Progress in Four Areas for Week 19 (Decluttering and Simplifying 2010)

I didn’t expect much progress on the cleaning and decluttering project this week because there were at least three events we wanted to attend. We went to them all, but I surprised myself with my devotion to the project this week and used the time I had to make some big progress.

The yard work, I’m afraid, isn’t progressing. Although I got the lawnmower working, it has a gas leak I can’t fix, so it’s in the shop. The grass is looking pretty shaggy, but it’s comforting to see that our two closest neighbors haven’t made any attempt to mow yet.

In addition to taking a box of breakable knickknacks and two large, empty storage totes to Goodwill on Tuesday, I made progress on four fronts:

  • Horizontal surfaces. My totally clean countertops and end tables encouraged me to clean off a few other flat surfaces in my home, namely the tops of some of my stacks of book crates. I store the books for my business in 38-quart storage crates stacked four high. For a long time, I was vigilant about making sure nothing was ever piled on top of my stacks, and I’m getting vigilant again. Three of nine stacks now have nothing on top of them. I’ll get to the others eventually.
  • Filing. I absolutely HATE the whole concept of filing. Once I master a simple, meaningful life, I hope I don’t own more than a couple of things that have an owner’s manual, warranty or receipt. Until I reach that goal, I’m limiting my filing — including those manuals as well as income tax papers — to one small grey plastic file box. Lots of the papers piled on my book stacks were these so-called important papers. Since my book business requires me to keep a large number of individual purchase receipts, I have reluctantly set aside a storage crate for those.
  • My office. As I’ve told you before, my office holds the bits and pieces with no real homes. I managed to eliminate another box of papers by combining most of them into the receipt crate and putting others in the file box. (Once everything is filed away, I hope I can go through the file box and further eliminate unnecessary papers, but organized clutter is better than chaos. I’m settling for that — for now.)
  • Furniture movements. David surprised me today by taking an interest in cleaning. He folded up a table he no longer wants in his office, clearing the way for a bookcase that we no longer wanted in the bedroom to move to his office. A few minutes ago, I helped him move out the folded table and move in the bookcase. Then, he moved one of the two troublesomely useless wicker chairs into the former bookcase place, making the bedroom closer to clean now, too. He even cleaned out the chairs along the way.

I still have plenty to do in my office, and I’m excited to get to it. I think cleaning the tops of my book stacks and continuing in my office are now my top priorities. I’m feeling good about what’s been done.