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Reset Your Rooms: Simplifying Your Life

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Curb The Clutter!By nature, I accumulate stuff. Three years ago, my office was pristine. Everything was organized, everything had its place, there were no papers strewn about, and there was order in the world (with world peace and the abolishment of hunger mere moments away). But, as the weeks passed and entropy worked its magic, my office became more and more chaotic. I never lost anything but anyone walking into it would be amazed that I could ever find anything! It was organized chaos.

That’s when I stumbled upon this idea – the easiest way to declutter and reorganize a room is to wipe the slate clean and start over. Want to do it? It’s easy.

Take everything out of the room. Now put it back.

My wife and I discovered this little trick after repainting my office last weekend. Earlier this year, we discovered our roof was leaking during an especially hard rain. The water made it way into the insulation and drywall in my office and we had to rip out a pretty sizable piece of it. We replaced that drywall this weekend and began painting the entire room. To facilitate that, we moved everything out of my office and into the hallway. In doing so, I fully grasped how much crap I had accumulated in that one room.

Why This Works

When you move everything out of a room, you’re wiping the slate clean. (It also gives you a chance to vacuum or mop your office and get into those corners normally occupied with stuff!) You put your hands on every single item that is in the room twice, once to move it out and once more to move it back in. Each time you touch it, you’re confronted with the decision of whether this item is truly worth keeping or simply there because you left it there. In the last few days, I’ve recycled a considerable number of boxes and papers I once thought were important (they weren’t, or weren’t anymore).

The only downside is that this plan isn’t quick. Moving all your stuff out and putting it back is going to take quite some time, even if it’s the smallest of rooms. However, if you put in the time investment you will be handsome rewarded. My room feels larger already!

(Photo: lylamerle)

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4 Responses to “Reset Your Rooms: Simplifying Your Life”

  1. Jason H says:

    My wife and I perform this kind of ritual with the main rooms of our apartment about twice a year, and with the closets about once a quarter. At this point we could downsize to a one bedroom easily if necessary, so in the current economic times it creates an added benefit of quicker or easier downsizing. Not to mention you might be able to sell quite a bit of stuff for cash.

  2. Madame X says:

    Hmmm, I hope the corollary isn’t that you must empty all your bank accounts in order to become more organized about managing your finances!

    But this is why people usually find that moving from one house to another is a good chance to get rid of unneeded stuff…

  3. Terry says:

    (scratching head)

    I have one room; I don’t think this is going to work.

  4. This is a good idea. It’s the difference between “straightening out” and really getting organized. An extension of this would be to pack things you’re not sure you need into plain, unmarked boxes and put them in storage for a few months. They thinking goes that if that time passes and you didn’t go looking for the stuff, you no longer need it.


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