Home Forums Welcome Hello! The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

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    • #158482

      One small item of clutter one giant leap towards a clutter-free home. That is my approach to decluttering my home. I have committed to one item a day every day of the year and eventually that one small step will make a big difference. I feel relaxed about it, happy with my efforts and confident that I will reach my goal in the end. The pressure is off but the job is getting done never-the-less.
      Is anyone else tackling this problem with the same approach and if so how is it working for you?

    • #164429

      The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

      I’ve never done it, but I’d suggest writing down each thing you get rid of. At the end of the year, I bet it’ll feel great to see such a long list! Or better, weigh each item before tossing. Then you can say your house has shed this many pounds/kilograms/etc. of stuff, which will sound very impressive!

    • #164435

      The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

      I’m on board with this challenge! I started November 9, 2009 and am going strong. I record the item(s) by date and “cheat” a bit by recording ahead of today if I get on a roll with purging lots of stuff. I noticed on your 365lessthings blog that some photos have more than one item for the day. I do that, too, since I don’t want to list “picture frame” twenty times (that’s a story by itself) and “a handful” of small items is counted as “one”. Not only does the list encourage me but reminds me of things I have purged over the last ten years (and two cross-country moves). I’m pretty sure I have enough to finish the year’s challenge. It’s been fun! I rarely shop for non-consumables so I’m able to stay ahead of the game.

      Mrs.Mack: another way to measure is by boxes. Sometimes it’s an estimate (how many boxes is a couch?) but still a fun way to go. My friend uses a banker’s box as a starting point. Her goal is 100 boxes this year.

    • #164436

      The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

      I haven’t been keeping track of each item I’ve uncluttered, but my goal is “net loss of stuff,” so every time I bring something new in, *at least one* old thing must go out. I am pretty sure I’ve reduced by net 100 so far this year, when I count items of clothing, books, dvds, music cds, and miscellaneous.

      In fact, I’m finding it easier to resist getting new things. Particularly movies: we have a huge (ridiculous) collection of movies, but I can see the day coming when we can order any movie we want on pay-per-view, so for the past year I’ve really only gotten things that were, say, $5 – and intended for one-time viewing – or that had loads of special features. Movie geek, dig features. 🙂 And I’m surreptitiously getting rid of movies we watched once years ago and never again.

      My goal is to have only one layer of “stuff” on any given shelf or in any given cabinet. No piles or stacks, and nothing I can’t identify at a glance. And nothing that I wouldn’t buy again or that I resent paying rent/insurance for!

    • #164437

      The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

      An internet friend of mine started a 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge. It was very successful and fun in the beginning because a lot of people were working on it and laughing about it. Everyone eventually adapted the challenge so it worked best for them. Some people stuck with one thing a day or a few things a day and some of us couldn’t open a drawer or closet with out finding many things to get rid of. We started in February of 2008. After a while other things in our life too priority and the challenge slowly faded away. It was disappointing but that how life goes.

      I tried doing it again on January 1st this year. I worked real hard in January and February to get rid of stuff, but hit a wall. Partly because there isn’t much to get rid of anymore, but mainly I’m to the point that nearly everything involves some sort of project; photos, the basement, garage, etc.

      Getting rid of one thing a day is good discipline, and it keeps you thinking about and looking for clutter every day. I recommend it to those of you who don’t know where to start.

    • #164449

      The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

      I really enjoy your blog 365LessThings, and I receive it every day in my inbox. I forward it on to several of myfriends, and they enjoy reading about your journey, too!
      We are getting ready to begin a summer of yard sales, having just remarried in mid-life and combining two households.
      I figure it will take that long to get rid of all the duplicates, and maybe even upgrade to nicer newer stuff.
      It’s going to be fun!

