Over the weekend, I took time out of my day to clean out some of the clutter piling up in my master bedroom. As with many of us, if left unattended, the pile can become enormous. My original plan was to only take about 30 minutes, shred a few sheets of paper, and call it a day. Two hours later, having moved from my room --> to my daughter’s closet --> to our guest room, I found myself having to commit to a stopping point, with a follow up date/time to finish.
Every year, as we get to year end close, I vow to operate differently in the next year, including making an earnest attempt in cleaning out the clutter. By the following “Spring Cleaning”, I find myself taking several Saturdays (hours at a time) to complete the mission – all over again. And every year, I ask myself the same thing, “How did I let this pile up like this?!”
In doing a little research and reading up on what’s really behind the clutter, without giving myself a diagnosis (especially since I’m NOT trained in the profession of psychology), I’m aware that this really is something I haven’t really learned how to do. Like many of us, I hold on to stuff to mark a memory or with the intention of having a use for it later. Ooohhh, the countless number of CDs/DVDs we’ve acquired during our twenties…LOL! To now look at this crap asking myself, “When am I going to use these again?” [only for the reality to be that it’s another thing that is collecting dust]. Sure, it’s easy to conclude that the clutter has to be managed and everything has a place, but the action plan to keep it controlled is something different.
In my new journey as an entrepreneur, as I tweak my business plan, work through building a brand, and set & attain goals, I’m learning that I definitely have to tackle this clutter problem in my transformation. I’m finding that this behavior has the potential to impact my business. I can only imagine working out of my home office where my clutter will slowly seep into the space…well, actually that’s a bad scenario, because for me - the one area I’ve always been able to manage and keep functional and organized is my work space. But for the sake of my post, I’ll just operate as if it’s a real threat. Anyway, now that my occupation is evolving from an office space in a building for a large financial institution, to my humble beginnings of a home office for my brainchild, there are many changes warranted.
One expectation I have in sharing this publicly is to have accountability. There is nothing like telling someone you’re going to do something. Trust and believe, people will take the opportunity to remind you. It'll either come from a loving place to help remind you of where you’d like to be, OR it'll be a chance for them to remind you that you haven’t reached your goal. For me, either way I find as a form of motivation. More importantly, this is one area of my life where I’d like to model good habits and behavior for my young daughter…especially seeing that her room yesterday looked like a tornado hit it...sigh.
I heard it takes 21 days to create a habit. I’ve also heard the best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one in its place. So, I'm going to start....as part of my transformation and over the next 21 days, I’m taking a Clean the Clutter Challenge. This challenge is where I’ll commit to 10-15m a day to cleaning up my clutter. In small increments of time, it’ll force me to be decisive in what I need to throw out/clean up/reorganize. It’ll also please my husband, a former Marine (well, once a Marine always a Marine) - Semper Fi do or die!
The top 5 things I’ve decided to include in my challenge are:
5. Going through my coupon binder to rid the expired coupons.
4. In alignment with #5, clear out my sale ads/coupons - cut out the coupons I need and discard the rest. No more holding on to the ads/coupons for weeks on end.
3. Recycle old magazines - of course this requires that I take time to read through them…smile. No more having 6 – 8 issues of Essence magazines to catch up on.
2. Rid the kitchen clutter draw - I’m not sure where I learned that this was an acceptable area of mess to have in the kitchen.
1. Throw away old receipts - many times I hold on to them waiting for them to post to my account (i.e. gas receipts)…at least that’s the excuse I use. No more old receipts – they will be shredded/trashed.
My goal is to begin getting rid of stuff, keeping what I need, and building a habit and system to identify/learn the difference. Will you join me? I’d love to read about it in a comment below.