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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Declutter and Be Happy :)

Some of you may remember a couple of my posts from the Happiness Project. If you were wondering  if I had forgotten about it, not at all :). I was just a bit lazy to put my thoughts together and blog about it every month. With half the year over, I thought it was time to move to the next big part of the project. Decluttering away! For me, a lot of the previous steps especially the one about mindfulness was a decluttering of the mind. But oh well, it's time I got around to doing it for material things as well, so here goes.

I have come across so many decluttering strategies from blogs and FB pages I follow, and have tried some of these on and off for the last many months. I thought I should mention a couple of the earlier ones as well in case anyone else finds them interesting :).

One-thing-a-day: This one suggests that you get rid of 1 item every single day, and just go on until you can't find anything to declutter any more (if that could even happen ;)). In a small way, this is an ongoing activity for me - I find an old bottle of hand sanitizer in the bathroom and I decide to empty and wash and dry it right away (Yes I do that for my dry waste disposal), instead of passing it by for another time. That container in the fridge that you can't remember when you put inside, and know that it will have fungus-y unidentified contents inside - take it out and chuck out the scary stuff immediately instead of closing the fridge and hoping it'll disappear on its own ;).  I think it would help to keep track of what you're getting rid of every day(see this blogger who put up a daily update!), but I find this one a bit too low-key for my requirement.

15-minutes-a-day: This one comes from the Flylady whom I started following for her tips on keeping the house organized and clean (Don't expect to see evidence of this when you actually visit me though ;)). She suggests an interesting 15-minute timer strategy for getting stuff done and also has lots of fun terms to make it more interesting - the 27 fling boogie being one of them. I also like her emphasis that you cannot organize clutter, you have to get rid of it! 15 minutes - Just long enough to achieve a decent amount of work, without getting you mind numbingly bored for doing mundane stuff for too long. When I need to declutter a specific space like my cupboard, I usually set a time - 15 minutes to half an hour - and just stop and complete it another day. This helps curb my enthusiasm which usually goes a bit overboard when I start with activities like cleaning and decluttering - possibly also because I do it so seldom that there's always so much to do :D.

Monthly challenge: This one did the rounds on Twitter a while ago, and starts with 1 item on the 1st day, 2 on the 2nd day and keeps increasing until you are expected to declutter 30 items on the 30th day. I somehow didn't take to it because as the count went up, you really need to spend more and more time on this activity every day (for tracking not just the doing!) and it was just not working for me. There are many interesting charts that you can find online though, that give you ideas about spaces and items and other ways to go about this challenge.

After trying these and being partly successful but also losing steam along the way, I decide that I need a strategy with a specific end in sight. I do intend to use the mentioned ones as sub-strategies along with my own ideas mentioned below. So fingers crossed and all set to go, and here I am with:

Pic source: Popsugar Pinterest page

1 Room a Month:

I looked around my living room this morning, and wondered how many of the devices lying near the TV we really use and need? If I were to move home, what were the items I would really take with me i.e. what do I REALLY use on a daily basis and what wouldn't I even miss? This is the idea that I am taking forward starting this July. Aiming at one room a month gives me the flexibility to look at one or multiple items a day, depending on the room, and also gives me an end goal for the end of the month when I have to figure out what to do with what I have to dispose (more on that below).

If you want to join me, you are most welcome. I am not a list maker, but I am planning to track this just to make myself feel good about it ;). I think noting down or tracking would work really well for something like this, and also help you remember what you want to dispose in every room. And whatever needs to go, must GO. By the last day of the month, make sure that you have got rid of or given away whatever you don't use or need.

One idea from my favorite mom's group(thanks N!) is to collect stuff that is in good shape to give away to those in need - that is a lovely thought and in fact this is something that I have been doing in a small way. Most clothing and toys and even electronic items of ours that are in usable shape have gone to the families of those who work for me, and I intend to keep it that way with this activity as well.

Disposing can prove to be a bigger challenge for me, as I am very particular about segregating my waste and need to know that it's got rid of in the correct manner. This means that e-waste is disposed of to the right agency, and so are old or expired medicines. So in a way, I expect the end of the month to be the toughest part for me but I'm up for it :).

Here's to a decluttered home by the end of 2015!


  1. Hey Aparna, this is such a spectacular post. You don't know how much you speak to me and for me. I hate cleaning and I am always falling back on de-cluttering. And on one of my cleaning sprees, I normally tend to go overboard. Then bored I just drop it off and chores just keep piling up. I have bookmarked this post as there are some amazing ideas here. Do tag me whenever you come across any such interesting stuff on FB or twitter. Good luck! Let July be the de-clutter month for me as well.

  2. I'm a hopeless hoarder so I need this post. I tried doing the 40 bags 40 days challenge where you dispose off a bag a day for 40 days but gave it up along the way. A room a month sounds doable. How's your cleaning coming along?

  3. Well, well, an entire bulleted list :) So very happy for you. I hope the decluttering is going well. I am at one successful cupboard right now. Shed so many clothes that I feel lighter- seriously!

  4. Rachna, Tulika, Shailaja - apologies for the late response. Thank you for reading and commenting :). My blog has been much neglected, as has my decluttering. Need to buck up with both.