I recently met (virtually in these days of COVID) a lovely lady who’s a professional Declutterer. While not a hoarder by any means, I know I have stuff which is surplus to requirements. I’ve admitted to myself that there’s stuff which remains, not because I’m unable to let go of the items themselves, but because I’m not ready to say a final goodbye to the lifestyle they came with. Nevertheless, she’s inspired me to take a look at quite how much else in my life would benefit from a decluttering eye.
There was a lot of junk in my camera roll. As I have a camera, I rarely use my phone to take photographs, but there’s meter readings, information to hold on my phone (like how to attach battery jump start leads), loads of individual slides at presentations which have allowed me to take notes of the additional verbal-only information, a quick snap of information to use or follow-up later, as well as prompts/ideas for blog posts. The only problem is that I rarely remember to delete them afterwards, sometimes even forgetting to organise them into a usable format.
One huge bonus of decluttering this area was I found some snaps my granddaughter took of me during a pre-COVID visit – one of which I absolutely love and is a keeper.
Am I the only person who has a bathroom full of toiletries that I’ve tried, only to find disappointing, before moving on to purchasing another option? Are you all really disciplined about finishing up what you’ve bought before buying a replacement? I’m preparing to be shamed 🙂 I do use it all up (eventually) but I mix and match so that the less good stuff doesn’t do as much perceived damage as it could to my hair/face/body…
I’m also going through a bit of a crisis with my face. It seems to be determined to behave like a teenager as it missed out on its rebellion phase back then. So, I’ve a vast selection of moisturisers which don’t work. These are items which guilt-inducingly gaze at me for not being used, but who wants constant break outs? If there was somewhere I could donate opened and used once toiletries, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
I had a serious magazine addiction for years. It wasn’t just the buying of them – I also kept them all in neat magazine files “for reference” and “in case I need them again”. I broke that habit about 10 years ago, and now only buy magazines at Christmas – which get passed on or recycled immediately. Then I fell for a subscription to the New Scientist. It was serious you see, not frivolous – so I felt justified. But I never had the time to read them regularly (what with them being weekly), so they built up into a huge pile in the corner of my office. This was my first decluttering task. It only took a few hours snatched here & there of going through them, and instead of the nasty pile, I now have the articles of interest in labelled folders. I’ve also cancelled the subscription.
I’m a stationery addict. There, I’ve said it. I have piles of notebooks of every size and colour. Loads of pens – some ballpoint, lots of ink pens with bottles of coloured ink, multi-coloured pencils and highlighters, as well as post-it-notes in a rainbow array. The notebooks get used, for I’m an inveterate note taker. I intend – when I have the time – to go through them and harvest those which are of use before discarding the rest. I transcribe the useful information into online files which are easier to sort & search, and while I’ve done a few so far, there’s still loads more to do. Of course, the pens get used, as do the pencils, for I really enjoy the process of writing onto paper because it forces me to slow down my thoughts. The highlighters & post-it-notes are all extremely useful for study purposes and note taking – and as I’m a bit of a study junkie, they’ll get used.
But I also seem to be hoarding plastic folders. Most are left over from my day job which, although largely online, continued to operate the old fashioned way with plastic folders in different colours for different purposes. A handful is always useful, but I have oddles… Like the packets of different coloured xerox paper I don’t use, I’ve emailed local play schools to see if they’d find them useful, for I surely do.not.need.them.
I use Gmail and keep a lot of information in the folders, finding it a useful online filing system for quick look-up and retrieval. But… I also receive so many newsletters and notifications that my in box can feel overwhelming, especially when I’ve been busy or unable to get to my desk. I’ve recently been chipping away at it, a few hundred at a time (yes, there were that many in there!)
Having reviewed all coaching/psychology related items to re-direct them to my professional address, I unsubscribed from the majority. I also quickly unsubscribed from businesses where I shop with some degree of regularity, so I don’t need their exhortations to buy! Next it was the informational (rather than marketing messages) I receive after I’ve taken a training programmes. These tend to remain in my in box “until I have time to read them”, which means they hang around like a bad smell, until I force myself to make the time to read one or two in order to decide whether they really are useful. I’ve nearly finished this particular task.
The biggest number is notifications to blogs I’m subscribed to. When those blogs post weekly or less it doesn’t cause a problem, but those who post daily can very quickly build up into a back log. I tend to end up batch reading in order to catch up, but many older posts can slip by without interaction, as the time has well & truly passed.
Clearly, I need a better system – all suggestions welcome. For those shouting “do it daily!” – I hear you 🙂 While I know you’re probably right, I’m currently subscribing to the eat that frog method of getting things done, and so the email problem only got faced when it was my biggest frog!
Do you have any decluttering tips? If you were to declutter, where would you start? Where might be too big or too emotional a task to undertake solo?
© Debra Carey, 2021