In the process of helping my mother-in-law move from her home of sixty years, my husband tossed a file of receipts from 1978. My first thought—wow, old file. My second, what about my files? Although I have no plans to move in the near future, I need to do a mock-move cleanout.
Back home, I took a good look around. I’m proud of my organized pink and gold colored-coordinated files in my main level desk, but what about my office in the spare room upstairs? What goodies are lurking in there?
I addressed my clutter as if a toxic friend, Hey, I see what you’re doing. You’re weighing me down. Yes, that’s right, be very afraid—I am about to purge you from my life. (For the record, I’ve never actually had a toxic friend to say this to, but if I did….)
My mock-move was underway.
A parking receipt from 2015. Toss!
A Traditional Home magazine from 2013. I have no use.
A three-year-old current event magazine, The Week, is way past current. (Besides, the top right teaser on the cover was Why Can’t Jennifer Lawrence get a date? Come on.)
A November 2015 issue of Cooking Light. It’s spring of 2018, and I don’t plan to roast a turkey with all the fixings for a while. More for the recycle pile.
My daughter’s college acceptance letter. I’ll keep it.
Expired coupons for 20% off, catalogs with dog-eared pages of items I will never buy—see you later.
Twenty-plus years in the custom home industry compiled my most daunting clutter culprit, a plethora of home design paraphernalia. Bins of fabrics. Overstuffed files of paint samples. 3-ring binder after 3-ring binder of magazine tear-outs categorized by kitchens, exteriors, fireplaces, cabinets, layouts, dining rooms, porches, great rooms, and accessories.
What was I saving this for? Online sites like Houzz and Pinterest have current content and don’t take up space on my shelves. Pages upon sheet-protected pages of decade-old ideas are not helpful. Trends change. The binders go.
I move on to a bookcase. Three books jump out at me—Spontaneous Healing, You Can Heal Your Life, and 7 Healing Chakras. I’ve read them all and feel a touch unwell that I bought so many books on the same topic. I declare their content dead to me.
Two books on child rearing. Why Do They Act That Way and 1,2,3 Magic. My daughter is 21. I’m past counting to three when she doesn’t act the way I want her to. More good stuff for the Goodwill.
The Wrinkle Cure? I crinkle my nose and furrow my brow. This book let me down; it’s toast.
I pull out a book I’ve never seen before, Stop Walking on Eggshells – taking your life back when someone you care about has borderline personality disorder. Hmmm…I never bought this book. Did a houseguest leave it behind? Note to self: ask husband if it’s his and there’s something I should know. *
I become energized. This is reverse shopping, and I love it! There are so many pockets in my home where I can apply this invigorating activity. The storage is overflowing in our lower level closet! I can’t wait to reverse shop in there next.
This attack of the clutter is a perfect spring activity, try it! Pretend you are going to move. What stays? What goes? Dive in and see if you find, like I do, that the elimination of extra stuff is an addictive and super satisfying process. Goodwill is great, and less clutter is good.
Let me know if it feels good to you too—I gotta go. I’ve got a pantry to clean.
(* My husband didn’t know about this book either. The mystery lives on.)