Fly Lady's February Habit: De-Cluttering for 15 Minutes a Day

February's habit is spending 15 minutes a day decluttering around the house.  This habit is going to be tougher to conquer than Shining My Sink.  In all fairness, I didn't have a hard time with January's habit despite hating doing dishes.  Overcoming the clutter in my house, however, is going to be a lot harder than washing a few dishes every day.  I promise I'm not a hoarder--I don't think I'm a hoarder--If this clutter gets any worse, I may be a borderline hoarder.  But, I promise I'm not one of those people you'd see on that television show about it.

I have several issues when dealing with clutter:

A couple of weeks ago, one of my coworkers told me, "Clutter is just delayed decision."  When I heard her say that, a light bulb went off in my head.  I hate making decisions.  When confronted with a decision I panic a little inside.  I think, "What if I make the wrong decision?  It's better to set this aside and think about it, then decide later."  Only I don't ever revisit whatever I needed to make a decision about and it just piles up.  I need to stop doing this.  I think half the battle is realizing what I'm doing.  Or rather, what I'm not doing.  I'm going to start making decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of, and not agonize over them.  Easier said than done, but we'll see how it goes.

I also hate getting rid of something that could possibly be useful to me somehow, sometime in the unknown future.  If it's good, why get rid of it?  I know I wouldn't be throwing anything away that still has usability; I would donate it to Goodwill or Salvation Army, but what if I need that thing-a-ma-jig someday?  I never seem to consider that if I came into possession of said thing-a-ma-jig once, then I'll probably be able to come into possession of it again.  Or at least something comparable, if not better.  I need to learn to let go of what I don't need and send it to a place where someone who really does need it can get it.  This will open space in my home for things I really need and love to come my way, and by donating to those in need I'll rack up the Karma points.

Sentimentality.  I'm one of the world's most sentimental people, ever.  If I get something as a gift, I can't get rid of it.  Even if I hate it.  Even if I have no use for it.  I also save weird, random things that I've placed emotional significance on.  Do I really need to save an empty CD case that's missing it's disc just because someone I vaguely knew in high school gave it to me (and I never listened to, anyway)?  Um, I don't think so. But for some reason, I've kept it.  The Christmas candy Mom gave me over two years ago in the back of my fridge.  Do I need to keep that?  Absolutely not.  Sorry, Mom.  I ate some of it, but you give me candy faster than I can go through it.  I keep it anyway, because you gave it to me, and I love you.  I know she'll understand if I throw it away, but it's still in my fridge.  I could go on and on and on and on about the things I keep because I'm sentimental.  This is going to be the hardest part of decluttering to overcome.

Last, but not least, is the sheer overwhelming amount of clutter I need to get rid of.  It's not as bad as some people, but I bet it's worse than most.  At least it feels that way to me.  Fly Lady says your house didn't get cluttered in one day and it's not going to get decluttered in one day.  It's all about baby steps.  I know she's right.  It took a long time for me to save all this crap and it's going to take a long time for me to get rid of it.  It's not insurmountable, but it feels that way.  And I want to see results and see them now!  I'm used to living in an instant gratification world and when I declutter for 15 minutes, it's hard to tell what I've accomplished.  I guess if I declutter for 15 minutes at least 5 days a week, that's a total of one hour and fifteen minutes spent decluttering per week.  A lot can get done in an hour and fifteen minutes.

Since I'm in the middle of this never ending Living Room Re-Do of 2011, I guess I'll start decluttering there.  Plus, it's this week's zone.  As I work my way around the living room and put things away, I've been steadily moving the things I don't want or am not sure what to do about around and around.  One day the couch is clear, the next it's piled with stuff.  I still haven't completely cleared the dining table, but I've been adding to the junk already living on top of it.  So I'll follow Fly Lady's How to Declutter guidelines and get to it!

The Couch

The Dining Table
I should also note, that because of the Living Room Re-Do, the couch and table are unusually cluttered as part of the process of taking the room apart, then putting the room back together.  I'll post pics of the real clutter lurking in my home as I get to it, promise.

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