My Year of Declutter

I’ve long since given up on New Year’s resolutions. Sure, I’d love to lose seven pounds, but I don’t need a resolution to do this. However, I’ve reached the age when I’d like to simplify my life and discard what I no longer use or need. While I’m far from a hoarder, I often find it difficult to part with objects for sentimental reasons. I’m determined to stand firm and make 2018 the year I start my decluttering regime in various areas of my home. If I'm successful, I'll move on to other areas the following year.

1. Mail. Most of what I receive is junk—advertisements, which are immediately tossed. Rarely a day passes when I don’t receive a brochure or catalogue from one particular travel company. It angers me to think of all the trees being destroyed for items that go straight into the garbage. If only there were a law that saw to it we only received mail from people wanting to contact us personally. I’m determined to be firmer about my “I’m not sure” pile and discard those offers immediately. And from now on, order whatever brochures and investment reports online.

2. The papers I’ve saved over the years: travel discount websites; how to remove wine stains; the best kind of trust to have; twelve chicken recipes from the newspaper; notes from online classes. These are difficult to categorize, but the bottom line is if I haven’t had use for them so far, it's time to toss them all! I can get whatever information I need online. Harder to decide are notes from caring friends. I'll hold on to these for the time being.

3. Kitchen utensils. Time to downsize in this area. After all, how many spatulas do I need? I’ve thinned out my utensils, but judging from my drawers, I could get rid of a few more, too.

4. Pantry. Thank goodness I don’t have much on my shelves, but I’m eating fewer carbs and can get rid of some of them. And remember not to buy any more, tempting as they may be.

5. My file cabinets. I believe we need to save our tax returns for seven years, but I can certainly get rid of receipts I no longer need to save.

6. Desk drawers. Mine are filled with cards for every occasion and too many address stickers from various charities. I’ve more than I’ll ever use. Time to thin the supplies.

7. Clothing. This is a tough one. I have blouses and tops that I love, even though I don’t get to wear them very often. Pants I bought when I was thinner after treatment and that no longer fit. But maybe I’ll lose five pounds and I'll be able to wear them again. Maybe…I do get rid of clothing I no longer want, which I gather in a pile to give to a charity. I'll go through my clothing again, see what I can discard.

8. Books. I’ve many books on my bookshelves and piled on my desk that I’ve yet to read. My husband’s books that I should give away. Decluttering in this department is difficult for me. Perhaps I'll want to read these books some time in the future. And I've a fondness for the books I've already read. Besides, I hate to leave all of those shelves empty. But even my Kindle could use a good session of decluttering. I've so many books on it that I've read and know I'll never read again. Time to discard. Ouch! Why does it hurt so much??

Decluttering is no easy task. There’s the emotional component, the thought “what if I need it in the future?” to deal with. But I’m determined to chip away at this monumental job. I try to tackle it day by day—a small area at a time. Filling the wastepaper basket gives me a sense of accomplishment.