The Great Decluttering Project

DeclutteringOh clutter. It’s the unforgivable sin of the minimalist world. Clutter – which can be disguised as collectibles, mementoes, gifts, and ‘it might be useful someday’ items – is bad.

Clutter makes us buy bigger houses, rent storage sheds, spend a fortune on home organising kits, turn our garages into sheds, and fills our basements and attics with dusty old albums, jigsaw puzzles with pieces missing, and moth-eaten museum-style clothing. Not to mention buying devices like carpet cleaners to keep our home clean.

Clutter is insidious, sneaking its way into our homes with the post, the grocery shopping, and in the holiday season.

In a spirit of confession, here is some of my clutter:

– An ancient gameboy that doesn’t work that I don’t want to throw away but can’t donate to anyone.

A box full of random wires – telephone lines, USB connectors, chargers for devices that we no longer own, and exchangeable plugs and adaptors.

– A briefcase of Dungeons & Dragons books, maps, dice and magazines.

– A snowglobe that someone gave me as a gift.

– Three incense burners (I haven’t burned incense in well over a year)

– A shelf of old CD’s that contain back-ups of old files, mysterious programs compatible only with ancient versions of windows, and a number of music CDs even though my music has been digital for a decade.

– Cardboard boxes that once contained expensive electronic equipment, complete with the protective moulded packaging.

Expensive pens, pencils, Bristol board, acrylic paints, pastels and other ‘a-grade’ art materials from my years as an aspiring artist. Now, depressingly, I bet a lot of them have dried up or faded. That’s a great example of saving something expensive until it’s useless and never getting to enjoy it.

So for the next four weeks I’m going to get rid of one item a day. That’s it. I can list it on eBay (it only counts once it’s actually shipped out the door), I can take it to the recycling centre or a charity shop, or I can throw it in a compost bin. I’m not allowed to send anything to landfill.

I started today with my GCSE revision books. I’m taking them to the charity shop. As a bonus, I included my one remaining Harry Potter book, and a pretty dire comic book.

If anyone else wants to join me on this challenge, post the item you got rid of in the comments.

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