Inspired by that, I finished skimming through almost all of the Life-Changing Tidy Book (as I call it). I found some useful information in there:
1. Weed out before you plan to organize. If you have an organization idea in mind you'll weed out to match that system. Just weed out, see what's left, then decide on how you'll organize it.
2. Gather all items of the same kind in one location to assess them. That means put all books on the desk from every room and go through them one by one. Do the same with clothing (I have clothes downstairs, upstairs, etc.)
It's surprising what this does. It forces you to look at the sum total of what you own of that object. Believe me, going through my desk drawers was eye-opening. Do I really need 17 pads of sticky notes? Boxes of binder clips? Notepads galore? How many rubber bands does one human need?
Not as many as I had! I donated a bunch to a schoolteacher friend who was happy to get any and all office supplies.
3. The "joy" thing. I didn't hold up each item of clothing and ask if it gives me joy, but I did look at every item of clothing (and book, etc.) and ask myself why I did or didn't wear it.
- It only looks good with the dark pants that really aren't very comfortable. Donate.
- It's good on thin days. Donate.
- I wore that to Mary N's premiere as a Mouse in the Nutcracker ballet. Mary N is now a Senior in college. It's served its purpose and I haven't worn it for 3 years. Thank you for your service and donate.
- Yes, they were really expensive, and yes, they're tres chic, but no, I won't wear those shoes because they just don't fit right. E-bay item.
- The fit across the bust is wrong. Gaposis galore. Donate.
4. Next I tackled The Memotoes. That box of Stuff I've hauled around with me for decades. What I did with it was similar. I looked at each item (scrapbook, box of letters, etc.) and asked myself if it truly represented that moment in time and was that moment in time important to me? If not: recycle/pitch. If yes, keep. I got rid of half of the stuff.
I think you see the common theme here: actually look at items and make a decision to keep or not. I don't know about you, but too often I look at something and think "I'm not sure so I'll keep it." I took my time and touched everything and decided, Yes or No. Very freeing.
I still have two small file drawers to tackle (easy to do), and a box of photos, which is not as hard as it sounds. For those, I'll set aside ones I want to scan then scan 'em in; others will probably follow the "does this remind me happily of that event/person? If yes, keep. If not, pitch." Then I'll probably go through everything one more time and ask the ultimate question: "If I was moving, would I want to pack this?"
Yes or no?