First off, that is really fun to say. Second, this is one of the areas in which I feel I’ve grown most in my years, so I could say a million things about this. Third – and proof of second – I wrote a blog post on this way back in August – you can find it at: https://flungforthanew.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/divesting/
Fourth, and I’ll stop counting here because I think I know the main thing I want to say: junk is clutter, and clutter does not enhance life. Often, clutter just sucks the energy right out of you , or me, or us. For many people, we look around our house and there are little piles on each of the flat surfaces. That’s visual clutter. It’s also mental clutter – each of those things hangs on us in some way: the catalog I wanted to order something from, the toy that’s waiting to be glued, the medical bill that I have to call about, the picture my friend sent me, the plate that didn’t get back to the kitchen, the DVD that didn’t go back in its sleeve. I have to be careful of each of these in some way (don’t lose the toy part, scrape the dvd, lose the bill). And I don’t have a place to set anything else down without starting an avalanche – so I am less free, even in my own home.
Here is the take-home message for today’s question, and for me it was a game-changer. “CLUTTER” is “A DECISION DEFERRED.” Each and every piece of clutter is something that was in my hands, and I said, “I don’t know what to do with this. I will deal with it later.” And I set it down, and there it stays. 95% of the time, the decision is no easier later; in fact, it’s harder, because that item now has a story and a challenge and I’m unlikely to have the energy for those when “later” does or doesn’t come.
So here is what one does: say you’re holding a phone bill, and there’s an extra fee on it. Yuck. Get a post-it and write on it the steps to getting it fixed (1. Get phone # to call; 2. Call and write result on bill; 3. File and move post-it to front of that file to remember to check bill next month.) WAIT. Write down WHEN you will do these steps. Stand up for yourself in getting to these tasks. You deserve a life without little hooks and large piles of crap.
Tell yourself that you will only defer decisions if there is a legitimate reason to. And if you’re facing junk like full closets, recognize that there are a lot of “deferred decisions” in there. Take 15 minutes (set a timer) and start MAKING decisions: wear, donate, trash, repair (how & when?). Being a chic chick means making decisions. (And guys, you can be chic, too.) The more you make, the better you get, and the less clutter will have power over you.
If you want to learn more about caring for the spaces you live in, I highly recommend www.FlyLady.net. She has a system of what she calls “home blessing” and she teaches how to manageably clear out junk and make your home (office, car, etc) hospitable. She emphasizes that you deserve to live with energy and joy – and she is right!