It's not JUST about being a packrat. but sometimes it gets to the point where the volume of unfinished tasks - and stuff - simply HAS to be dealt with. Whether it be physical or virtual, emotional or otherwise, sooner or later those baskets of half-ironed linens, the inbox of 22,369 emails or the years of unfiled taxes are sooner or later going to cause a real headache! Clutter monsters unleashed!
When I was a kid, Sundays were for tidying up your room, finishing homework, getting clothes and lunches organized for the week and generally setting sail the Monday all ship-shape and Bristol fashion. Good training for adulthood, when the to-do tasks and responsibilities BULGE beyond all proportion!
It being a new year (twice), I decided to give myself a week of Sundays for a combined spring / deep ( let's put covid behind us?) cleaning: exactly the kind of a cathartic purge I needed.
Whether a person naturally is methodical or erratic, or like most of us a mixture of both - I found that the first thing was to literally give myself permission to do this. In other words, to see the 'stuff purge' as part of the spring regenerative process.
To make it easier I began with my mother's closet - at my offer, she had brought over a few (okay, six) bags of clothing discards (all pristine of course) which had then been cluttering up my space (actually my car) for weeks because I couldn't make time to move them on to the women's shelter. Ditto my daughter and HER six boxes of clothing! So by this point I had a car-load of stuff, tipping point and beyond, and it was time to get on with it.
And that was when the Week of Sundays began. 'I'll never get this done in a month of Sundays!' is the old refrain of the overwhelmed - and I know it very well, as the to-do list grows exponentially to the energy or time available for it. So I decided to look at it all in a different way - the 'lightening up' becoming a means to enlightening up? Giving to others was the most obvious step, ergo the clothing. Whew!
With that done, and some space opening up, next the closets (mine); the pantry (things to go to the food bank because we're now a wheat-free family); stale cosmetics into the trash, outdated medications back to the pharmacy for disposal; books to the second hand bookshop, and shredding BOXES of old files - do we need to keep Loomis invoices from 2015? Magazines - probably 100 pounds of them so far - decades' worth of back issues - Harrowsmith, Martha Stewart, Victoria Magazine? Now that's vintage.
I confess, I DO have a secret 'other house' that's full of a LOT of stuff my little Big House can't accommodate - mainly those projects I am sure ONE year I'll get to. Mosaic fountains, framing the fab vintage poster collection I've been collecting forever and so on... that's where the magazines went. And yes, I will move onto that as soon as I can!
It's not exactly methodical - and it's certainly nothing like the Marie Kondo school of OC decluttering (all due respect, Kondo san!) - but finally dealing what really has become a priority yet keeps getting shoved into the corner because of the day-to-day crises. Whatever they may be, dealing with them is a lot easier when you're not literally tripping over stuff all the time. Unless of course the cat is up a tree (again).
Making space in my physical office, I feel more calm when I am in here, and more likely to want to tackle the onerous task of decluttering my Big Mac (before it forces me to yet again). Feels more powerful, to be proactive.
So whether you can dedicate an entire week of Sundays at a go, or maybe just 'Sundays' to dealing with your clutter, I encourage you to get started as the spring energy begin to flow! My favourite rule is to never move anywhere in the house with empty hands - there's always something that needs to go somewhere - and to always put things back to their final resting place rather than some kind of half-way point. There. Simple, right?
Have fun and happy purging!