Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Happiness Project: Toss, Restore, Organize


They all needed to be placed in their proper homes. Or tossed or given away.

As I contemplated the magnitude of the job before me, I invoked my Tenth Commandment: “Do what ought to be done.” First was nostalgic clutter, made up of relics I clung to from my earlier life. Second was self-righteous conservation clutter, made up of things that I’ve kept because they’re useful—even though they’re useless to me. One kind of clutter I saw in other people’s homes but didn’t suffer from myself was bargain clutter, which results from buying unnecessary things because they’re on sale. I did suffer from related freebie clutter—the clutter of gifts, hand-me-downs, and giveaways that we didn’t use. I also had a problem with crutch clutter. These things I used but knew I shouldn’t. I felt particularly oppressed by aspirational clutter—things that I owned but only aspired to use. The flip side of aspirational clutter is outgrown clutter. I discovered a big pile of plastic photo boxes piled in a drawer. I used them for years, but even though I like proper picture frames now, I’d held on to the plastic versions. The kind of clutter that I found most disagreeable was buyer’s remorse clutter, when, rather than admit that I’d made a bad purchase, I hung on to things until somehow I felt they’d been “used up” by sitting in a closet or on a shelf.

Closet: First, I got rid of items that no one should be wearing anymore. Next I pulled out the items that, realistically, I knew I wouldn’t wear. Those are for donation or garage sale. I emptied each drawer completely, and I put back only the items that I actually wore.

I also hit on a few daily rules to help keep the apartment from constantly falling into disorder. First, following my Fourth Commandment, “Do it now,” I started to apply the “one-minute rule” I didn’t postpone any task that could be done in less than one minute. Along with the “one-minute rule,” I observed the “evening tidy-up” by taking ten minutes before bed to do simple tidying. Tidying up at night made our mornings more serene and pleasant and, in an added benefit, helped prepare me for sleep. Putting things in order is very calming.

What I do:
Mess makes me feel so stressed so when I get home around 7am, I clean the house right away. This is a perfect time because almost everyone is still sleeping, specially baby Chloe. Before I go to sleep around 12 noon, I do a simple tidying. I can't sleep if the house is unclean. I also wake up one hour earlier (around 6pm) to allot time for cleaning. I have a toddler who loves throwing everything everywhere and I know I must be patient in maintaining the house in order. It's impossible to have a 100%  clutter-free home but at least I try my best to make the our little space pleasant.

On closet:
I am planning to have a garage sale. I'll be selling half of my closet so watch out for that! It will be for a cause.

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