Declutter Challenge: Part 1: Problem Definition & 3 Baby Steps

#globalite Arch starts a #declutterchallenge and is enlisting social media (you!) to join her on this challenge.  The goal is to reduce clutter and minimalize over the next several weeks while sharing ideas, tips and camaraderie!   Are you up for the challenge?  Share your ideas in the comments below and join the conversation. #lifestylewednesday #declutter #minimalize

I recently came across a quote that really made me think A LOT.

Clutter is stuck energy. The word “clutter” derives from the Middle English word “clotter,” which means to coagulate – and that’s about as stuck as you can get. ~ Karen Kingston

Ok now I really had to do something about all my “clotter”! A situation review made my head reel and I decided this was going to be a nonstarter unless I did something different this time compared to all the other times when I had made a weak attempt only to have most of the “clotter” go right back into my closets for one reason or the other.

So here’s what I am going to do differently this time:
a) START RIGHT NOW RIGHT WHERE I AM!  …Baby steps instead of big plans that never pan out
b) NO DEADLINES – those only leave me feeling guilty and hopeless
b) ENLIST SOCIAL MEDIA by blogging about my multi-part declutter effort.

Let’s see how this goes!  But first, a problem definition is in order.

If I think about how someone like me who is not a big shopper can end up accumulating so much stuff, here are the top reasons that come to mind:

  1. Still “solid” clothes that are too good to throw, though I don’t use them anymore
  2. Pants in at least 3 sizes from my changing waistline (just in case I need them again as I don’t get Tall pants easily!)
  3. Winter gear that almost never gets any use in Sunny SoCal
  4. T-shirts! Lots of them that never see daylight.  Collections from walks/runs and woot shirts – used to be a big craze before they were bought by Amazon and stopped using American Apparel shirts (I think they offer them at a premium price now)
  5. Footwear: I buy them quickly whenever I find my size, then end up wearing only one pair while the rest collect dust! (uh oh…did I just squeeze into the ‘girl and her shoes’ stereotype!)
  6. Sentimental: T-shirts, Gifts, Key Chains, plus gifts I bought but haven’t given anyone.
  7. Books – racks full that I’ll never get to.
  8. Kitchen: Food packaging/containers – they are so nicely made that it’s really hard to throw them out. Although I tend to use glassware and hardly any plastic, I still store them up. (I am told this is an Indian thing – oh well!)
  9. Random useless stuff that includes:
  • Folders full of old receipts and mailers – in this digital age when all bills are available online, there is no need to keep these around!
  • Old electronics / routers / wires – pretty much outdated tech.  Also a Wii that is collecting dust.
  • Conference booth freebies – cute lil things that really add up
  • Shopping paper and plastic bags – a whole zoo of them!
  • Packaging boxes – I really admire how well packaging is designed and have a compulsive habit to store all boxes and inserts. At first I think I’ll use them for some DIY craft but all they do is sit in the loft waiting for the DIY time to materialize!

Reading through the list, I feel rather silly for accumulating random useless things because of some intended use and no real purpose. That pretty much sums up the root cause of my “clotter”!

With the problem defined and the list being just under 10, it suddenly seems more manageable! May be this time I’ll actually get through it!

Now for the baby steps that I am going to do start with right away:

1. Return things to their designated place after useAPlaceForEverything

This is not new. This was a habit Mom insisted on when we were kids – all items needed to have their own place and had to return to their places as soon as we were done using them. If things lay around, all hell would break loose until they went back to their place. While I follow this by the force of habit, I have become a bit lapse. Starting right now, I am going to pick up the 5-6 things I see around me that need to go back to their place.

2. Automatic Closet Sorting into “Will Wear” and “Will not wear”Auto-Sorted Closet

I have a tendency to wear the same clothes over and over leaving 80% of my closet untouched. To change this, I decided a couple of weeks back that I would never repeat clothes and hang the ones worn already on one side of the closet. Initially it seemed meaningless as I tended to pick clothes I wore often and put them away on the “worn” side. In less than 2 weeks it was becoming harder to find clothes on the “to be worn” side – they were either not the right size, were faded or worn out, or unsuitable for the season. I am still at it and I think in about 2 weeks’ time, my closet will be more or less sorted into “will wear” and “will not wear” and then giving away the “will not wear” will be easy!  (I must add that even as I write this, I realize the excesses in our lives when there are people without even one additional set of clothes.  This endeavor is as much about being more conscious and embracing simplicity as it is about the tactical space decluttering.)

3. STOP Random Stuff AccumulationRecycle Immediately

Probably the biggest first step is to stop adding to the existing clutter – any new packaging that comes in goes straight to the recycle bin, same thing with kitchen disposable containers, plastic bags. No buying clothes or shoes until the “will not wear” half of the closet is empty.

In fact, there is probably no need for any more clothes/shoes – I long to be a minimalist one day!

Ok I think 3 steps are plenty to follow for the next week. I’ll report back next #lifestylewednesday on how my Declutter Challenge is going, and some more ideas on getting rid of my “clotter”. Of course my dear social media peeps, you can come to my rescue and give me some tips and ideas on how I can succeed in this challenge!  And if you feel so inclined, join me and let’s declutter together!

Until next week!


[Image source: internet – free clipart/discontinued websites]

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