An exercise in decluttering—and a Sunday ROW80 check-in

photo by Patti O'Shea, WANA Commons

photo by Patti O’Shea, WANA Commons

I recently read an article in which the author discussed the following decluttering technique: Get rid of 10 things every day. These things can be as small as a pen that’s out of ink or a scrap of paper or as large as a piece of furniture.

I live in an 1,100-square-foot apartment, so decluttering is key to keeping my sanity. Every once in a while, I look around and realize my stuff has gotten out of control. That’s where I’m at right now.

Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by our stuff. A knickknack is one more thing to move when we’re dusting; a DVD is just taking up space on a shelf; an old coffee table is just pushed up against the wall and covered in clutter. I’m a big believer in simple living. I’m not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t like owning things simply because they might, one day, come in handy.

This exercise is easy because it doesn’t require emptying the contents of a closet, sorting through every item, and deciding what to get rid of. You simply wander around your home and choose 10 things you don’t need. Yesterday, for example, I got rid of the following items: two towels, five dried-up containers of acrylic paint, and three bottles of hotel lotion that were years old. Today, so far, I’ve gotten rid of four items: an old pair of my husband’s khakis that were riddled with holes, an old set of makeup brushes, and two cosmetic items.

I’m learning that decluttering is a process. I’m going to keep going with this exercise until I’m happy with the amount of stuff I own. After that, I’m going to try to implement a one-item in, one-item out policy: Every time I bring in something new, I get rid of something else.

What about you? Do you ever feel the urge to declutter? What process do you use?

Lastly, a Sunday ROW80 check-in…

Writing Goals

1.) Finish a third draft of “Good Old-Fashioned Magic.” Did some minor revisions and did a read-through. I’ve taken lots of notes and am ready to do another round of revisions.

2.) Finish a fourth draft of “Made of Shadows.” On hold.

3.) Finish a draft of another story, to be determined. On hold.

4.) Read three books on the craft/business of writing. Read a chapter in “Plot and Structure” by James Scott Bell.

5.) Do morning pages daily, Monday-Friday. Three of five days.

Social Media Goals

1.) Check in on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest daily, Monday-Friday. Three of five days.

2.) Blog twice a week. Goal met.

3.) Comment on three-five blogs daily, Monday-Thursday. Met for Wednesday and Thursday, not for Monday and Tuesday.

ROW80 is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

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12 thoughts on “An exercise in decluttering—and a Sunday ROW80 check-in

  1. I seriously need to declutter. My desk isn’t quite as cluttered as the photo above, but it’s close. There are a lot of good decluttering tips on Flylady.net–one I like is the 21-Fling Boogie (or something like that) where you take a bag and pick up 7 things to throw out, 7 things to give away, and 7 things to put away (and do). This week, I’m trying to declutter my website, and hopefully speed things up!

    • That’s a great idea. I figure I’ll do the 10-things-a-day challenge for 100 days and see where I’m at. The 21-Fling Boogie sounds like a good one, too. I saw on your blog post that you’re trying to make your site more mobile-friendly. Good luck!

  2. That decluttering reminds me a lot of FlyLady and her way of keeping your house clean. One of her big things is decluttering. You’ve reminded me, I seriously need to throw away old makeup AND those hotel lotions you mentioned.

    • I have no idea how I accumulated so many mini bottles of lotion, but there they are. You’re the second person to mention FlyLady. I will have to check out her site. Thanks, Lauralynn!

  3. Denise, that is great decluttering hint. I’ve chosen minimalism as the theme for 2015. This Round I’m continuing to work on paper and digital files, where, I must admit to being a hoarder. I’ve known too many people who have lost work due to fried hard drives or corrupted files, so I save each iteration. I am comparing versions and saving one to cloud storage and one to the hard drive.

    DH and I are hoping to live in a small place after retirement, so we need to learn to declutter now.

    It looks like you are doing well on your goals. All the best with the Round.

    • I like the 10-items-a-day because it’s achievable. You don’t have to clean your whole bedroom closet, just slowly, day by day, pare away the excess. I plan to do this over the next few months and see how it goes.

      I like your idea of downsizing after retirement. Hubby and I currently live in a 1,100 square-foot apartment, so keeping our possessions to a minimum is key.

      Thanks, Elizabeth!

    • I haven’t heard of that one before. But I am a big fan of simple living. I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, but I believe Thoreau’s quote: “Life is frittered away by details. Simplify! Simplify!”

      Thanks, Bev!

    • Over the years, we simply accumulate things. I’m especially bad about papers. I’ll keep a scrap of paper on which I’ve written a story idea. It will sit on my desk for a year before I finally type it up and save it on my computer. Old magazines, clothes that don’t fit, cosmetic items we only used half of–all of these things add up. I’ve made it my goal to own less.

      Thanks, Katherine! Have a great week!

  4. Interesting decluttering method. Might have to consider it, but not sure 10 items a day would make a difference in my house. Because, KIDS!!! 😉

    You’re off to a good start with your goals. Keep up the good work.

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