Monday, 25 October 2010

De-clutter for a clearer mind?

It's happened again. I've come down to my office - for some reason still referred to as 'the dining room', despite the fact that we haven't dined in here since Christmas Day 2005, and there hasn't even been a dining table in here for three years - to find my desk covered in other people's detritus.

Now if you work out of the home and your colleagues trash your desk, you'd feel rightly angered. But for some reason, leaving coffee mugs, wine glasses, empty crisp packets, library books, hair brushes, address books and mobile phone chargers, all over my desk, is considered to be acceptable.

Well, of course being a fair-minded type of woman, I did contemplate leaving it there, so I could berate the offenders when they come home, but frankly I needed to get on, so I've had no choice but to get tidying. And what do you think has happened?

Amazingly for me, I've actually found it cathartic. Having cleaned up my desk, I felt inspired to do a few other bits of de-cluttering around the house. I've loaded four bags of old clothes into the car to take for recycling, I've rediscovered a chair in the hall, that's been masquerading as a clothes horse, and I've thrown a pile of ancient magazines in the orange bin.

Result - I feel much more in control. Which rather makes me reconsider the self-imporvement books that tell you before you can start off in new directions, you need to clear out space in your life.

I've always found those instructions rather glib, in fact, being as good a procrastinator as the next woman, I'd rather concluded that this was simply another justification for not getting to grips with the job in hand.

But now I'm having second thoughts. I know I work better when I have the house tidy and the kitchen well stocked, perhaps I need to give more thought to keeping on top of the clutter too.

Now the danger is that I'll try and bite off more than I can chew - Heaven knows I'm not spoilt for choice of places to de-clutter in this house - but from past experience I know that if, for instance, I try and tackle the girl's playroom, I'm in for a frustrating time. Instead, the theory is that you should make de-cluttering a daily, micro activity.

So, this week I'm going to give it a try. Every day, I'm going to spend fifteen minutes, throwing away (for which read recycling where appropriate) thirty things - any size, any shape - as long as it's not adding to our family happiness, out it's going.

I'll keep you posted!

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