I have attempted through the years to deal with all of our stuff and have never been successful, which is why we still have crap all over our place. The number of things we own has grown exponentionally since Henry's arrival, and the 1200+ square feet of space that used to feel spacious now feels stuffed.
Enter The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Perhaps the most useful thing in the book is her suggestion that when dealing with your stuff you must ask yourself if the item you hold sparks joy in your life. If it does, by all means keep it. If it doesn't, to the trash with you! (Or something like that.) Before even reading her book I had heard this joy thing. I used it to help me get through a mound of crap on my desk. A "desk" that was covered with so much crap it hadn't actually been used as a desk in years.
Now that I've read the book, I'm ready to begin. Here are the parts of the book I think will be most useful…
"Start by discarding."
"They are surrounded only by the things they love."
"People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking."
"If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set."
"Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination."
"A booby trap lies within the term 'storage'."
"Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved."
"Tidying up by location is a fatal mistake… When we tidy each place separately, we fail to see that we're repeating the same work in many locations and become locked into a vicious circle of tidying. To avoid this, I recommend tidying by category."
"Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first."
"Tidying is a special event. Don't do it every day."
"Tidy in the right order…Do no even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding."
"Take each item in one's hand and ask: 'Does this spark joy?' If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it."
"Start with clothes, then move on to books, papers, miscellany, and finally things with sentimental value." [It is okay to divide categories further to increase efficiency.] - tops, bottoms, clothes that should be hung, socks, underwear, bags, accessories, clothes for specific events, shoes / general books, practical (references, cookbooks, etc.), visual (photograph collections, etc.), magazines
"I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely." (Get rid of credit card statements, warranties for electrical appliances, greeting cards, used checkbooks, pay slips.)
General sorting order for miscellany: cds dvds, skin care products, makeup, accessories, valuables (passports, credit cards, etc.), electrical equip and appliances (digital cameras, electric cords, etc.), household equipment (stationery and writing materials, sewing kits), household supplies (medicine, detergents, tissues), kitchen goods/food supplies (spatulas, pots, blenders), other (spare change, figurines, etc.)
Other things to discard: gifts, cosmetic samples, electronics packages (phone boxes, etc.), unidentified cords, broken appliances, spare room bedding, spare buttons, products from the latest health craze, free novelty goods
"The point in deciding specific places to keep things is to designate a spot for every thing."
"Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out."
Pack bags in bags if possible to save space.
22 down plus 30 to go.