A lot of things happen to you when a parent dies.

You may find yourself dealing with their lifetime accumulation of possessions which can give you unexpected insights into your parent’s life.  As we are cleaning out Doug’s dad’s house, I keep asking myself –

What the heck was he keeping all this junk around for?  And I’m realizing that if someone had to clean out my house, they would be asking the same question about me.

Major Motivator!  I’m going to ride this revelation.  I’ve been intending to declutter my life for many years, but it never gets to the top of my to do list.  I skate around on a thin layer of  the things I’m using right now, but under them are many objects that no longer have a purpose for me.

This month – as soon as I finish grading my student’s Communications Technology 2110 portfolios, and get three writing assignments with due dates in the next two weeks done …  (I know! I know!  It sounds like the same old thing – hopefully it’s not.)

Some people dream of a vacation on an island.

I dream of living in a house stripped down to truly meaningful possessions.

Here are 5 declutter gurus that I am turning to for inspiration:

Zenhabits Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home

As you might imagine with a name like zenhabits, this sight is about simple, meaningful living.  There are many useful posts to be found here, but you might want to start with this one.  This describes what a minimalist home can look like, digs right into the how to and concludes with “Sit back, relax and enjoy.”

Fly Lady

 I learned about this site in a newspaper article a few years ago.  The graphics on this website are atrocious but the advice is very sound.  This is a program on creating new habits and doing it in realistic steps.  Her zone cleaning system transformed my housekeeping.

She advises decluttering 15 minutes a day and has 5 great tools that make it easy.

Get Rich Slowly’s How to Stop Buying Clothes You Never Wear

Of course the proactive way to declutter is DON’T get it in the first place.  That could be the topic of another post or even an entire blog.  But a simple place to start don’t-get-it-in-the-first-place is your closet.

 The Savvy Freelancer’s Home Office Decluttering Tips for Freelancers

Being a freelancer, this caught my eye, but it applies to anyone who has a home office.  Having organized paper work is one of the ways to a decluttered life that really works.

Miss Minimalist’s 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life (and Make Yourself Happier)

100 is a lot of ways.  Some of these are sure to hit your personal bull’s eye and give you traction you need to get started.  Miss Minimalist takes the concept of simplicity far past housekeeping.  Once you start to declutter – why stop with your rooms?  Go further and declutter your attitudes.  Imagine having an uncluttered mind.

So how do you deal with possessions that seem to spontaneously generate in the corners? 

Do you have a website that has helped you?  Do you have a favorite technique to keep clutter at bay?  I’m all ears.

3 replies

  1. Having downsized three times now, our small apartment is overflowing. I must admit it is nice to go to our other apartment that we ended up with when some people we had bought it for moved out, it’s only 10 min walk away but it is like having a summer house nearby, that is relatively clutter free with just the minimum we need up there to make it look nice but not too much stuff.

    As far as paperwork is concerned that goes in a box until I have time to file it, at least it is not cluttering up the place then, but it does tend to hang around until I have done what I need to do with it first.

    The advantage for us is we are not near shops for clothes etc and I hate shopping anyway. We have bought gadgets whilst here but most are for using on our land and we should have nearly all we need now. I must admit to not getting rid of much but then again we do recycle a lot, I recycle old clothes into art quilts and will be making some panels to hide functional curtains out of whatever fabric I have lying about the apartment. Ian keeps old screws and bolts if they are still okay and such but he also uses them again. We have kept the plastic from our old polytunnel that collapsed and we are going to use them to make cold frames. So I guess if you are going to have clutter, at least re-use it.

    http://www.storyofstuff.com/ – I like the way this animation explains about all the stuff we accumulate and the effects it has

  2. This post could not have been more timely, as my dad died just last week, and we (mostly my mother) are in the process of sorting out his belongings. There’s a homeless charity near us that is going to benefit from some very nice clothing and shoes (yay), but if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a dozen times over the last week — I’m leaving this planet with just enough belongings to fill a (small) backpack. An exaggeration, perhaps, but not much of one.

    • Thanks for cheking in, Crunchycon.
      Yes, we are still in the process of going through my husband’s belongings, and the Racine Salvation Army is getting some new inventory out of it.
      I have always felt good about finding useful things that I do not need and moving them out into the stream where they can benefit someone else and avoid a new item needing to be produced (with all that entails).
      I too hope to make whittling down a life-long pursuit so that those who have to clean up after me someday will find it no burden.
      It’s a great goal.

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