M and I thought we’d freshen things up as we head into spring. Which made us think of spring cleaning. Which made us think of the 365-Day Challenge we saw issued at (community member) Natine’s blog last year. Perfect to get spring started out right! Natine was gracious enough to guest post here today to explain how and why it works.
Six months ago, after rooting through a closet overflowing with apparel that hadn’t seen the light of day in eons, I decided for the bazillionth time to de-clutter. Instead of turning the resolution into a massive undertaking, I chose to unload stuff slowly: One. Item. Per. Day. Then, assuming there’s nothing like public humiliation to help keep one motivated, I announced “My 365-Day Challenge” in cyberspace and added a web page to keep track of my progress.
It turns out clutter covers more turf than just clothes closets and bookshelves. We have boxes full of unorganized photos, surfaces covered with dust-collecting bric-a-brac, piles of CDs and DVDs, and a pantry full of cans and boxes stashed behind cans and boxes. Despite e-banking and bill-paying, paper piles continue to accumulate. In fact, technology has created its own brand of clutter: the laptop has files in files in files; my cell phone has 1000s of (unorganized!) digital photos; the DVR is full of saved programs we don’t have time to view. If clutter inspires creativity as some experts claim, I should be a virtuoso of brilliant endeavors.
I write this on Day 227, the same number as the amount of items I’ve given away so far. (When asked to guest blog, I briefly considered a rapid unloading of more items so as to appear more impressive, but that felt somewhat unethical.) I don’t actually remove one thing per day, but I’ve diligently maintained the list of give-aways as things are moved onto the go-pile. When I bring new items into the house – clothes, kitchen gadgets, etc. – I put an equal number of items into the charity box without adding them to the total. All things considered, it seems likely I will succeed in de-cluttering at least 365 things in 365 days.
I truly do not miss what’s gone. The clothes in my closet right now fit my current body – not the one I had or hope to have some day. My cosmetic clutter is less. I have fewer things to dust. It turns out eliminating is liberating! Energizing! Empowering! I may not yet live in the Zen environment I fantasize about, but I am definitely motivated to move into the next de-clutter phase. Paper piles? Photos? E-files? Hmmm…
Are you uncluttering some aspect of your life? Please share your strategies!
Natine is a recalibrated woman of the Sandwich Generation, who challenges herself to write regularly. She mines her mind, flexes her fingers, and publishes her pith at Write-MindedWoman.com. [Click here if you would like to read the original inspiration and here to see the follow-up]