Guest Speaker

Time To Declutter

I use this acrostic that I saw on an Oprah show years ago.
S ort
P urge
A ssign a home
C ontainerise
E qualize
FIRST AND FOREMOST - set aside time for this task.  You will probably get sidetracked and nostalgic once you get started depending on how much stuff you have and when you last decluttered. The bigger the space, the longer it'll take. If you are planning on spending a whole day, give yourself tea breaks/lunch breaks or a mini reward throughout the day.  Make it a scheduled day of work.  If you need to, switch that phone off, or put it on silent!
SET YOURSELF A REALISTIC TARGET. If you know you have the attention span of a goldfish, then start by decluttering a set of drawers or cupboard, maybe just one book shelf, or if you really can't manage that, then just one drawer or one shelf. Do just that much and no more for the day.  Then do the same the next day and the next.  This will start to give you that sense of capability and achievement. 
You know yourself best, so do what works for you.
1. Get yourself 4 large containers (if you're strapped for cash, you can always get empty cardboard boxes from your local supermarket). 
2. Mentally (or physically) give them the following four categories: KEEP, GET RID, RECYCLE, DON'T KNOW.
3. Pick up an item. Ask yourself "Keep or get rid?"
4.Answer the question intuitively and within 3 seconds.  If you can't, then it goes in the "don't know" box.
5. If it's keep, put it in the keep box.
6. If it's get rid, firstly, WELL DONE!  Next, ask yourself can it be recycled, if so put it in the recycle box. If not, put it in the get rid box.
7. Keep going, item by item, asking the same question, putting each item in the relevant container.
8. Don't worry if you seem to be keeping lots of stuff or lots is going in the don't know box to start with.
You'll be amazed at how much you can actually recycle and get rid of.
9. If your boxes start overflowing, then make a "pile" for the keep stuff, emptying the box each time it gets full, make a "pile" for the don't know stuff.  
10. Get a bin bag for get rid stuff and keep emptying the box each time it gets full.  
11. Get another bin bag for the recycle stuff and do the same.  
12. Remember which is which!!
You will eventually get down to two piles - KEEP and DON'T KNOW.
Go to the DON'T KNOW pile and repeat steps 3 - 12.  
Keep repeating this cycle, making a quick decision.
Go to the DON'T KNOW pile and repeat steps 3 - 12 for a third time.
If after three rounds of this you still have a DON'T KNOW pile, merge it with the keep pile for a while and review later. 
So you've now sorted and purged.  Next is to assign a home.  When we do this it makes it much easier to maintain (or equalize).  Give each item a "home".  You may find at this stage that you can also start to create homes for groups of items and begin to "containerize" at the same time.  For example all your stationary, or all your IT equipment could go on one shelf or in a container. 
And you're done!
As for the equalise bit, it's merely a case of reviewing and redoing this process periodically.  It becomes more manageable because you've created a home for each item.  Often things become disorganised again because we don't get time to put things away or deal with them on an ad hoc basis, making that decision of KEEP, GET RID or RECYCLE.
Good luck with your decluttering and organising.  You'll also be doing your bit for the environment by recycling so well done on two counts!
Further resources:
Charnjit Bains

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