- their lives could be easier,
- their children would be better behaved or
- their day would run more efficiently.
Am I born organizer? Is my house all pared down itself? Um, no, not quite. I found that it is much easier to convince someone else all of the rational reasons why certain things need to go. I once read (in this Don Aslett book I think) that people hold on to things for a variety of reasons, and none of them are good ones.
1. It was a gift. It does seem like a good idea to hold on to something that someone gave with good intentions. But they gave it to you for your enjoyment. Clutter complicates your life. Unused or unwanted items are clutter.
2. I might use it someday. I am guilty here. I love kitchen stuff, but I don't use all of it. Serving pieces, bowls, gadgets. . . . The advice is that if you haven't used it in a year (you could stretch it and say two), then get rid of it. If an occasion comes up to use it, you could likely easily borrow it from someone else.
3. I might wear it again. The same applies here. If you haven't worn it in a year (unless it's some sort of special occasion item), then get rid of it. The clutter in your drawers and closets make it harder to find and use things that you do want. I have moved several times and I often ask myself, "Why did I move this?" and yet I still have it.
The other thing that I read that could make it easier if it is difficult for you to let go is to put the things that make you feel doubtful in a box. Label it with the date. If a year goes by, take the unopened box to the donation site of your choice.
I am revisiting these ideas because it was so easy for me to point out ways for her to simplify, and now I want to take it to heart myself. I know that I can get rid of the extra (and well worn) sets of towels that are filling my linen closet. I know that there are clothes I can get rid of. I think that these tasks will be fairly easy. But I know that I can go deeper. So, just as it was easy for me to counsel Mimi in the ways to simplify her life, I'm asking you for ways that you have been able to pare down (or to avoid clutter in the first place if you are one of those born organized types).
What have you gotten rid of that you haven't missed? How do you keep clutter from taking over your home and your life? Do you have a system of clearing out on a regular basis?