faster to look things up on the internet.

    1. It’s a difficult transition for many people I work with…so if they can find even one piece of paper to let go, hurray!

    2. Thanks for reading, Janet!

  4. Linda Samuels says:

    Lucy- I love your compelling words about how we aren’t going shopping for frayed wires or broken stereo components. They are helpful in bringing another perspective to the editing and letting go process. And you also make an excellent point about decluttering the items during this time that CAN be released- like trash and papers no longer needed. For those that have the energy and mental bandwidth right now, this could be a terrific time to clear out those file drawers.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Linda and thank you for mentioning that we do need to have some energy and mental bandwith to tackle even the smallest decluttering task right now. Here on Send it away Saturday, we’re all about slow and steady wins the race. And sometimes letting it be okay to go even slower is just the ticket. I’m in awe of folks who are using this time to declutter and organize their whole house. And I know that’s not happening for most of the people I’m talking to 🙂

  5. The attic papers – that’s serious decluttering! Way to go! Shredding is super tedious but you’re right, so productive. I’m always glad when mine starts to grumble and heat up, time to stop 🙂

  6. Yes, paperwork is a great thing to be working through right now. Even I’ve been tackling some boxes that have been up in my attic for far too long. Glad I have a shredder. It’s a bit tedious, but at least like I feel like I’m being productive!

What say you?