Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Progress Report

So the first day of the challenge went better than I expected. I organized half of my desk at work, and got through cleaning out half of my 42 email folders.  I started taking the time to unsubscribe from junk emails rather than just deleting them.  I made one spreadsheet for all of my contacts, so now I've got an electronic address book and don't have to go searching for emails people have sent about changing contact information.

Perhaps the biggest accomplishment in the war against clutter was attacking my ever-growing magazine collection.  I've kept every magazine I've never had time to read because I actually love these particular magazines, and I know I'd enjoy reading them if I ever found the time. And I've already spent the money on them...

The stack was nearly as tall as I am.  It was so hard to go through them, though.  I kept only about 10 that looked too interesting to miss out on, and I took time to read the one article I was waiting for in some of the others, then moved on.  I know that part of the reason I don't take time to read the magazines as they arrive is because I know I've got a 4-year backlog and that "big picture/type A" part of me sees reading them as one big project, that should be tackled in order.

It was liberating to clear them out, but it was a lot harder than I expected.  Even after asking Michael to help me carry them downstairs, I kept thinking about them.  There was a sense of loss...all those good and potentially helpful stories I would never get to read now.  And all that money wasted! It must be hundreds of dollars worth of magazines.  I almost crept back down to retrieve a few.

But there is now space where there was stuff before, and that feels....good.  There is a little more breathing room in our apartment.  And this morning I sent an email to the school community telling them the magazines were up for grabs, and several people have joyfully claimed some already.  So that helps.  And any that are left over by the weekend can be recycled or used for art classes.

Today, I'm hoping to have time to clean out my gmail account and start unsubscribing from the spam that fills it daily, obscuring the emails I actually want to respond to.  Tonight, hopefully I will attack the board games we don't turn to often enough to warrant the space they take up (want some?) and the refrigerator (where I regularly find condiments I'm scared to use because they are several years past the 'best by' date).  The games will be hard: we love games, and it's reassuring to see all our options. And why get rid of a game we might very well enjoy some time from now?

Here's why: because there is not enough room in our apartment or our life for all of this crap.  It's time to take control.  If we haven't played the game in the past three years, we'll probably survive without it for the next three.

The fridge and freezer should be easy.  If it's lasted that long, we don't need it.  And it will make room for the actual food I hope to start stocking in there.  And, I'll finally be able to clean up that unidentifiable, sticky spill that's been lingering there for two years.

Don't tell my mother that I haven't cleaned my fridge in two years, okay?

My question for you today is: what do you keep (*ahem* collect) that you could let go of? Why are you holding on?


Julie said...

I love this new blog!!! My first project to tackle in January is getting into a regular work out routine. I look forward to following your journey:) P.S. I'd love some of the games you are getting rid of if you'd hold them for me until the next time I visit in the spring. If not, no worries. Good luck! Happy New Year!

Melisa K. said...

Hi Julie! Thanks for following along...it will keep me accountable! Good luck with your exercise routine. =) For now, I've lent the games to the dorm, but you're welcome to any you'd like when you come visit. I have a whole box of them in storage still! I won't get to decluttering storage for a while, though... =)

Jennifer said...

Hey! You're really making me think.

The one thing that I keep for too long is my clothing. Sure, I may only wear my black Express t-shirt once every couple months...but when I need that t-shirt, I need that exact t-shirt or I will go bonkers.