clutter challenge

Living in a cluttered house is like sitting down to do a jigsaw puzzle. But you have three 1,500 piece puzzles mixed up in the box and only room on the table to do a 500 piece puzzle. Something’s got to give.

Sort out the pieces and find the edges. These are the things you absolutely need. There are three puzzles’ worth though, so some of them will still have to go.

Once you’ve set up the edges, it’s time to tackle the middle pieces. No matter how you look at it, there are still way too many pieces. To stretch our metaphor a little bit, some of these pieces belong to a puzzle you finished years ago. Some of them belong to a puzzle you hope to have one day. The rest are what’ll fit in today’s puzzle with the edges you have.

Let the decluttering begin! Remember, you can still like something and let it go. Yes, it’ll be hard. There’ll be a twinge. But how are you enjoying your space right now?

There’s no perfect situation in life, so choose your hard: will it be hard to declutter or hard to live in your space? Then choose your reward: will it be lovely to not have to make these decisions, to have everything you could ever conceivably need somewhere, whether or not you can find it, or will it be lovely to have just enough and some clear space in your surroundings?

What if you simultaneously want to keep all the pieces and finish the puzzle? I’m afraid that’s not going to be possible. If you despair of your clutter, but are unable to let it go, it may be time to bring in a therapist. They’ll help you get past whatever’s making your brain think it needs all your stuff for your survival.  I know it sounds silly, but on some level, part of your brain knows the prime directive is to protect you. It’s gotten the idea that saving all this stuff is doing that, so let a therapist help you untangle that data glitch so you can get the clutter out of your space.

What if you love all your puzzle pieces and you’d rather keep them all than complete the puzzle? That’s okay, let yourself accept that fact and enjoy your stuff. And if you realize that you actually quite enjoy endlessly trying to do impossible puzzles, why then your clutter is serving you very nicely indeed. It’s keeping you off the streets, giving you a good reason not to do other things, possibly keeping people you don’t care for away from your space. If this is you, please keep the pathways clear for safety’s sake and carry on trying to turn three puzzles into one to your heart’s content.

But if you want to do the puzzle and are having a hard time sorting out all the pieces, there are people out there who’d love to help. If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

 

A perfectly ordinary looking love seat lurks in your family room. No one really sits on it, it’s just there, taking up space.

And yet if you dare to think about getting it out of your space, this completely average piece of furniture starts flexing its muscles and daring you to let it go.

“I was your Aunt’s.  She gave me to you. You can’t let me go!”

“I’m useful. You have to keep me even if you don’t like me. What if you have people over and you need a love seat?”

“You’ll never get another love seat. You’re lucky you even have me. Without me, you’ll have nothing.”

“I’ve always been here! I belong to you, you can’t let just anyone have me. Don’t send me to Goodwill! Find me the perfect home!”

“It’s wasteful to get rid of perfectly good furniture. You have to keep me.”

“I go with the couch and the reclining armchair. You can’t separate things, you have to keep the set!”

Methinks the piece of furniture doth protest too much. Why are you letting yourself be bullied by an inanimate object? It’s yours, but it doesn’t have to be. Take an objective look at how it fits into your life and see how you feel about it. Do you want, love or need it? No? Send it away Saturday!

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Need a helping hand dealing with your clutter? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

 

This Saturday, your assignment is to head for the garage, scan the space and focus on the first thing you see hanging on the wall. Take a look at this thing. Snowshoes? Sounds legit, we usually store sports equipment in the garage or the basement.

But this is Send it away Saturday, so let’s take a step back and ask the tough question: do you use these snowshoes? Or are you holding onto them because although you last went snow shoeing 26 years ago, should you ever want to again, you won’t have to rent snow shoes?

Is this a false economy, given that at this rate, you’ll be using those snow shoes a maximum of two more times in your natural lifespan?

Are you in fact losing money by not selling said pair of once-used snow shoes?

This Saturday, ask these questions about just one item in your garage. Make one decision, and pat yourself on the back for taking that step. All this stuff we hold onto is just a bunch of decisions we’ve been putting off. Let’s make those decisions one at a time with our Send it away Saturdays.

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Need a helping hand dealing with your clutter? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

You may not use a planner consistently, but in a chaotic world of surprises and change, there’s something temptingly attractive about the orderliness of a year neatly encapsulated by dates and appointments.

