Thursday, 2 September 2010

Spring cleaning - clearing the clutter.

When I moved from a large home to a smaller one 8 years ago, I didn’t really tackle the hard task of de-cluttering. Rather, I took the easy route and brought most of it with me. Now it is payback time and I have to face all the things I didn’t throw away then.

There is limited space in a 20 foot container and I have to make final decisions about what is important – there’s just no room for “I might need it.”
I need to simplify my life and keep fewer things. Excellent advice on this topic came also from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits – it’s a great site for becoming more minimalist and living a simpler, more effective life.

I have based the purge on the following:
  1. Have I used the item in the last year?
  2. Do I need the item?
  3. Do I like the item?
  4. And more practically, is there space in the container for it?

If the answer is no to any of the above it goes in the discard box.

There’s an exception to Rule1: if I haven’t used it, perhaps it’s because I am currently not teaching art? Once I have moved, I hope to teach, so these items will be essential and I can be forgiven for holding on to them.

Books are a major weakness and I am loath to toss them out. It’s comforting to have bookcases full of books. I have decided that I will only keep a reference book that I’ll use or a book I KNOW that I will read again.

About a year ago, I started taking books to a book exchange and swapped two or three in place of many. It is not ideal but it was a start to having fewer books.
Now I have to be ruthless and the local SPCA has also benefited from the clear out– they have inherited my magazines as well as many books and general bric-a-brac. The satisfying part of sending unwanted items to a charity shop is that someone else will love what you throw away and animals or people will benefit.