Decluttering: a Continuing Challenge!

Published on
February 15, 2021
Time to read: 
A whirlwind of books and papers, giving the impression of organized chaos.
This is not an actual picture of my desk or office! This image is courtesy of Pixabay and Pexels. The image does have the same sort of vibe as my office did before I started decluttering this weekend.

I come from a long line of pack rats, we’re not quite hoarders, we just tend to keep everything that may prove to be useful, someday! I generally view challenges as opportunities. I was going to call this blog “Decluttering: Challenge or Opportunity?” except that I couldn’t quite wrap my head about what opportunities this process is bringing my way.

I decided to celebrate the Lunar New Year, Valentines and Family Day weekend, by doing some strategic decluttering. It’s the second phase of a major decluttering project that started in 2019. That year, with the help of the Mommy Mops team, we reorganized our kitchen, going through every cupboard and shelf, finding things to donate, and some foodstuffs to compost. In addition, several van loads of outgrown children’s clothing, toys, books and some kitchen gadgets we’d never used were donated locally.

By the end of 2019, we hit a bit of a brick wall. The rest of the things that needed to be sorted were mostly work papers, photographs and other family memorabilia. These things take time and personal attention. Dozens of bins and file boxes were dragged upstairs to sort through. Many papers were recycled, more were set aside for shredding. Thanks to Assist in Time, the first file box’s worth of shredding was completed in 2020.

With the pandemic, our family has mostly stayed home. We do go out for work, school, supplies, and exercise. We also tend to stick to what my spouse calls our “pods.” We each have a room in the house to call our own, and spend most of our time indoors in our pods. Emerging periodically for meals and conversations with each other.

It’s easy to ignore those last few boxes of photos and papers, still in the living and family rooms, when I’m in my home office, focusing on my laptop. I love learning, and interacting with people online is a great way to learn. I’m not so fond of tidying, filing or sorting.

I have gathered more things to donate locally. What most people would classify as the entry way to our home, is once again a staging area with a variety of bags and boxes of books, toys and clothing, just waiting for charities to reopen to accepting donations.
This weekend, I decided to start decluttering my home office. There are several practical reasons to declutter. I’m working on a few projects, and I’d like to be able to easily find the materials related to each, without resorting to going through piles of notebooks and papers. Another reason is that I’m getting my office ready for a video shoot. I need to declutter to allow the Lot 48. Film Co. access to my office space, so they can create a video about my company Empowered Path Inc.

While my family is helpful when it comes to moving furniture and reinstalling closet doors, they can’t really help with my work papers. Given the current pandemic restrictions, I can’t call on outside help. I have to keep sorting through my files and paperwork by myself!

The easy part of the decluttering was tucking things into cupboards, drawers and closets, matching likes to likes, just as the Mommy Mops team taught me in 2019. I’m pleased to report that I’ve made significant progress with papers, and that the full-sized recycling bin in my office is now half full! I still have six short piles of papers to sort through, some dating back to this time last year. That recycling bin may be full soon.

Why am I writing about decluttering?  This is something I loathe doing, and while I’ve been thinking about what my end goal is, I haven’t been able to concentrate on any other topic long enough to write a blog. I know that experts say blog posts should be written in advance, and scheduled. I get it, that makes sense, and works for a lot of people. I’m trying to play to my strengths, which means writing from the heart, about what’s on my mind each week.

I also like answering people’s questions. However, the questions I’ve received in the last week all require me to do a bit of research before providing a credible response. Once my office is tidy, I’ll get right on those questions!

I’d love suggestions about how to keep my work space tidy moving forward. The only thing is, filing cabinets don’t work for me. I do have and use colour coded file boxes. In addition, while many people thrive with a clear desk, I prefer to keep all the projects I’m working on, out in the open, which is why I did not take a picture of my desk. My clients wouldn’t appreciate seeing my notes about their projects in print!

Any organizing advice you’d like to share would be appreciated!