De-Cluttering for Lazy People

Current Mood: Hopeful – I hope it’s not a passing phase!

Current Song: Detours by Penn Masala

Over these last holidays, I have had far too many opportunities to help organize and declutter.  Starting with my dear sister Zoyah’s room.  Zoyah is a very busy lady and most times her room looks like a bomb exploded in there.  By no fault of her own, when the piles get too much, she starts another.

It was a major job, that was quickly followed by helping to organize the entire basement and make room for three sewing machines, a myriad of academic paraphernalia, and miscellaneous things like yoga mats and two-by-fours from when Zoyah and I had bunk-beds.

My family tends to hold on to things in case we need them in the future, often falling just short of an episode of Hoarders.  Mainly because we hate buying things that we already have, we tend to keep things for an extra long time.

I however, cannot think if my desk is a mess.  This is what it looks like right now – and it’s a mess.  Decluttering is a regular occurrence for me, and I’m more than happy to throw things out.  I like efficiency…and clean surfaces.  I’m also very lazy when it comes to finding things: pens to write with, blank pieces of paper.  I need them all at my fingertips.

This is about as messy as my desk gets when I work.

Many people hate to declutter, so I have some tips that helps me keep my environment from overwhelming me.  There are many people who are famous for this, and probably have better tips, but here’s what works for an exceptionally lazy (efficient) cleaner.

1. Get in Decluttering Mood: By this, I mean, be alert enough to do the task, but tired enough that you don’t care enough to ponder over everything.  I prefer to start just before lunch, because I’m a little hungry and I want it done quickly, so I work fast.  If you’re too alert, you’ll think through everything, and you’ll have as much stuff in the end as you started off with.

2. Be Ruthless – No whimpering, no cooing, no reminiscent stroking of items.  Some things I understand, have sentimental value.  I have a few of those including a china tea set that my aunt sent me, a Brazilian Barbie and Ken (acquired in Dubai) and a blue teddy bear from a few years ago.  But don’t keep every thing that has a memory.  Often things can be condensed, converted, or made into other things.

3. Don’t Get too Many Containers – My mother has this understanding that the more containers, the more organized you are.  She made my sister put every single piece of jewellery into a little plastic egg, which then went into a box.  This proved futile.  Nobody wanted to look through a bunch of egg-shaped containers, and nobody wanted to put anything back in them.  Keep containers to a limit.  More isn’t better.

4. Think About Accessibility: If you are a yoga buff, don’t put your yoga mat on the top shelf of your garage’s back shelf.  It’s obvious, but when you’re in the throes of decluttering, you start making stupid decisions.  My dictionaries, pens and computer paper are easily reachable for me.  University textbooks, not so much.

5. Enlist Help and Split up the Job – Whatever you do, do not try to tackle a huge job in one day.  You’ll slam into a wall really fast.  Split it up over a weekend.  If you can rope an unsuspecting family member or friend into helping you (with promise of treats), then do.  It’ll go faster and then you can get on with your life.

6. Have a Plan: If you’re splitting things up, have a plan.  Don’t think as you go along.  There have been many a time where we’ve had to reorganize things because we didn’t think things through. If you forget where you’re going, write things down beforehand, so you don’t lose the groove.

7. Keep Flat Surfaces Clean – The most irritating form of clutter is that flat surfaces are covered in random things.  We used to put all of our mail on top of our television unit, until we didn’t actually see the unit itself.  I instituted the file box for mail, and now I can keep my brain from blowing up every time I encounter the television unit.

It’s not hard. It requires maintenance, but it’s well worth your sanity.

What tips do you have to share about decluttering?

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9 thoughts on “De-Cluttering for Lazy People

  1. If you look around and see everything you use piled up around the room to the extent you can’t even get to closets or drawers that are full of things you don’t use. Clean out those first so you can put away the things you use,

    • I completely agree!

      I usually make a point to clean out one drawer or closet at a time (again not to get overwhelmed). It’s amazing how much space you can create to put all of the things that are sitting out! Thanks for commenting!

  2. I recommend setting a timer for 20 minutes and working until the timer goes. If you want to stop, then stop. More than likely though, you will be in a groove and will want to keep the momentum going. Starting is the hardest part!

    • I agree! Starting is the hardest part, and often it’s just being overwhelmed by the mess that we don’t start things. A timer is a great way to limit how much time you might give the task, and also help you do things in manageable chunks rather than take the whole place apart. Great tip!

  3. Pingback: Clutter tip of the week: Get in a decisive mood to declutter |

  4. THanks for some more mojo — I agree to many containers overwhelm- I think lately what would the worse be without that ? I am deciding less is more – my last trip I took was only 4 days — packed my favorite clothes stayed 10 days survived …. so really why do I need all those clothes hanging there for 2 more years? really if someone gets married or dies I can buy a new dress? not like I will wear those that I wore to the last wedding or funeral 5 years ago?
    My next project will be my kitchen – above my cabinets- I counted 12 vases from flowers — really 12 I have lived in this house 19 years – so maybe dump the vases my anniversary is in Nov I know someone will replace it!

    • Many people subscribe to the “one new piece of clothing comes in, one old piece goes out”. I personally don’t, but I do clean my closets out about 3 times a year, and anything I haven’t worn in a year gets to go. For things like vases etc, I either give them away to people or to charity shops. Best of luck with your decluttering!

  5. i think the best best tip i’ve ever heard about the decluttering is to concentrate on the things you are keeping rather than the things you’re getting rid of. example
    1. open up a drawer
    2. get rid of everything out of the drawer and tip it into a sheet or a bucket
    3. Put back only the items you want to keep
    4. throw away the rest!

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