“It’s so hard to stick to the decluttering. It’s just, well, boring.” I hear this often.
Until you get into the decluttering and find long-lost items, money, photos with memories, and something your elementary school friend gave you, the serendipitous joys of this journey are impossible to describe.
Feelings are generated from found objects. A lost memory, a past event, recalling the times you had with a person, or often, how far you’ve come in your life.
I get that it takes awhile when I work with people or consult and coach them through the process, of course.
I had forgotten what it’s like when it’s MY stuff.
Decisions I Had to Make – And How I Made Them
Here are some of the decisions I had to make as I decluttered a guest room space downstairs to become my new, larger, more private office space.
Items from my parents, passing down traditions. Which to keep? Can I reuse and repurpose some of these items so I’m actually using them instead of storing them for future use?
- Yes! Take them out of their hiding spaces and enjoy them. Start looking for ideas and have fun with this! Decide what stays in the office and what moves to the home space.
Old technology: I had a couple of small bins of old cords, cables, network routers. How well do I want to keep up with technology? Is there anything on an old PC that needs old technology; and will I ever REALLY and TRULY need it again?
- Could I print and file the small pieces that might be useful someday and get rid of disks, etc.
- It’s been years. Someday IS today. Call the pickup service and find out the responsible disposal means.
My books or projects I’ve authored/co-designed: I’ve had projects over the years, many of which worked out well, and some which were learning experiences about partnerships but not in play anymore.
- For older projects, I kept one copy of the project. It’s on display,like my own museum exhibit. I’m proud of the work, but only need a sample to remind me.
Business files: What’s the flow of current-keep for reference-archive-and out. And where do they get housed now that I’m changing office spaces?
- Map it out. Follow IRS guidelines. Think about what I need and where – how frequently do I need access.
I don’t own this item.Can I decide on my own or should I ask ?
- Always ask … but it was tempting, since it is my space, to do whatever I wanted. If you don’t ask, though, it can be traumatic for the other person, and disrespectful at the least.
Scuba gear: I know; it doesn’t sound like me. Loved getting final certification in Hawaii. Loved being underwater in another world.
- Will I ever do this hobby again? What other hobbies do I have? Enough. I won’t scuba dive again and that’s okay. It was great while it lasted and I’m glad I did it.
Professional history – Organizing books and copies of newspaper articles which quoted me, early on: The books were from when I started my business, the classics. Can I give up that history, even though I haven’t cracked those books in many years?
- How could you pass along the books, since you HAVE the knowledge? I can donate them to my local organizers’ chapter.
- And I can revel in how far I’ve come, but keep only major articles of my professional history (in the archive boxes). How much history drags me into the past; how much is useful as reminder of how far the business has come in 9 years?
- Add to the other room for “when the Boys and Girls club calls to ask if we want a pickup.”
- Have a staging area for items leaving the house, so you deal with them all at once, and later on.
The bed: Who in the family might need a bed? It doesn’t get much use anymore.
- Take a photo while decluttering and email it to whomever might need it. Ask for a decision in the next day or two; don’t let it drag on. Find out when and how they will pick it up. By the end of your decluttering session, you’ll have more decisions “one step closer” to “done.”
Photos and purposeful procrastination: There weren’t many, but these photos are not related to my business.
- I did not take time to decide on keep/let go. I put them where my other, printed photos are, and that’s a project for a rainy or wintery day later on. Stay focused on the goal. “Purposeful procrastination” works in the right circumstances.
A sketch of me, by a Montmartre, Paris, France artist: I was an exchange student to Paris, France in high school. That’s my sketch above. From that trip, I knew that I’d want to return for my college’s junior year abroad program. I lost my photo albums in a house move years ago so I have few records of that era. The sketch probably won’t go up on the wall, but it is staying nearby my office, close to me.
What Can You Do with This?
See whether you could use these ideas and adapt them to your circumstances. Practice.
If what you’re doing now isn’t working, what will it cost you to try something different? Dip your toe in the water.
“It’s up to me and to you to empower ourselves enough to find whatever it is within our current situation that we can control, no matter how small it may be – and start there.”
~ Start Where You Are, Chris Gardner.
My Next Stop
Did you miss the first time I was stopped in my tracks? Visit that blog here.
Stop #3 - Things I really can’t do on my own.
Good luck with your practice!