By Caroline Bujold
This is my final blog post for Peter Walsh’s 31Days2GetOrganized challenge. I know for most people this adventure seems like torture, but for me, this was just plain fun. I only wish I had the time to do the challenges day by day.
What I get from this exercise is that no matter how organized you are, very or not at all, everybody can do this and find satisfaction in letting go of a few items or at least taking stock of everything that you have. Some transformations I have witnessed on his page were really amazing.
So let’s have a look at the last few challenges.
Day 27 – Magazines and catalogues – if you have old catalogues and out-of-date magazines anywhere in your home, today is the day for you! Gather up that glossy-covered clutter and I’ll show you what to do with it!
Do people still shop with catalogues? Do you find you have lots in your house? I feel I’ve been living a sheltered life (not) for hardly having any. I guess one can accumulate a few glossy catalogues during the crazy holiday shopping season.
A few years back, we installed a ‘’No flyers’’ sign on our mailbox, and now we receive very few catalogues at all. When we did receive flyers, I realized that looking at the well-packaged images made me want to go buy stuff I didn’t really need. Congrats to the marketing companies … it works. The ‘’No flyers’’ strategy has been very efficient in keeping the paper clutter down. If you like using coupons though, this might not be the best option.
The only catalogue I keep in the house is the Ikea catalogue, mostly for inspiration. My husband subscribes to two flyers from tool shops and recycles them if nothing catches his eye.
Magazines are another story. I wish my husband would take the time to sort through his, but other priorities take precedence. One day, one day (sigh). I hope that some of those car magazines would find their way into the recycle bin.
This is how I’ve decided to handle my magazines: I keep one year’s worth of issues; when I receive a new issue, I go back to the same month of the previous year, tear out the pages I want to keep and add them to my binders (recipes, inspiration, blog). What would make this even more ‘’clutter-free’’ I think, would be to scan the pages, or better yet, find the articles on the Web and Pin them or save them as PDF. But I’m not there yet. I look at a computer screen all day long, so I enjoy the glossy pages of a magazine.
This may seem like it would take a lot of time, but once the system is in place, it’s pretty easy to maintain and takes little time.
Day 28 – Gift cards and gift certificates – gift cards and certificates are meant for enjoying or for giving, not for gathering dust waiting to expire. Gather them together and use, enjoy or give them away today – this is fun clutter!
Ummm, how many gift cards can one have in order to spend time organizing them? Again I feel so deprived. I have one. Boohoo! The thing is, when I do get a gift certificate, which I absolutely like to receive, I USE IT. Imagine that!
I’m mocking a little bit and I’m sure some of us receive more gift cards that we can handle. I remember that after our wedding, it took us a while to use all the wonderful gifts cards we received.
Because I have so few gift cards, I usually add them to my wallet and use them in a short period of time. If you have many, you might want to think of a system to have them at hand: envelope, pouch, insert them in a date book if you use one and give yourself a deadline to use them.
Day 29 – Tame some paper piles on your desk – don’t let paper overwhelm you! Try the ‘’three piles technique’’ for just ten minutes today and see the inroads that you can make into your paper clutter.
THIS is a task for my paper challenged husband. But we definitely need more than ten minutes. At home, I handle most of our papers, sort them and store them. But I can’t be his little private helper at work. One day, in the near future I hope, I will spend a wonderful Saturday afternoon helping him figure out a system that works for him. Wish me luck (or maybe you should wish him good luck, huh!).
I like Peter’s ”3 piles” technique to get you started on this task: 1. Take action, 2. File and 3. Recycle/Trash.
I have stacked trays on my desk I could use in this fashion. Here are the categories I would use:
- Take action this week;
- Follow up (files I’m putting on the back burner, waiting for someone to get back to me with some information);
- File (by the end of the week). What do you think? Any suggestions?
Day 30 – Plastic bags – Time to reuse or recycle – Do plastic bags seem to take control of drawers or cupboards in your home? Too many reusable bags to count?
What do you do with all those plastic bags? How do you feel about reusable bags?
Here we can recycle our plastic bags (thank you City of Edmonton), as long as they are all grouped together in one bag.
Although we try to use as few plastic bags as possible, we still keep a few on hand. I really hate the idea of all this plastic being used just once and then cluttering the universe thereafter.
So, for grocery shopping, we have a cloth bag in our vehicle that, not coincidentally, contains more cloth bags. Obviously, cloth bags can be used repeatedly and can be thrown in the wash if they get dirty. We also have another one of these bags of reusable bags for everyday use. I also keep a small tote in my purse.
Try to contain your reusable bags in a defined location ans space; it helps to see when you have too many. Keep the ones you like, donate the others.
Day 31 – It’s over to you to inspire and motivate others – The #31Days2GetOrganized challenge doesn’t end here. Peter Walsh encourages us to think of three challenges of our own to commit to completing during the next month (or few months).
These are the challenges I would like to complete in the next little while:
- All Digital Life – but starting with photos. Keep only what I would hang on a wall or what makes my heart sing.
- Seasonal (to do in the spring) – Gardening, BBQ and camping gear, tools and supplies.
- Organize a Garage Sale with all the items that were put aside during this great challenge (in the fall).
Did you enjoy this process? Do you have an organizing question? What stops you from getting organized? Let me know and I might just write a post on your specific issue.
Note: The challenges are not mine, but part of Peter Walsh’s 31Days2GetOrganized.
Also in this series: