Friday, December 30, 2011

Operation: Clutter-Free

Why is it that sometimes you end up with the things you dislike most? In this particular case, I'm talking about clutter. I don't like it. It makes me uncomfortable. Yet, I see it in my house everyday, especially in my home office.
I didn't have this problem until I started working from home. For 5 years I worked as a Couture Handcrafted Invitation Designer. Each project I worked on was designed to fit a particular theme or personality. As a business owner, I bought much of my supplies in bulk, and little by little, after each individual project reached its final destination, it left behind the pieces it was created from. In other words, I have tons of inventory on the shelves.
As I transitioned from being self-employed to being employed full-time and having a kid in grade school, organizing my office was a task I put on the back burner. My new routine however, keeps me quite busy, and it's now time that I make time to tackle this project once and for all before I pull my hair out. I want to be able to relax in my home, not look at this mess and think of all I have to do to get rid of it.

The image above, to the left, is what I see in front of me when I'm sitting at my desk. The image to the right displays what sits directly behind me. Yes...I'm embarrassed to post these pictures, and even more embarrassed to admit I have one more wall that looks just like this. Eeeek!

So here's what I decided to do:
1) Declutter my entire home, one step at a time.
Actually, due to my recent weight-loss, I started this process a few months ago. I have cleaned out my closets and gotten rid of those dreadful size 12s to make room for my new size 8s. Feels great!

How am going to do this?
1) Yard sales
I had one 3 weeks ago. It was very successful! I made about $200 on a weekend selling my stuff and felt great about it! It's kind of flattering actually, to see that others like the same things I do and are willing to pay to enjoy the life these items still have left in them. My dad is actually having a yard sale next week, so I'm going to join him and try my luck out in his neighborhood.

2) Donating
Whatever doesn't sell, I'm going to take to Goodwill. I also have some newish or gently used items that I know my mom and mother-in law would appreciate, such as pots, pans and bakeware.

3) Releasing emotional attachments
Yes, there are some items I am emotionally attached to because of who gave them to me. But as I pass along said items, for example, the purse my sister gave me for my birthday 4 years ago, it becomes a great little find for someone hunting for accessory treasures at a thrift shop, while creating a clean space in home for me to enjoy.

4) Virtual Yard Sale
I have some electronics and stationery items that I'm going to post on this blog for sale in the next few days. Yes I could do E-bay or Amazon, but why pay them a percentage when I could just sell it myself on my own blog?

5) 5 minutes a day
I will dedicate 5 minutes a day to "Operation: Clutter-Free." I plan on setting a medium sized box or paper bag in a different room each week, and dedicate 5 minutes every day to place items in the bag that I haven't used in over a year. Once the bag (or box) is full, off to Goodwill it goes.

6) Shred it and go paper-less
I have TONS of old files in my drawers, and paper stacks all over my office. I don't have a very good shredder, so in the meantime, I'm going to start by taking some of my old utility bills and old bank statements to shred at work. If I don't need it, why file it, right? I'm also going to set-up all of my bills to be received via e-mail. I'm gonna go paper-less and save a few trees. So happy about this one!

7) Stop shopping, start swapping
This should be easy for me, since I'm not much of a shopper anyway. Though, I have been shopping for myself a lot lately out of necessity. I had to due to my recent weight-loss, but I have slowly built a decent wardrobe in my new size, so I'm going to quit shopping for a while. I rarely buy things for the home since I already have everything I need, but if and when I do, I promise that if I buy something new, something old will have to go. For example, if I buy new towels, the old ones have got to go. If I buy new coffee mugs, the old ones get donated. You get the picture. Swap the old for the new to limit the amount of space my possessions occupy in my home. After all, I pay the rent, so I should enjoy most of the space, not my possessions, right?

I think that's a good starting point, don't you?

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