In this webinar, I talk about why it is hard to declutter, types of problem clutter, and I answered some awesome questions.
I’ve broken this webinar recording into two parts:
- Part I – My Talk: A Simple Declutter Method + Dealing with Problem Clutter (See notes)
- Part II – Questions & Answers: I answered questions on creating rituals to let go of old identities, regrets, useful resources, organizing pictures, and more!
Part I: Leo’s Talk (with notes)
Here are the notes from my talk (video is below the notes):
A Simple Declutter Method + Dealing with Problem Clutter:
As we start to clear out clutter, let’s look at a simple decluttering method to work on all areas. Plus a few tips for the hardest types of clutter.
Why Itâ€™s Hard to Declutter
- Emotional attachment
- Sense of self (where we get our value)
- Fear of letting go (safety)
Simple Declutter Method
- Pick a spot – just a small spot, like a section of your kitchen counter, a single shelf, a small area on your bedroom floor, the floor of your closet (or half of it), your dining room table, a drawer.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Clear the spot, putting all items from that spot into a pile. For example, clear your dining room table, putting everything in a pile on the floor.
- Pick the thing thatâ€™s on the top of the pile. No moving things aside to search for easier things. Make a quick decision with that item: keep or give away. Keep it if you use it regularly and it brings joy to your life. Otherwise, let it go. Be ruthless about letting things go!
- Put items that youâ€™re keeping into a permanent home. Meaning youâ€™ll always put it back in that home, so it has a place in your life. Put things youâ€™re letting go in a box for donation or recycling. “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.”
- If something needs an action (say, a paper bill or an item needs repair), put it on your todo list. So your todo list captures all your â€œstuff that needs to be doneâ€ instead of keeping the things lying around to remind you. Put â€œtodoâ€ objects into a part of your closet or a box in the garage, so you have one place to go when you need to do that task on your list.
When your 10 minutes is up, you can stop and do the rest later. Or keep going if you have time and enthusiasm. But the idea is to do this in small chunks, so it doesnâ€™t get overwhelming.
The key to this method is its simplicity – you pick one area, pile everything up, and make decisions on the first item that gets into your hand. Clear decisions, with only a couple options. Donâ€™t waffle, get good at decision making through this process.
- Memories, gifts
- Spent a lot of money
- Aspirational – Hopes for the future
- Things that give you self-worth, accomplishments
- Paper – scan & trash
- Further reading: Why Itâ€™s Hard to Let Go of Clutter | Psychology Today
- Fujiscan document scanner
- Scanning apps: Scanbot (iOS) & Genius Scan (Android)
- Anthropology article: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.14318/hau4.3.013
Part II: Questions and Answers
Questions answered in this video:
- Do you have an advice (or ritual) to make it easier to let go old aspirations or identities? I spent most of my career in a profession I am very likely leaving for good. A lot of irreplaceable papers associated, hard to let go. How do I “bury” my old identity without regrets?
- What about reference material where the need for whatever is not immediate but could be in the near future?
- How does one organize zillions of pictures snapped of old mementos?
- I am in the process of quite radical decluttering. Did you ever regret getting rid of things?