I sometimes casually mention that my family now lives a Lifestyle of Decluttering. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we live a Clutter Free Life. (I so wish.)
Once upon a time, I automatically kept everything. Unless an item was shattered into a million tiny pieces that couldn’t possibly be put back together, my default reaction was to keep it.
Getting rid of something/anything was a big and always-daunting decision.
Keeping something/anything was automatic.
I will always struggle with clutter. I will continually find myself surprised by piles. But the intensity of the struggle is less and the moments of surprise are fewer than they used to be.
I now live a Lifestyle of Decluttering. After decluttering more stuff than any woman should ever have to declutter, I see things in my house differently than I once did.
Seeing things differently means I identify clutter in normal, everyday moments. Decluttering Experience has given me the tools and willingness to go ahead and get rid of clutter right in those everyday moments.
Here’s one big difference: I recognize certain gut reactions as signals that I need to at least consider getting rid of something.
If I hesitate, either in using an item or in putting it away, I need to ask myself if there’s any reason to keep it.
Like this cup:
I’m not even sure where this coffee cup came from, but when I pulled it out of the cabinet last week, I glanced inside and hesitated.
See that teeny-tiny flaw? See the bubble in the bottom? I won’t pretend to know anything about the artistry of coffee-cup-making, but I do know that the teeny-tiny spot wasn’t sealed. And the fact that it isn’t sealed kindof freaks me out. A biology-professor-friend recently “kindly” shared this bit o’ info with me: Cracks in the sealant on dishes allow bacteria to grow.
Or something like that. I was officially freaked out.
So I didn’t use it.
That physical feeling of hesitation flipped a switch in my head and made me realize that if I didn’t want to use the cup that day (because of a flaw that wasn’t going to magically go away if the cup sat in the cabinet for another week or month or year), I would probably hesitate every single time I pulled that cup out of the cabinet from now until forever.
If I’m never going to use it, I shouldn’t keep it.
So I threw the cup in the trash. If, correct in my mind or not, a health reason is the reason I don’t want to personally drink my own coffee from this cup, I shouldn’t stick it in the Donate Box for someone else to need to hesitate in using it either.
That is a Lifestyle of Decluttering. Recognizing pauses of hesitation as what they are: a clear and obvious reason that I shouldn’t keep something.
And then, acting immediately on that recognition. Taking that coffee cup to the Donate Box or the trashcan immediately, instead of putting it back in the cabinet, slumping my shoulders and bemoaning the fact that I “need to declutter that blankety-blank cabinet one of these days.”
What physical feelings have you learned to interpret as reasons to declutter?