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Decluttering with Dana

Updated: May 24, 2020

Saturday, 23rd May 2020

If you've read previous posts, you'll know that for a while I got addicted to decluttering. Well, I kind of fell off the simplifying bandwagon recently. But I've found a way to get back on.

There's a book called 'How to Declutter at the Speed of Life', by Dana K. White, and since I liked her other book - 'How to Manage your Home without Losing your Mind' - I decided to try it. I wondered if it would be a form of procrastination. I'd read the book and get more 'strategies' but really I just needed to get on with it... But it's helped and it's renewed momentum. So read on if you want some tips.

The first tip she gives, which I like, is to start with the most visible. So, starting from your front door, you choose spaces that hit you in the face, metaphorically. That's the best place to start, because it builds satisfaction and, thus, momentum. She says to imagine your house as a guest and see through their eyes. Oh dear. This makes sense to someone like me, who struggles with delayed gratification and gets no excitement at the thought of clearing a drawer. Other decluttering experts recommend starting with the most difficult places which we dread the most. I'm not a fan of that.

Her next tip, which again I love, is to start with the 'easiest of the easy': rubbish (or 'trash', as she calls it). I like that too, because it means there'll always be an impact after a decluttering session and no decisions have to be made. Obvious rubbish goes in the bin. Things start to look better.

Then she says to carry on keeping it easy by removing anything which obviously belongs somewhere else: spoons in the kitchen, books on the bookshelf, et cetera. Anything more difficult is to be left. Procrastination, I like that. There's no Marie Kondo pulling everything out,no need to make startling progress in any one area. The goal, she says, is to have less. Less is better. I like that. But she's very strict on one thing and that's moving any item which doesn't belong in the space immediately to its obvious home. This avoids any piles of procrastination and Overwhelm building up, if the session is interrupted. Very practical. Very realistic. This fits with my life, as someone who's interrupted approximately a million times a day.

Once the space is cleared of rubbish and inanimate foreigners, the more difficult items can be assessed. She advises you ask two questions. I won't actually reveal them because I might be in danger of giving away her secrets unfairly and I'd rather recommend the book. Suffice to say, they work.

So I tried this on my back porch the other day and was pleased with the result. Then the back of the kitchen door and the top of the bedroom drawers. I'm sticking to visible spots which reap the richest harvests.

But more exciting, I did my first video call this week with a great friend who's asked for some help in the decluttering department. As a lover of simplifying, I've been wanting to do this for ages. We stuck to only one area and had a time limit. Though it was tempting to debate where the i-pad-holder should live,I was strict on sticking to obvious rubbish and then moving only the obvious to obvious homes. It gave me such energy and I really enjoyed myself. I hope she doesn't hate me. So hoping to continue that one and very grateful to Dana K. White for her tips. Thanks, Dana.

Going to spend a few minutes decluttering Michael's Manchester United paraphernalia in the downstairs toilet now. No guests should have to endure that.

Don't worry, mi amor, if you're reading this, I'm only joking. I wouldn't dare.

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