Determined to declutter
May 8, 2017
by Ivan Raconteur

The time has come for some serious decluttering at the old bachelor estate.

I arrived at this conclusion recently after a search for something I knew I had, but couldn’t find.

The problem is there is so much other stuff in the way, it becomes inefficient to find anything.

I don’t know where all this stuff came from. I assume it all had a reason for being there at one time, but most of it must go.

At a conservative estimate, I figure I could dispose of half my worldly possessions and not miss them at all.

I can’t find some of the things I own anyway, so it won’t make much difference if I keep them or get rid of them.

Clutter is one of the factors that result in a guy having three or four tape measures, because he has to buy a new one every time he starts a project.

The easy part is determining that some of the stuff must go.

The not-so-easy part is figuring out which stuff has to go, and how to get rid of it.

Some decisions are straightforward, such as items I no longer use.

Others, however, such as things we cleared out of my mother’s apartment after she cashed in her chips are not so simple.

Nonetheless, I am resolved to charge forward with a major decluttering campaign.

I decided, as I often do when embarking on a new project, to consult the internet for advice.

It turns out I’m not the only person who needs help decluttering. There’s a great deal of information out there for people in my position.

In fact, there is so much information, after about 10 minutes of research, I had to stop and rest. It was overwhelming.

It will be a monumental task to sift through all my stuff, but I am determined to do so, because the clutter is causing stress. The cats don’t seem to mind, but it is bugging me.

So, after I took a break, I went back and read some more.

Some of the information was helpful. Instead of being overwhelmed by the thought of going through the whole house, some experts (yes, there really are experts in this field) recommend breaking the project down into manageable pieces.

This might involve focusing on one room at a time, or even one part of a room, such as a closet or the dresser in a bedroom.

Some experts suggest systems to help identify items we actually use in a six-month period, and anything that doesn’t get used should be eliminated.

Others suggest giving away one item every day until the clutter is gone.

That reminded me of a game my aunt and uncle played when they were downsizing to a smaller home.

They had a party, and wrapped up a bunch of items they no longer wanted. Everyone who attended the party had to take one wrapped item home with them without knowing what it was.

It was then up to the guests to either use, re-purpose, or dispose of the item.

This could make people wary of attending parties at my house, but it may depend on the quality of the items.

The items my relatives disposed of in that way were all useful items – they were just things my relatives no longer wanted or needed.

Some of the experts recommended getting several boxes and labeling them to identify items to trash, donate, or keep.

The key is, when one is going through the decluttering process, everything must be evaluated. Nothing gets a free pass.

This includes all those clothes in my closet that I have been hoping will fit again “someday.”

The clothes need to go, which will free up a lot of space in my closet. If I do lose weight, I can go out and buy new clothes, and that will be a cheap price to pay for the freedom of a decluttered closet.

There are plenty of places that will accept donations of different kinds of items. It is just a matter of doing some research to find out where we can donate the kinds of things we want to get rid of.

One helpful piece of advice I ran across addressed the way we feel about things.

If we are serious about decluttering, we have to accept the fact that whatever we paid for something initially, that value is gone. This is referred to as “sunk costs.”

The experts acknowledge it is difficult for some people to give up things they paid hard-earned money for, or things they once enjoyed, but if we are no longer using the items, it is time to move on.

I haven’t drawn up a plan of attack yet, but I will be doing so soon.

I don’t expect the decluttering process to be easy, but I am confident my life will be simpler once it is done.

My house will be more organized and easier to clean and maintain.

It will also be easier to find things.

Who knows? I may even find those salad bowls that have been missing since I moved in 15 months ago.

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