I’ve decluttered my whole life. Now what?

Polina Strelkova for Gettys Images via Canva

Did you do a lot of decluttering in January? Maybe you followed along the Simplified 2024 Simplicity Challenge with me over on Instagram or perhaps you followed another list/challenge/program to help set you up for a more simplified year. This year’s challenge had brand new tasks and made me dig deeper. Their original Simplicity Challenge is 30 tasks throughout your house that can be done in about 15 minutes each. I had it down to an art of sorts, doing it year after year. It became more of a refresh each year because I’d learned to keep those spaces decluttered throughout the year, which is great and what we all want to happen long-term anyway.

I admit that I was thrown for a loop when they introduced the new challenge and wasn’t sure if I’d like it. But I needed it! I didn’t realize how routine the original challenge was. It can be good to shake things up.

I feel more organized in my general planning for the year than ever before. This year when I was decluttering, I found myself wanting to do so many other projects. This isn’t out of the ordinary. I have ADD-from-overwhelm and always want to stop and do my “great idea” right then and there. But this year I buckled down and made myself only do the simplicity challenge task in the moment. There were some days that I knew the task in the challenge would take me longer than a few minutes or even an hour. So I started keeping a list of “projects to complete at a later date.”

Some projects on my list:

Jewelry clean-out. There was no way I could have done my jewelry clean-out on the day of “Organize your accessories.” I have quite the hodgepodge of costume jewelry collected over the years as well as jewelry from two deceases relatives that I’ve never even gone through. Rather than calling it quits, I did at least pare down some of my other accessories. For instance, I got rid of sunglasses that I haven’t worn in more than two years because I only love my Tifosi Swanks these days. I tabled the jewelry clean-out and will do it as a “project” at another time.

File and office organization. I did a major office clean-up at the end of the year and forced myself not to worry with the actual organization aspect of my filing cabinet. I threw papers in the files whether I really needed to keep them or not (many are probably “not”) just so they were put away and off my desk. I didn’t spend the time doing it all then because I knew it was a bigger undertaking and honestly felt like it would be a distraction from the task at hand. Will I likely end up spending the same amount of time in the end? Perhaps. But I didn’t have the time then, so I put off what I could until I dedicate time to doing the other project. The biggest thing I wanted to get done in January was clear off my desk so I could enjoy my workspace and I accomplished that.

Recipe organization. I don’t keep a lot of physical cookbooks. All anyone really needs is The Joy of Cooking anyway. I’m like many people and search for a recipe online when I need it or go directly to one of my favorite food blogs to check ingredients or view the recipe. Still, there are some physical cookbooks I just want to have. Sometimes I buy them to support the recipe creator I admire and sometimes I buy them just because I want to see them in real life. Outside of cookbooks, I have a recipe binder that has a collection of family recipes, recipes I’ve been given over the years and recipes I’ve printed from a website. I primarily want to edit & better organize my recipe binder, but I know there are some cookbooks I can get rid of too.

Cords purge. I don’t feel like I find cords all over my house or anything but there are definitely a few locations where various chargers have gotten shoved in a box or basket. I’m sure we don’t need them all anymore, so I’ll do a big ole cord pile-and-sort sometime.

Books. Books have always been hard for my family to part with. I come from a long line of learners and historians and readers in general. I know there are a few I can donate or sell, but I mostly want to make my bookshelves more aesthetically pleasing haha! I’m always torn between the Marie Condo way of organizing books by color and organizing them in a more useful way like by genre. That makes more sense to my brain, but I feel like I need to see it the rainbow way in my actual space to see if it’s for me or not. So I think I’ll plan this one for some lazy Friday or Saturday and just play around til I like what I see.

Garage clean-out and organization. My husband and I have worked on this off and on for however many years we’ve lived in this house. The garage is called a two-car garage but it’s not especially big. Like, if we park both of our cars in it, we have to park them in opposite directions so the driver can open their door to get out of the car. Whyyy subdivision developers, whyyy? We’ve changed the garage around so many times and have even added some overhead and vertical storage but it’s still not quite right and is easy to clutter. Since there isn’t a right place for stuff, stuff just gets thrown out there or piles up on shelves. I know it can be better.

I don’t have an actual plan for when I’ll do these various projects yet, but just having a list of “things that will take more than an hour” I can pick and choose when I have more time throughout the week or on a weekend. If you find yourself with ADD-from-overwhelm like me, try making a list of the things you want to do as they come to mind and then come back to them when it makes sense for you to actually dive into the work.

I’ll plan to report back to the blog when I work on this list in case it can be helpful for someone else searching a how-to organize recipes or something else.

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