Having a January birthday means that I don’t usually go in for New Year’s resolutions – any excuse! – but for 2013 I have decided to participate in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure.
It’s a month-long program intended to help sort out your home through a succession of bite-sized daily tasks, which are cut with very agreeable jobs like “treat your gaff to some flowers” and “organise a party” to keep motivation from waning. The posts I’m most interested in, though, are the ones that offer solutions to cutting down on clutter because I am the most terrible hoarder.
Literally the other day I found my old work diary from 2006 – which had somehow survived two house moves and an emigration.
At least it wasn’t taking up much space. It’s the clothes, shoes and accessories that fill the entire wardrobe in the spare room (and a couple of drawers besides) that are the bigger issue, really.
The good news is that I think Apartment Therapy have come up with an idea that just might keep me from an intervention and a feature role in an episode of Hoarders. They suggest setting up an Outbox, a space (or bag, or box) which basically functions as a holding pen for the stuff that you know you should get rid of but can’t quite bring yourself to part with just yet. Separating the clothes, shoes, bags, belts, or jewellery you’ve been meaning to purge from your “good” things in this way puts a bit of emotional distance between you and them, and while it might sound airy fairy it really does make it easier to let them go. And if there’s anything you can’t live without, well, you can save it before it leaves the house.
Set a time limit for items in the Outbox and commit to actioning them after that time has elapsed – so after they’ve been in there for a week or a month or whatever you’ve decided on, you need to:
1. Take them back out and keep them, or
2. Deal with them by binning them, putting them in the recycling, or giving them away through selling/donating them.
If you’re really torn about an item, don’t beat yourself up about it: give it one more week in the Outbox and then see how you feel at that stage.
In the past, although I’ve earmarked things for disposal, I never actually managed to get them out of the house (see again the example of the diary from SEVEN years ago above.) Since I adopted the Outbox method, though, I’ve managed to donate a big black sack and a moving box filled with old clothes and footwear.
Honestly, if it can help a proper hoarding crazy like me actually cull things from my wardrobe, well, I reckon it can help anyone.