Declutter and Organize in a Year

Don’t you love fresh starts?  I do.  And while every day is the opportunity to do things better than you did yesterday, January 1st is really the perfect day to begin improving upon something you are not totally happy with.

Maybe you have seen the blogs online that have promised if you follow the writer’s 15-minutes-a-day declutter instructions, your house will be decluttered in a year.  I read the comments on those for the last year while I decluttered my own house, and I assure you that one-size-fits-all plans don’t work for everyone.  Maybe you have so many items in your utensil drawer that a 15-minute time block of decluttering won’t actually work for you; maybe you would need 45 minutes, and maybe you just don’t have 45 minutes on a work day.  (Maybe you are like me; I am more likely to declutter clothes in a hurry than I am cooking utensils!)  Maybe you don’t want to spend your weekends catching up on the 15-minute tasks you didn’t complete that week.  Or maybe you are like me and need more time than one day to decide what you do and don’t need.  As another example, while I love FlyLady, I don’t need my sink to shine every night–but maybe you do.  Everyone is different.  Maybe you just don’t make your bed everyday–and that’s fine!

I understand the frustrations.  So my “Declutter and Organize in a Year” plan is different.  I try to break up even small tasks into even smaller ones so that you do have time to complete them in your busy day.  Some of the tasks may not even apply to you, so you will likely get days off.  Some things I suggest may end up being not your cup of tea.  If something I suggest doesn’t fit in with your daily life, find another way.  What works for me may not work for you–and vice versa.  The latter is one reason I will urge you throughout the year to post pictures of the missions you complete on my Facebook page and to let us know about what did work for you if my suggestions didn’t.

Because it’s about you and what works for you, your family, and your home–and sharing with others to help them find their way to less stress and more happiness.

I have separated tasks up into weekly tasks rather than just daily tasks.  But I have made notes of how you might divide these weekly tasks into daily ones.  (I assure you I worked on these tasks daily in bite-size increments.)  And if you’re reading this on July 17th or whatever other day during the year, don’t wait until January to get started.  Although I created posts to begin in January and end in December, I numbered them so that you can get started at any time of the year.  If you fall off the wagon, get right back up again as soon as you can.  (I need to follow my own advice when I eat a baker’s dozen of cookies, right?)

One last thing:  I beg of you to focus on your priorities.  You want to declutter so you have fewer things to store, clean, insure, etc. and will ultimately be able to spend more time with your loved ones, but your loved ones do take precedence to these decluttering tasks.  I struggled with these conflicts last year.  In my haste to get my house decluttered and organized, I sometimes spent 15 minutes per day on 8 tasks, wasting two precious hours with my family members in a day.  When I am 60, I doubt I will lament not having a perfectly clean and organized home, but I will regret not spending more time my three-year-old daughter, will miss not etching into my memory her beautiful blonde curls and big green eyes and sweet baby talk.  If you are like me and have obsessive-compulsive disorder, you may struggle with compulsive decluttering and organizing.  I beg of you not to declutter your house and ignore your family in the process.  If this process takes you two years–or more–it is what it is; at least you are improving daily or weekly, right?  To be frank, in two years, when you are finished with this organizing journey, your loved one may not be here.  Those are tough words, but they are heartfelt and honest.  My cousin–one who was raised essentially as my brother–passed away at age 39 exactly two years to the day before I wrote these words.  I had moved back to the area in which we were raised just 18 months prior, but I spent too much time focusing on temporary, unimportant things and did not spend the time with him that I should have.  In fact, one of the reasons I started these decluttering missions was to be able to spend more time with my family while we are here.  But in the process, I sometimes lost sight of the goal.  Please take care not to do the same.

Let’s get started–tomorrow!  Happy New Year!

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