Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Well, I try and be simple with my stuff around here

but anybody who has been to my house also knows that it isn't like I live in a house with say, 4 things in a room and that's it. (Especially in my children's rooms. Ahem.)

I saw this list about 9 Quick Tips to Identify Clutter over at Zenhabits. I thought it was a really helpful list.

1. Does this thing work?

This is one that I'm pretty good about. I usually just go ahead and toss stuff if it is broken. But I know that I'm not overly sentimental either and I think that this helps with this one.

2. Would I replace it if it were broken or lost? If not, I must not really need it.

Never really thought about things in this way, but I think it would be helpful.

3. Does it seem potentially useful—but never actually gets used? Something like an oversized water-bottle, a corkscrew with an exotic mechanism, or a tiny vase. Or duplicates.

I'm getting better with duplicates, or things that are oversized, but I still have a toaster oven/roaster oven that has only been used twice in the last 3 years. And I think the last time was 3 years ago too.

4. Was I “saving” it? Leaving bath gel in the tube, or hoarding my favorite stationery in a desk drawer, was as wasteful as never using these things.

I don't do this much anymore. I found I would usually forget that I was "saving" it and then I'd re-buy. So now I either go ahead and use it now, or if I think it is something that is nice and that I like but don't seem to be using, then I pass it along to a friend.

5. Does it serve its purpose well? For example, we have a lot of “cute” kitchen objects that don’t really work.

This was probably MY first step to simplifying. I try to only use things that have a purpose. Especially in my tiny kitchen. And decorating. The only decorating I do is with family photos or pictures that have significant meaning.

6. Has it been replaced by a better model? Inexplicably, I’m in the habit of keeping a broken or outmoded version of tech gadgets, even after they’ve been replaced. Pointless.

Well, if I am still using the older model then I keep it until it doesn't function anymore. I rarely get the latest model of anything (including my clothes LOL) But after I replace it, I toss the old.

7. Is it nicely put away in an out-of-the-way place? One of my Secrets of Adulthood is: Just because things are nicely organized doesn’t mean they’re not clutter. No matter how tidily a thing is stored, if I never use it, why keep it?

Ohh, this one stung a bit. The whole "just because things are nicely organized doesn't mean they're not clutter" part especially. I need to work on this one.

8. Does this memento actually prompt any memories? Sometimes I automatically keep things that fall into the category of “mementos,” assuming that they’d set off some sort of response, but they don’t. The attendance trophy from my daughter’s preschool sports class—out.

Well, again, I'm not overly sentimental, so I don't have a ton of mementos, but I could do better, especially with my children's schoolwork. I'm fairly minimal already (two papers/project, etc. per month for the school year. I go through an initial pass as we go, and then cut it down further when I go through it all over the summer.) but even with that, you are talking about 24 pieces for every year - including the two years of preschool that they all did.

9.Have I ever used this thing? I was absolutely shocked to find, when I started looking, how many things we owned that we had never once used. Many were gifts, true, but I promised myself we’d either put these things into use within a few weeks or give them away.

I've sort of addressed this already, but I could also try looking at my things again with just a focus on whether it had been ever been used or not.


I also think that this list could be helpful to me and my girls when we try and clean their room. I would have to simplify the list a little for them, and perhaps be a little more flexible, but I think it would help them wade through some of those kagillion pieces of paper that seem to just breed in there.

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