I feel like I’m cheating by putting all this together, but I’ve already purged so much (and written about it ad nauseum) that I think I’d bore you all to tears if I talked about it again. I may post before-and-after photos of some wardrobe/drawer purges, but again, not very interesting.
Get rid of the big items. There’s tons of little clutter in our lives, but if you start with the big items, you’ll simplify your life quickly and in a big way.Read more.
The thing that helped me the most with this was an article I once read about getting rid of ugly brown furniture: you know, the stuff you inherit from people? The answer is either transform it or get rid of it, and oh, this is so incredibly wonderful. Permission to rid yourself of someone else’s cast-offs — you wouldn’t think you’d need it, but you do.
Edit your rooms. One room at a time, go around the room and eliminate the unnecessary. Act as a newspaper editor, trying to leave only the minimum, and deleting everything else. Article here.
The advantage to living in one room is that I do this all the time. Sure, there’s visual clutter I skip over (um, five 7′ bookcases and one 3′ bookcase?) but I do the best I can. I’ll never be a true minimalist, but it’s organized. Mostly.
Edit closets and drawers. Once you’ve gone through the main parts of your rooms, tackle the closets and drawers, one drawer or shelf at a time.More here.
I need to do this again. We have no closets (other than a teeny thing with a couple of shelves around the water heater in the bathroom) but we have three giant wardrobes which are clutter catch-alls. Clothes are necessary and all, but the middle wardrobe has my coats and a whole lot of junk in it. I’ve got to sort it out and use the space better. Related: I need more hatboxes in the biggest way.
Simplify your wardrobe. Is your closet bursting full? Are your drawers so stuffed they can’t close (I’m talking about dresser drawers here, not underwear). Simplify your wardrobe by getting rid of anything you don’t actually wear. Try creating a minimal wardrobe by focusing on simple styles and a few solid colors that all match each other. Read more.
This is life changing (I can tell you from experience!) but I definitely need to go through and do another purge. While I almost always buy things that are timeless (or as close to as I can manage) there are a few trendy items in my wardrobe that aren’t trendy now. So they need to go.
Simplify your computing life. If you have trouble with too many files and too much disorganization, consider online computing. It can simplify things greatly. Read more.
Because I am organized with my files, use naming conventions, and know how to use the search function on my computer, this isn’t much of a problem. I back up to an external drive and use Dropbox. I am not overly fond of Mail or iCal, but use them because it makes things easier. In the old days of practicing law, I used Daylite for case/contact/calendar management, which I absolutely, positively loved. If it were a little less expensive, I’d go back to using it. (Maybe when I start querying, I will!)
Declutter your digital packrattery. If you are a digital packrat, and cannot seem to control your digital clutter, there is still hope for you. Read this guide to curing yourself of this clutter.
Yeah…this is hard. I keep my stuff to a minimum and organized (one computer, one phone, one Kindle, two iPods — the brick that holds all of my music and a nano that has a video camera and a select amount of music), but I’m only one person.
Then there is M. My husband is a computer-lovin’ guy and we have gadgets and cords and chargers and computers everywhere. He can’t find anything he’s ever looking for (I have resorted to keeping a largish plastic container on the table in the empty place and putting all of the electronics he leaves around the loft in it). But he is always losing things. Because it stresses him out to look, I end up stressed out, too. I hate it, but what can I do? I refuse to act like his mom and order him to do something about it. We have his computers/monitors/etc in a huge armoire and more of his electronic clutter hidden behind his side of the bed, but unless he takes charge of it, I don’t see this improving soon. He does try to organize things from time to time, but he just has too much. Until he purges a lot of it, I just see this as part of the M package.