Project Declutter: Getting Started

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One of our primary motivations for building this site was to create a more effective tool for decluttering. While not everyone qualifies to be documented on Hoarders, most of us have things that are unused and just taking up space.

And while you might expect a big declutter project to begin in January (along with all the other New Year’s resolutions), two things motivated us to start a little early.

  • First, we’ve entered that time of year when cold weather and shortened days move us inside where we’re forced to face our clutter on a daily basis. Ugh.
  • Second, we’ve started decorating for the holidays, and what better time to start sorting than after we’ve pulled all those boxes down from the attic. Ugh, again, but with garland and glitter.

So this is just the first of several posts about my family’s “Project Declutter.” We’ll start with Christmas–’tis the season, after all–and move on to other categories (books, videos, clothing) and even specific spaces (garage, closet, the black hole known as my office).

This will very likely be a “learn as we go project,” but we’re starting with a few principles in mind:

  • One, clutter is not synonymous with junk. Many people equate the two, but that’s an oversimplification. If it were just junk, it would be easier to eliminate. But it includes both things we want and things we don’t. And it’s the result of years of accumulation, little or no sorting, editing and removal, and an unfortunate combination of too much stuff and too little space. Which is why it takes time to sort through and make decisions, and why it’s often postponed indefinitely.
  • Two, the “get rid of” process is often the biggest obstacle. Many declutter writers have lots to say about the identification and organization steps, but gloss over the tough part: getting it gone. Which, again, is why we’ve created Swampum, and we’ll be using the site to pass things along to others (hopefully people close to us) who can really use them.
  • Three, discarding is the last and least desirable solution. Waste is never a good thing–for both economists and environmentalists. So, as much as possible, we’ll avoid throwing things away.

So, let the “adventure” begin … next stop: Christmas!

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