by Moira on October 14, 2009

This is the third in a series on space-clearing. Part 2 is here.

The last component of my space clearing process is adapted from the Clearing Your Clutter for Clarity process in Ask and It Is Given. In this process, you start out with a bunch of boxes (20 banker’s boxes is a good start, they say) and as you pick up something you’re not sure what to do with, you put it in a box. There’s a whole cataloging process in the book, which was a bit much for me. The idea is that you store the boxes neatly for a year or so. If you need something from a box, you know which one it is in and you retrieve it from the box. At the end of the year, you can give everything still in boxes away because you haven’t needed it for that year.

I think I’m doing a pretty good job of giving away and throwing away – several boxes went to a rummage sale for a co-worker’s child’s school, and ARC came to pick up a second load last week. And I’ve considered getting a larger recycle bin from my disposal company. Most of my stuff going in boxes is either stuff that goes in an area that hasn’t been cleared yet, or projects that I want to get to. I’m doing a major sort as it goes into boxes (e.g. a set of boxes has fiber art stuff in it, another set has stuff from the office). My intention is that once I’ve gone through each area of the house and have cleared it, and organized it, I can tackle those boxes one at a time.


One of the real advantages about this strategy is that when I hit a point of overwhelm (and I did, especially when I first started on the unfinished basement space), I could calm myself by saying, “I only need to deal with 27 things today: give-away, throw-away, or into a box.” I could stay with the overwhelm that long, and then go relax, knowing that it’s been there for months and it’s not going anywhere.

I loved being able to take all the stacks of papers off my desk in about five minutes and put them into a box. And they provided a nice project while I watched the NY Jets lose to Miami on Monday night and spoil my prospects of winning the football pool at work.


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