Have you made a mind map? If you missed the previous article, it’s a map of beautiful words surrounding an idea or subject and in this case, your desired space, that describe how you want your space to be defined. What colors did you see? What did you imagine yourself doing in that room? What was different than what you currently do or perhaps don’t do in that space? After thinking deeply and taking an imaginative voyage down what possibly can be for your space it’s time to start mapping it out in the real world.
If the room is cluttered it’s time to go through and de-clutter. Don’t be afraid, it’s really not as bad as you think. Depending on how cluttered the space is, it might just be helpful to take two large plastic bags label one “donate” and the other “trash”. If you recycle you might include a third bag to keep those items separate. If sorting all three out seems like a huge task, to through the space just picking up one category. In this case let’s say “donate”. Start from the door and pick up the closest item to you and work your way through the room asking yourself a series of questions about each item. You may think: This room is STUFFED it will take me all day to just determine my donate piles and/or trash piles! If even this step seems overwhelming , you can set a time limit for how long you will put things in your donate bag. A fun way to set a time limit is by playing music (TV watching is highly not recommended during this process). Most songs are roughly five minutes long, so if you’ve decided to de-clutter for 15 minutes, make a play list of about three or four of your favorite upbeat songs and hit play and get to work.
What are the main questions that can help you decide whether an item should be donated or trashed? Here are a series of questions that can give you an idea:
· Have I used this item in the last 6 months or 1 year?
· Will I use this item in the next 6 months or 1 year?
If the answer is no to each question it probably should to in the “donate” or “recycle” bag. If it’s seasonal it could perhaps go in another area or space until it comes back in season.
· Does it have a place in my space, life, or someone else’s life in my household?
· Do I need more than [a set number] of the same thing? (i.e. does anyone really need 5 turquoise pair of pants?)
· Did it expire? Will it expire soon?
· Can someone use this item more than me?
· Even if I might use it does it fit into my mind map ideas for this space?
· What is more important to me? A cluttered-space or a stress-free environment?
Remember, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you start to hear yourself say keep more than donate you might be standing in the way of your own ideal of what your vision is for the space.