It has been a while since I have written for you. I apologies for the long delay.
I have been busy with life. But the funnest part of my days (Other than the time spending with my family), has been the time I spent helping people to declutter and simplify.
I see overwhelmed and stressed out people. I see tired parent who are spending hours organizing their children's closets and never get anywhere. I see huge stress about laundry. Piles of clothes everywhere and stores like Organize it, packed with people buying organizational items. I see people asking for help to get rid of stuff.
And yet!!! I see stores packed with people buying, buying and buying!!! I see Black Friday!!! Packed malls and parking lots. I see long lines at Disney store and Apple Store.
This is a never ending cycle of buying, spending, getting over whelmed, organizing and discarding. It looks like a never ending story.
My post today is about the Overwhemed part of the story. This post is for the burnt out people that don't know where to start. This post is important since many people have asked me over and over again.
"Where do I start?"
"How do I start?"
"What can I do to not get overwhelmed?"
After many years of decluttering and helping others doing it, I created one simple system. A simple system which is easily applicable for everybody. I call it "The Half rule".
To me, decluttering is just like peeling an onion. I disagree with the drastic and huge change many people recommend. I disagree with the mentality of removeing everything and tossing and trashing everything which is not bringing you joy? I believe it is not sustainable, too stressful and mostly not
doable. I also believe such a drastic change might create a sense of emptiness and a void and also might make people give up and feel overwhelmed. I have even heard people regretting getting rid of stuff like that.
So, here is my simple solution to clutter problems.
Let's get back to the Onion! I my opinion, everybody's possessions are like an onion. You will need to peel one layer at a time. Slowly and calmly. Over time, you peel layers and shave your Onion till you are left with what you really want to see.
If you are just starting, your Onion is big and full of layers, I recommend you to start with the half rule.
The half rule
1. Start with Categorizing. Grab a piece of paper and write down the category of items you need to work on. For example,
. kids room
. Your own stuff
2. Now create subcategories for each. For example,
. Kids room. . Toys
. Your own stuff
. Long sleeve shirts
. Short sleeve shirts
3. Gather everything. I mean every single thing belonging to that subcategory and gather them in one spot. For example gather all your kids shoes, Every one of them in the middle of your living room. Fist see how many shoes they have and try to see the reality of how many items you had purchased! If they are more than you need, for example if you have more than 3-4 shoes, start the half rule.
4. Start making two piles. For every one you keep, one needs to go in to the Go pile. One in the right to keep. One in the left to go. Keep doing this till everything is divided in to two piles.
5. Immediately put all the GO pile in bags and remove from your living room. Put them in a garage or patio or spare room.
6. Now put the Keep half nicely and neatly where you want them. :)
7. You can either go to the next category and do two to three of them before you get to the GO pile, or you can get to the GO pile immediately.
8. From the GO pile, quickly decide what you want to do about them. The easiest is to donate everything. In that case, get them out of your home immediately. But if you want to sell some items, you need to get to that soon. Take pictures and post on line. Or have a separate area for your future garage sale. But under no circumstances bring anything back from that pile.
9. Repeat the same with this same category every six months or so till your quantity gets to where you want it to be. I personally love numbers. I believe that kids need only 2-3 pair of shoes. 8-10 Tshirts. 8-10 pants (my son gets them dirty constantly). But you can choose what your number you want to be and keep peeling layers and half the total number till you get there.
You can do that with every category. For example Books. Your own pants, shirts, shoes, dresses, suites, tools, kitchen gadgets...... Even have subcategories like forks, spoons, cups, or socks , jewelery, purses..... Use your own judgment and create your own categories.
Once you get to a comfortable number and you truly need everything you have and can't let anything go, you can slow down. Congratulations! You are officially on your road towards the freedom of owning less.
How many layers can you peel from your Onion?