Wednesday, March 31

The Pile By My Chair

Many of us have a tall stack of papers and magazines sitting next to our favorite chair, or on the floor next to our side of the bed.  There was some reason we kept each of those things, but the pile is so overwhelming we fear to even try tackling it.
If you have 10 minutes take no more than 2 inches off the very top of the stack and move it to a clear surface in another room.  Using a kitchen timer will help you stay on task, as well.  Caution:  If you stay in the room with the rest of the stack and work on it where it is, it will be harder to de-clutter it because it wants to stay in the room with its friends.  By taking it to another location, and only taking 1 or 2 inches of it, you will be much more likely to review the entire portion and trash, recycle or act on what you're handling right then. 
If the kitchen timer goes off and you have 5 or 10 additional minutes, set the timer and work until it rings.  Even if you're super energized and on a roll, stop earlier than you think you should and tidy up the surface you've been working on.   If you haven't finished going through the 1-2" of papers, put the leftovers back on the original stack.  We don't want to start baby stacks of "good intentions" all over the house or office.
I bet you will uncover unread magazines as you dig down in the stack.  Save the ones from the last 3-6 months and recycle/donate the rest.  Don't let your feelings nag you into keeping older ones--you're on a mission toward freedom from too much stuff.  If you can stand it, give them all away or recycle them.  Relax, you'll receive more in the mail real soon.  The more you give away, the more freedom you will feel when you walk about your house.  I take my old magazines to work and put them in the lunchroom.
We all need a mental "oasis" area in our homes.  Your reading chair or bedroom can be that place.  Gather together the last month's worth of unread magazines, wrap them up in a leftover ribbon and give yourself a present to take to your oasis area.  By tying them with a pretty ribbon you'll know that you made a clear decision to keep and enjoy them; also, they won't get mixed up with other papers.  As you read each one, pass it along to someone else the very next day.