But a life isn’t so easily captured on paper.  It keeps happening, and all the careful planning in the world gets thrown away as you switch appointments last minute, reschedule coffee dates as other people’s schedules change, and spontaneously decide to ignore everything you’d planned to do today and head for the mountains.

That’s okay. Planners are great tools to attempt to corral a life in real time but they’re useless after the fact. Great idea to pencil in a reminder six months ahead as you leave the dentist’s office, but no need to keep an historical record of visits past. The dentist will call you to schedule your next cleaning regardless.

This Saturday, can you let go of a planner from years gone by? And if you’re just not using this year’s planner, can you let go of that too?

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

Need a helping hand dealing with your clutter? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Everything feels better with an organized home!

The static map captured on paper is almost a thing of the past.

Time was when we all drove around with folded up maps in our glove compartments, ready to pull over and figure out where we were at a moment’s notice. But when was the last time you did that rather than call on your GPS for help?

Countries change, boundaries shift, when was the last time you drove through Boulder and didn’t think to yourself how different everything looks? New stores, new streets and neighborhoods, thank goodness for Google Maps.

National Geographic still includes occasional wall maps, but there’s no need to keep them unless you’re planning to frame them as art.

This Saturday, are there any out-of-date maps you can send on their way? Old triptik travel planners from AAA that are surely going to take you off course, elevation maps of mountains you’ll never climb again with a paper map in your hand, old maps of Nebraska from that cross country trip in 1988?

Inaccurate clutter is irritating. An out-of-date map is unhelpful, so Send it away Saturday!

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

Need a helping hand dealing with your clutter? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Everything feels better with an organized home!

This Saturday’s decluttering challenge is simple but it may not be easy. For today’s Send it away Saturday, can you let go of any newspaper in your space that’s older than a day?

If you only have a few newspapers lying around, that’s not too hard but if you have stacks of them waiting to be read, the challenge may feel too challenging. Older than a day? I’m going to read those newspapers!

Let’s be kind to ourselves and pick a time frame that feels reasonable. Will you save all papers from the past week? The past month? What will feel comfortable for you?

If the answer is still I want to keep them all, then pull out your calculator. I’m going to ask you to multiply the number of minutes it takes to read a newspaper by the number of newspapers you have. And then ask yourself if that’s time you’re willing to spend on out of date information? If it is, please start reading. If it’s not, please start recycling.

If you’re saving newspapers for their historical interest, it’s time to think about how often you look at them and whether it’s possible that there are other copies saved elsewhere. Do you want to continue to be the nation’s unofficial archivist, or would you be happy knowing these papers are accessible online? On some level do you feel a need to preserve history? If that’s a passion of yours and you’re creating scrapbooks that you enjoy looking at, that’s very different from a pile of disintegrating newspapers crumbling away in your basement. If you vaguely imagine yourself proudly showing them to grandchildren one day, ask yourself if all this storing is worth it for one passing ‘That’s cool!’ at best?

If you have a non-reading use for your papers like lining the bird cage, collect data for a week. How often do you change the bird cage, how many sheets of paper does that take, how many sheets of paper come with each morning delivery? This will give you a feel for how much newspaper you use in a week. Keep a little extra just for comfort’s sake and then recycle the rest happily, knowing you won’t be caught short.

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

Need a helping hand dealing with your clutter? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Everything feels better with an organized home!

 

They almost seem anachronistic these days, but many of us are still clinging to our collection of dusty old business cards. Perhaps the intention is to go through them, to enter the information into our address books or phone contacts. To start networking with all those nice people you met at that local business get together three years ago.

Whatever the reason you’re holding onto them, this Saturday I’m going to ask you to consider whether any of those cards might be out of date by now, whether if you were going to use them by now you would have, whether phone numbers may have changed, and whether you can trust the Internet to help you out if you need to find a business’s contact information?

Some people (like journalists) hold onto every business card they’ve ever had as a shortcut reminder of all the interesting people they’ve talked to over the years. These collections are arranged so you can easily have a stroll down memory lane, in a box or a scrapbook.

Most of us find them tucked into books as bookmarks, stuffed way in the back of the junk drawer or scattered throughout the office in nooks and crannies. Making the decision not to keep any such card you come across from now on would be a practical way to start letting them go.

And if you hesitate to toss a card because of the information on it, it’s time to take action. Put them in your contacts, reach out and call them and then let the card go.

What if the old business cards you keep running across are yours? Keep three for old times sake and let the rest go. You don’t need the proof of what you did.

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Joyful Surroundings LLC

lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

Everything feels better with an organized home!