A few years back I had the chance to hear Kathi Lipp speak at my MOPS group when I lived in Northern California. Had I had any clue at that point what a big deal it was that she was coming to our little group, and the influence she would have on my life, I would have gotten a bit MORE excited. Sometimes God surprises us in the best ways, though.
The week before we were slated to move to Oregon, I happened to be in Walgreens and spotted a book called “The Get Yourself Organized Project” and noticed Kathi’s name as the author. I grabbed it immediately and decided it would be my road trip/transition read. Kathi shares practical tips and strategies in that book that really helped me unpack and purge and organize upon our arrival.
But the truth of the matter?! Organization only goes so far. I have gone down this road many times before, usually with a labeler in hand, determined to crack the clutter code. And while it works for a while….any system must be maintained, reviewed and potentially revised. And you can’t undergo it alone. I live in a house with three others and if I create a system and fail to explain it, they will have no clue why my anger flairs when they put things in the wrong spot. On the same note, if I try and purge their things when their backs are turned, it will lead to distrust and frustration.
What I love about Kathi’s newest book, Clutter Free, is that she spends at least half of the text working through the costs and whys behind clutter. It isn’t until Part 4 of 4 that she begins to discuss the HOW. And friends, this is my humble conclusion as well. We can’t jump to the action stage until we take time to work through how we got to the spot we’re in first.
Why are our homes cluttered?
What is the real cost of clutter?
Why do we buy in the first place?
Why do we keep repeating the same mistakes/purchases over and over?
Why do we keep things we don’t love or need?
As part of Kathi’s book launch team, we were armed with her book and a purple highlighter. And that purple highlighter received a lot of use as I read her book this week. Many questions to ask myself and think through and lots of clutter to deal with.
Luckily, she almost REQUIRES that we approach this topic in community. Clutter is something that often brings shame and embarrassment. So much so that when someone is coming over, we rearrange clutter vs. dealing with it (aka: SHOVE EVERYTHING IN DRAWERS OR SPARE ROOMS AND SLAM THE CLOSET DOOR SHUT BEFORE THE DOORBELL RINGS….HURRY!). Kathi has created a Clutter Free 21 Day Challenge group and if you are interested in taking the plunge along with me, please sign up here. I am already part of a group of 100 folks who are starting this process and it is so motivating. Yesterday, Matt and I went through our dressers and closet and got rid of our first 151 items, making a Goodwill donation of 5 garbage bags of clothes and shoes.
We still have a long way to go, but trying to take on too much in one sitting, at one moment, isn’t the goal. Slow and steady wins the race. This week, as I begin to put away Christmas decorations, I will purge and whittle down as well. Why pack up and store things that are no longer used or needed? Last year I did the same and took two boxes of Christmas items to the Goodwill…did I miss or remember them this year?!? Nope. Hoping to take some more this year.
Alex, my oldest, has already started to help and my 3rd grade students know their desks are on the horizon in 2015. We tackled Alex’s red dresser first and managed to toss a full garbage bag of trash/recycling. So…off to a good start!
I will be chronicling the process for our family, here on the blog and potentially addressing some more specific aspects of decluttering, but also, what next. How to move forward in the future after decluttering. Hoping some folks will be willing to sign up to do this project along with our family. If you decide to sign up (remember, here’s the link), let me know so we can support one another in the process. The “official” challenge begins January 6th and you will receive daily emails, encouragement and tasks in your inbox. Here’s to a less cluttered 2015!