A Tiny Bit Neater

Lately I’ve been wanting to make my surroundings neater, more organized, more inviting, more flowing, easier to navigate, just plain nicer. So, I’ve started developing the habit of 15 minutes per day of “mindful decluttering” and after only five days, I’m already seeing some impressive results.

So first, let me be clear about what I mean by “mindful decluttering.” By this I mean that my total focus is on the job for 15 straight minutes. I mean that I don’t spend time creating organizational systems (yet), for now I simply pick some “area” and get rid of things I don’t need or want anymore.

If those things are still usable, I make them available for anyone who might want them. For things that have outlasted their usefulness, I recycle as much as possible and the rest is discarded in the greenest way I can find. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an enviro-fanatic, but I DO believe it’s important to be a good steward of the world God gave me.)

And sometimes I find that I do have to create an ad hoc organizational system that allows me to set things aside for permanent organization later. In one example, I have about 150 professional journal articles I would like to read at some point. I found a large 3-ring binder and a hold-punch and I staple the article pages together and then punch them and put them in the binder. This way, they are somewhat organized already and piles of articles on my bookshelves are getting smaller and smaller.

Could I do more than 15 minutes a day? Sure, but for now all I’m trying to do is get everything around me a tiny bit better every day and develop a habit I’m sure will serve me well in the future.

Oh yeah…here are some of the results I’ve already seen in just these first five days.

  • I’ve sent almost 200 pieces of paper to the recycling bin
  • Both bulletin boards in my office are now cleared and will be dedicated for specific purposes (one for long term project planning and the other for more immediate needs)
  • 40+ professional articles are now in a binder making them easier to access when I have the time set aside in my calendar
  • I’ve cleared nearly 1 gigabyte of files off my external drive that no longer serve a useful purpose for me

I can hardly wait to see how these tiny little bits will add up over time.

PS. Over time, I’ll also be dedicating time to clearing the clutter out of my mind and emotions. More on that in another post someday.

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