    • #164450

      The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

      it has taken me pretty much a year of quietly chipping away at the clutter….yes, one small item at a time!… to see the beautiful clear light at the end of the tunnel.

      i really didn’t have that much to begin with.
      there were a lot of books and sentimental paper clutter that were initially difficult to release…but once i began, i couldn’t stop. it felt so liberating.

      then there were the leftover kitchen items from my previous career, that simply didn’t fit the way i like to cook and entertain NOW.
      i got rid of those too.
      all that took was a mental adjustment and the rest was simple.

      some very overdue renovation helped spur things along.
      instead of building drawers and closets and pantries to house stuff….i gave the stuff away instead.

      i know i’ve still got too much stuff to be really a minimalist.
      for instance, i love beautiful ethnic textiles and i’ve probably got too many pieces.
      but now i am USING them, instead of storing them.

      and even as i am writing this, i am looking around my combined office/wardrobe and thinking hmmmm, there IS some clothing that could be pared down still further.

    • #164508

      The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

      Lol – I did read the title and wondered if the answer was ‘post it all to the moon’.

    • #164545

      The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

      Trillie – “Basement of Doom” is exactly what I’m facing. Even at my mom’s house when I was young, I was always “cleaning the basement.” My childhood friends tease me about this…But it’s really sad because I am still “cleaning the basement.” My basement is full of sentimental clutter. I’m not so bad with the general “stuff,” but it’s really a challenge for me to send off the things I’m attached to, even if I know it’s ridiculous. Even as I type this, I wish I were home so I could get down there and send some stuff off. I did just donate a huge load of Christmas decorations I didn’t use the last few years, and sent some baby things off with an expecting friend. I’m making progress, but it’s s l o o o w. I really feel like I need my husband to take my kids somewhere for the weekend so I can have two days just to get down to it…And then I can continue with a one-item-a-day approach. Maybe I just need to get that on the calendar?

    • #164564

      The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

      Karen S: It won’t happen on a weekend. Three hours of decision-making (keep? toss? recycle? sell?) is exhausting. I vote for “Serenity to accept the things we cannot change.” That means it’s-going-to-take-time — one step at a time. It won’t be done in a day, or weekend or week (sorry, Erin).

      We need to learn to deal with the anxiety, guilt, grief, and “whelmed-overed-ness” (are those real words?) while in process. Ditch that nagging voice on your shoulder. It’s just like losing weight. It won’t – and shouldn’t – happen quickly. I’m speaking from experience, both in being impatient, and learning to do what I can when I can.

      Good luck, and give yourself a break!

    • #164631

      The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

      I read the title and thought of “Lance Armstrong”… I thought it was going to have to do with winning against incredible odds or something. (But Moon voyages are cool too).

      I’ve been decluttering regularly and it simply gets easier and esier the more I do it! “Sentimental” clutter has always been the worst with me. Oh and the “I might need it one day” clutter and the “but it has value” clutter… okay I admit, I had ALL the clutter excuses! Unclutterer.com has been my saviour connecting me with other like minded sites and people.

      Each small step has opened my eyes to the damage I was causing myself, the stuff owned me. In fact, I have the potential to be a hoarder if anything traumatic were to happen to me… and that’s a scary thought!

      But releasing “the stuff” one peice at a time with no strings attached has been liberating! If there is something that I am afraid I will miss, or a memory associated with the thing that I am afraid I will forget, then I stage a nice digital photograph of the item and store the file instead of the thing. It’s been a great thing for my needy stuff-bonding tendencies.

      Like I said above, the more I “let go” the easier it is getting. My life is “lighter” when I think of the things in my home like it has never been before, and its just plain GOOD for myself, my marriage and my kids.

    • #164642

      The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

      trillie…good for you!
      what a great feeling to have started that big job!
      very liberating.

      i agree that a lot of our uncluttering work is mental work.
      it starts in our heads for sure.
      for some people it is easier to deal with the clutter than to ever have to deal with the thinking behind it.

      my uncluttering is pretty much completed…i am in maintenance mode now.
      but i know i have emotional tendencies to clutter (pol, i have all the same clutter excuses too! it’s like a greatest hits album!) and i have to be vigilant.

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