Thursday, February 28, 2013

How To Declutter Your Home: The Brilliant Solution

I believe there have only been two times in my life when I had to hire people to help me clean my home.  Now my house is certainly not clean enough to eat off of the floors, but it's just that I like things in order and relatively clean and decluttered.

The first time I hired a cleaning girl was way back in the final two months of my last pregnancy, 26 years ago.  For some unknown reason I was developing a very potentially dangerous condition - toxemia - and I was told to basically lay on the couch all day on my left side.  This is tricky enough to do with three other children to care for, and so housecleaning was out of the question.  That's when we found some cleaning help for a short term .

Then yesterday again, a kind lady came and cleaned my house from top to bottom.  Because I'm having difficulty with my achilles tendons tearing and fraying, and because I'm currently wearing an immobilization boot on one foot, walking, much less cleaning, is very difficult and painful.  I feel a small sense of failure in admitting that I cannot take care of my home now, but my very loving husband assures me that that is not the case and reminds me daily that this state of hardship is temporary.  Hopefully temporary.

So right now my house is sparkly clean and I feel relieved about that.

Then last night I heard a short blip on the radio that blindsided me WITH ITS BRILLIANCE.

A woman claimed that she had the simple solution to the problem of How To Declutter Your Home.  She said that if you eliminate ten items a day, every day for one year, your home will be decluttered (or very well on its way).

Here's the formula:

      10 items per day    x     365 days      =     3650 items gone

That's a lot of stuff gone.  As I thought about this, I realized that devoting just a few minutes a day to putting 10 things somewhere is not only simple, but realistically to do.

However, let's read a little between the lines and spaces of her most brilliant equation before we get ahead of ourselves.

First, consider HOW you will eliminate the 10 items each day:
        I propose having a large trash can  nearby for the items being discarded.
        I propose having a large box nearby for the items you will donate.
        I propose you take the filled box or boxes away once a week to your local thrift store.  If you don't regularly eliminate your filled boxes, you have just essentially rearranged and grouped your clutter.

I am just amazed at the simplicity of this possibility.  Although the rooms of my house are not filled with clutter at all, it's the drawers and closets that are the problem.  Do I have 3650 items in them that need to be gone?  I don't know.  Possibly.

I could modify the equation.  How about one month of decluttering?

10 items  x  30 days  =   300 items gone

Eliminating just 300 items is nothing to sniff at.  And while I'm on a roll, if a year is too much, how about just every other month?  Or even just working on one room, every day, until it's done?  The possibilities are endless, and yet the solution is still simple.  Just remove 10 items a day.

I can sense a great tide of motivation swelling up inside of me ------> I will never have to heave/jam/contort myself to shut an over stuffed drawer or closet door again.  I just don't need all this stuff.

And so, it is going, going, gone.  Ten items at a time.



  1. You really think you can do that? At my place my wife would get rid of my things and keep hers. You see, my things are not important in her artistic world (grin). Nah, she is a nice gal, she wouldn't get rid of my stuff, she just threatens to.

  2. I will go you one better sweetie. The premise is perfect, but when it comes time to drive to the Goodwill the stuff just sits. At least it did in our home. It was a pain in the patoot to load of the van with all our decluttering and who wants to drive to the thrift store if you aren't shopping, right?

    As a supporter of all things Lupus [and hopefully finding a cure one day] I found out that they have donation pick up! YES! You call their 800 number [which I should have memorized because we use it so often] and schedule a pick up. Jill they take EVERYTHING. I am not kidding. I try to give them great stuff they can reuse, but once and a while something will slip past [Pooldad sneaks it in] and they take it anyway. No kidding. And this is all over the US. No driving - heck you don't even have to box the stuff up. Just put it on the curb with a note attached that says "Lupus Foundation" and it will magically disappear that day. So easy peasy. I have half a garage full [I am so not kidding] that is going soon.

    I will look for the number, but if I don't get back to you, google it and see if they offer it in your area. It's a great cause and one very near and dear to me.

    Now, I am going to go find my 10 things. I sorely need to declutter more as we are moving for the last time this summer and well, we are certainly downsizing. I fear that we may not be able to find a home with a garage. As it is we have to go from a 2200 sq foot home [3 stories] to a one level, 1300 sq ft if we're lucky, home. It isn't that we have so much clutter, it's that everyone keeps dying and leaving us their memories and big honker pieces of furniture. giggle

    I truly hope your feet/Achilles are better soon. I do know how bad that sucks, but as your hubs said, only temporary, right? We'll keep you in our prayers - in fact I am off to Church soon, so you will head the list. In the meantime pop a few stickers, a ribbon or two and some glitter on that bad boy [boot] and ROCK IT baby!

    Hugs and love, Skip

  3. I currently have an enormous pile of items (from my daughter's closet) awaiting a ride to the local Goodwill. Getting rid of clutter is some tough work!

  4. Before I knew I'd be selling my home and moving 800 miles away, I did what I thought was a fantastic job of decluttering. Then, while packing to MOVE, my husband hauled TEN truckloads of GOOD THINGS to GOODWILL.

    I was 100% devoid of things other people would have shot santa claus to have.

    Two years later, I've only missed several things I left behind. And I must fight daily to not bring IN anything, unless I have one thing to go OUT.

    But if I ever have to move again, I will gladly set fire to the house.