Just finished the book, It's All Too Much. I highly recommend it! Someone let me borrow their book, but you could easily check it out at the library.
Since Pepe and I got married, we've had the hardest time organizing our stuff. We've lived in 3 places and every time we moved, I thought I would organize and declutter our house. Finally, after my sister stayed with us this summer, she gave us a good kick start on decluttering. It's been great, but it is still hard for me to get rid of stuff that had sentimental meaning.
After reading this book, I finally get it! I get how to declutter and how there is a cost for owning stuff (not just the cost to buy it, but the cost to keep it.) Econ 101 (I didn't too well in that class, but I do remember opportunity cost.)
Here's some of the basic ideas from the book that I don't want to forget (it's really just thoughts I think will help me stay on the declutter bandwagon, so you don't have to read it all):
1. 5 minute purge (daily) - After decluttering your entire house (there's a whole process on how to do this), take 5 minutes every day to declutter your house. ie: go through on drawer in your kitchen, one shelf in the fridge, purse, etc. Set a time, grab a bag and trash anything that you haven't used for the past year. Stop after 5 minutes.
2. Flat surfaces - flat surfaces are places to just stick stuff, so keep them clean. My mantel is my favorite flat surface and I need to work constantly on keeping it clean (I'm trying.)
3. Throw stuff out quick and fast. When you are decluttering, quickly go through stuff and don't spend time thinking about each item.
4. Sentimental stuff - Don't feel guilty for throwing stuff that you has sentimental value. Take a picture of it if you really want to remember it. If you don't use it, give it away. If it is really important to you, be sure to use it and/or display it.
5. There is a cost for stuff/clutter (THIS IS GOOD) - I get really frustrated when my house is messy/cluttered. So, the cost for STUFF is my FRUSTRATION. If I have less stuff, I'll actually be happier. Make sense? There is a cost for everything you own (good, bad, physically, mentally, etc.) This is hard for me because I am frugal, but I'm working on it.
Time Costs - If you have to search for lost stuff (keys, clothes, credit cards) every day, it wastes a lot of precious time. How much is that worth to you?
Space Costs - You pay for your home and your space, so if something is taking up space in your home make sure it is worth it. Make sure you can enjoy each room in your house.
"As soon as you calculate the cost of clutter, you'll realize that it's not worth holding on to things because of their value--because of what they're worth."
6. You can only have stuff for how much your place will hold. Everytime you buy something, you have to get rid of something else. Ie: one shirt in, one shirt out. It'll save you money too.
7. Experience Fund (I really like this) - every time you decide not to buy something, put that money in a fund and use it to go on a trip at the end of the year. You'll make a lot more memories and happiness that way.
8. Declutter Your Parenting - "Children are dramatically affected by clutter and disorganization. They are surrounded with too much of everything--except space in which they can breathe and think."
Just recently, I got rid of 1/2 of Baby O's toys and put them in our basement (I threw a couple out too). Anyway, it is so much easier to clean his room and he doesn't miss the other toys.
Teaching your kids at a young age about donating stuff and cleaning, will teach them that stuff isn't important, but making memories and helping others.
9. Gift Giving - give disposable gifts (ie: dinner, massage :), trip, movie.) Also, when Baby O is old enough, for Christmas, I'd like to have him pick out gifts for charity (or something like that.)
10. 10 minute box - fill a box with a list of chores/decluttering projects that would take 10 minutes. Every night have each family member take one of them and do it. (sort of like the 5 minute thing).
My favorite quote from the book:
"Getting organized because it helps you live a richer, less stressed, happier, and more focused life, now that's a goal worth pursuing. If you are not organized or if you are struggling with clutter, you are spending too much time just getting through the day. You are not thriving, just surviving...redefine [your] relationship to what you own...No permanent change can happen without this shift. You only have one life to live. How you live that life is your choice.
Disclaimer- if you visit my house, I'm far from being decluttered, but I'm trying. I just need to get Pepe on board completely.
Next project - my receipts (Kar, aren't you happy?) And now I can return the book (one less thing to get rid of - yeah!)