True confession: I have a pile problem. I hate to throw away papers I might one day need or want – from coupons to kid art – and so I make little piles, usually themed (school communication, catalogs, coupons, bills, house documents…). Each pile serves a good purpose for a while…until it doesn’t and then just sits there.
For a long time, the number of paper piles, crammed drawers and stuffed cabinets just felt daunting and paralyzing. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not living in a garbage house…but the amount of clutter was starting to bother me – and yet I didn’t know where to begin.
A few weeks ago, I got fed up looking for a top to match the Tupperware container I’d filled with leftovers. An avalanche of plastic fell out of the cabinet – and I still couldn’t find the right top amid the rubble. Right then and there, I put the leftovers aside and started clearing out the cabinet.
I dread these projects when I know they’re looming, but as soon as I’m in the thick of it and seeing progress, it’s such a rush. It only took about an hour that Saturday to reorganize this space – and it’s such a JOY to open the doors now.
That’s when I made a brave, bold declaration (like…out loud, to the hubby): I would declutter one space each weekend. And you guys? It’s a game changer. A life changer. I don’t have a list (too daunting); instead, I tackle whatever area is calling out to me that weekend and feels doable. So far, the kitchen’s been getting all the attention (I could probably spend all 52 weeks there!). I did our whole kitchen pantry a couple of weeks ago (and could not believe how much expired soup we owned!). I reorganized our snack + coffee/tea cupboard. So great now!
And yesterday, I took on the kitchen desk. I really should have taken a “before” pic. There was a slotted mail box that was jammed with junkmail, tickets and $6.35 in coins Tru had inserted into the slots (ha!!). And the desktop was covered in stacks of school papers, books and bills. The drawers were crammed with household documents we no longer need (from vacuum cleaner instructions to 35 copies of our 2010 family Christmas letter!). About 90% of it got tossed. Now, each boy has his own drawer with school-related stuff organized in folders. And that sweet red basket will happily hold bills until they’re paid – and it hides the cord to charge my phone.
You can see my dudio in the background; I don’t have to walk past piles to get to my work space anymore. The energetic shift in that is enough to make it time well spent.
I’m pretty sure everything works this way: when we look at the big picture of what we need or want to accomplish, overwhelm rushes in. But broken down bit by bit, the picture gets clearer and empowerment arrives…sometimes with a garbage bag and file folders.