Saturday, March 29, 2008

I want it out of here…but where do I put it?

They say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So, where do you ditch your clutter? ;-)

I am very un-inventive when it comes to where I ditch mine. If it's trash, it goes into such a receptacle. If it's useable, it is donated to Goodwill. The rare exception is for large items. My husband will want to put it on Craigslist or I will put it outside with a large FREE sign on it.

Book decluttering is easy for me. I buy books that were donated to the "Friends of the Library" organization for the price of anywhere from 25 cents to $1 apiece. When I'm done, I donate the book back to them. :-)

My biggest problem is with magazines. They are read one time only (if that ;-) and then what? They are still in very nice condition and I just can't throw them away. Thankfully, I cancelled my subscriptions late last year, when I realized that having kids & a computer meant very little leisurely reading time. I still have some holdovers and am slowly reading them all. I think I have stumbled onto something good for how I will declutter my remaining stash. The last 2 magazines that I finished were "donated" to the breakroom of the newspaper that is right across the street from the library. Win-win!

I thought it might be fun to use our creativity and brainstorm ideas of where to pass on our stuff. It's clutter to us, but if it is still usable and nice, shouldn't it find a new home with someone who does need it?

Please, share ideas that you know of to help us all find a new home for our clutter. Here are just a few good ideas that I have seen:

1) Pass on Magazines/Catalogues:
- Contact a day care center, preschool or elementary school. They often need magazines and cataloges for the kids to cut up for collages.
- Donate them to places with waiting rooms, breakrooms, etc.
* * * * * 365 Days of Decluttering Challenger Suggestion * * * * *
Pamela Watson says: My library has a bin for magazine give-away and people donate their old mags to us. They are free for the taking.

2) Donate to an Animal Shelter
- Household linens...old quilts, sheets, blankets, large towels (beach towel size) or small washable throw rugs for the smaller cages

3) Donate to a Women & Children's Shelter
(The ladies there will have to make a new home for themselves, and, if they left an abusive environment in "emergency mode", they likely left with very little.)
- Household appliances & furniture
- Unopened samples of hygiene products

4) Let Someone Else Sell It & Keep the Proceeds
- Donate it to any organization you choose that holds a "yard sale" (like church rummage sales) or that has a shop for such things (like the senior center, charities, etc.)

5) Donate Unused/Unwanted Art Supplies
- Contact day care centers/preschools/elementary schools/churches with children's rooms/your city's Parks & Recreation office....or any other places in your community that offer children's crafts

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

With everyone starting on a different day, I want to define just one day as our “Anniversary Day”. Should it be the day I started and sent out the call to everyone to join me? Should it be the first day that someone did? The first day of the month? So many possibilities.

One of my most inspirational people, Marla Cilley who is known as FlyLady, chooses to use her favorite number as a date to remember an important event. So, in honor of her, I will do the same. My favorite number is 22. Both of my children were born on the 22nd of the month, so I hold that day near and dear already. Now, I’ve just added another reason for importance.

From here forward, the official anniversary of the 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge will be on the 22nd of each month.
H a p p y ~ M o n t h . 1 ~ A n n i v e r s a r y !

On our Anniversary, I will also send out a gift—what I’ll call a Focus Challenge. Decluttering all alone isn't much fun. It can be, if we make a game of it! The Focus Challenge will serve to remind us that, actually, we are not doing this all alone. Many other people are right there beside us doing the same thing, at the same time. Some are going through the same challenges, and some face others, but we are all united in one purpose!

Again I say...Happy Anniversary! This is an important day. You began a journey 30 days ago, give or take, to do something, anything, towards evicting clutter from your life. That determination to make a change AND actually taking action on it is something that should be applauded all on its own. Starting is almost always the hardest part of doing something.

So, are you ready to rev up your engines, have some fun and work on this month’s Focus Challenge? OK, here we go……

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Focus Challenge – Month 1, March 22

A friend shared a philosophy with me that has given me some great perspective. It’s the philosophy of “Let It Bother You”. Pretty much, if you acknowledge an area or part of your home that bothers you, it will make you more aware of the area and that will give you the greatest thrill when you tackle whatever the bothersome problem is for you.

Our very 1st Focus Challenge is to Let It Bother You—BUT—we are going to do it our way…and that means slow & steady, the one-thing-a-day way!

Think of 7 areas or such that bother you (for example: a drawer/closet; a flat surface that always has stuff put on it, your desk at home or work, etc.) For the next week, the focus challenge is to look in one area each day for your declutter item of the day.

I encourage you to post a comment on this discussion sharing your success story with us all. Believe it or not, you will be an inspiration to others! You will also make that spark in you that wants to stay true to your challenge burn hotter & brighter because you shared. Believe me on that, I’ve seen it happen!

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Motivation Meter

So, this challenge has been going on for a few weeks now and the newness & flurry of fired-up inspiration has lost its shine somewhat. It's to be expected.

I do my best to remember for myself, and will share on here, is that every effort you give, every day, is worth it. Sure, it pays off for accomplishing staying true to your challenge of decluttering JUST ONE ITEM a day. What I also want to teach everyone about is what I call The Motivation Meter.

You may be a self-aware person and know of this, even if you call it something else. Human beings haven't evolved enough to have unlimited motivation. Some of us have strong internal motivation that will keep us moving in a forward & positive direction in our life. It does take us far. Some of us rely solely on external motivation to do anything and everything, and many fall somewhere in between.

One thing a day sounds deceivingly simple. But, seriously, life has ups & downs. There will be a hard day (or more than one) during this journey when just accomplishing our goal of decluttering one item will seem too hard to do that day.

Once someone does overcome all those external AND internal forces trying to derail them and is able to JUST DO IT on those hard days, I encourage them to take a short moment to let the feeling of Accomplishment, Pride in Yourself, Overcoming Adversity, etc. WASH from the mind down the body.

Besides the short-term accomplishment of doing your decluttering commitment for the day, you will begin collecting "motivation points" for later use. Every time we collect a motivation point in our day, they group together and inspire later efforts. I am living proof that refilling your motivation meter with motivation points will drastically change your approach to many things in your life. :-)

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Introducing the 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge

From the discussion that started it all comes the 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge blog!

Myself and others have challenged ourselves to declutter at least one item from our lives per day for the next year. We have accepted the 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge...Want to join us? :-)

I have learned that, for me, I must never wait for "the right day" to start and must start in the here & now. So, I started my 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge the day I put up a simple poll on a forum asking if anyone else was interested in starting a challenge. My name is Suzanne. I began my 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge on February 19, 2008.

With that said, I want to make this personal to each of us. It helps with the motivation when we are true to ourselves and not worrying about what others want, IMO.

- Anyone who doesn't care when they start must start the day they read this!

- Anyone with a preference for a Monday start, must start on the very next Monday after reading this!

- Anyone with a preference for starting on the first day of a month, must start the first day of the next month after reading this!

I encourage you to share with us about what's going on in your journey along the way. We can chat about our declutter challenge progress, post if we need a motivational "kick in the pants" from our 365 challenge friends, share a picture of a decluttered item or share it's "story", etc.

If you are in the challenge, please post your name and start date loud & proud. You are on your way to a great sense of accomplishment!

I have defined the challenge. Are you willing to accept it? :-)

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