Cleaning the Clutter
I spent last weekend cleaning out my office. I didn't think I had a lot of clutter, but it seems I was sorely mistaken. I removed over two boxes of papers for shredding, five bags of books for library donation, and a bag of Renaissance Faire garb I never use, which will go to a friend in the SCA. Even my desk had loads of clutter. My bookshelf was the worst offender, full of papers that didn't need to be there because I have digital copies, or they were simply not being used.
I even have several writing books to donate to my author friends at this Saturday's CNY Romance Writers meeting. My office closet now has a floor, too. Shocking!
What To Toss
My rule of thumb for de-junking is to get rid of anything that has not been used or looked at in a year. If it's been that long, chances are you're never going to use it again. A reference book is nice to have, but only if you use it. Even sentimental items are of no value if they're stuck in a closet. Everything should have a place. If there's no place for it, and you can't make one, perhaps someone else can get use out of the item. The Salvation Army and Rescue Mission are great places to donate those
unused items, and you get a tax writeoff for donating. Win-win!
Clutter in the Digital Age
Clutter can take over your computer, too. After cleaning the physical funk out of my office, I tackled all those Document and Picture files on my computer. The same rule of thumb applies: if you haven't made use of the file in over a year (and don't need to archive it for record-keeping reasons), press that Delete key! You won't miss it, I promise. After you clear out that computer clutter, do a system disk cleanup and defragment your computer. It should run faster after your efforts!
What To Keep
If you use it and have a place to store it neatly, keep it...but only if you have a place for it! Labeled boxes are terrific for this. Then you know where to look if you're in need of something, rather than buying more of it because you can't find where you stashed it. I use anything from old shoeboxes to crates for this purpose.
A Job Well Done
Winter is a perfect time for indoor de-junking. Clearing out clutter is beneficial to you - satisfying, as well as improving your productivity - and to others, who'll benefit from your unwanted items. You might find yourself wanting to tackle the rest of the house, but I suggest doing one room at a time to make it less of a chore. Put on some good music and freshen the air with candles or incense while you work. You'll be surprised at how much weight is lifted off of you when you free up that space. Happy cleaning!