clear it out

My favorite magazine in the whole wide world is Real Simple. I let my subscription lapse for a while and I was actually sad about it, like I’d broken up with someone for no reason at all. So finally I decided to get it going again and for the last few weeks I’ve been all excited about its return to my mailbox. And then last week it finally arrived and I immediately read it from cover to cover. Yay, Real Simple.

This month’s issue had an article about organizing and cleaning up clutter in your life, and the author of the article said that she challenged all of her clients to find fifty things to throw away. Magazines and catalogs only counted as one thing, and you were not limited to physical clutter. You could add mental clutter to the list.

This was one of those articles that seemed completely fine but not life-changing as I read it, but over the last few days I’ve found myself thinking about it a lot as I go about my day-to-day business. And, slowly but surely, I’m starting to throw some things out.

I’m not a terrible pack rat but I do tend to hold on to some things and feelings long past their usefulness. So I’m letting some things go. I started with some old magazines and catalogs. Those were easy to toss out. And then I threw away some stuff in the bathroom – old makeup I’ve been keeping because it was expensive, for example. Also easy. I’ll never use it again anyway.

It’s been a little harder to let go of some mental things – some old betrayals and embarrassments I’ve been hoarding, some weird things about relationships that I haven’t cleaned up because they’re safe and comfortable – but I’m working on those.

I like the concept. I like the way I’m feeling. I like how this is happening gradually, almost organically. I should maybe keep a paper list so I know when I get to 50 and don’t shortchange myself.

10 Replies to “clear it out”

  1. Oh hey – double yay on the Real Simple! I too have let my subscription lapse, but I am thinking of getting back into it. I love their 5 Easy Meals section.

    And do keep a list – I’ll bet that could end up being a really interesting post someday when you reach the golden 50.

  2. I probably need to throw out 150 things. My home desk is cluttered, my side of the garage is cluttered, my shed is cluttered, my office desk is a little cluttered, my car is VERY cluttered, and my mind therefore has to deal with the clutter, which slows me down. Time to recycle, freecycle, Salvation Army, and fill up a trashcan or 4.

  3. I’m actually really proud of myself – I got rid of 95% of my junk this past week. I’m moving into my first home (a condo in the suburbs). I’m trying hard to leave most of my old stuff behind so that the new place isn’t cluttered.

    It’s amazing what you find in your bedroom though! Stuff from high school, prom, I just donated all my prom dresses too (took me long enough!)

  4. Clearing all the clutter is very feng shui-ish — it supposedly promotes proper “circulation” througout your home and your life to feel more in tune and at ease mentally, emotionally, physically, “spiritually,” whatever, etc. Clearing out all the clutter is definitely very helpful, in all those ways and then some.

  5. I bought that magazine yesterday… good times. If I ever get time to do anything other than stress out about homework I may try it too.

  6. Okay, so my wife used to get this magazine, and it was one of the few things she forgot to forward to her new address. So i am now admitting for the first time that i actually like it, as unmanly as it may sound. Now if only i could implement a few ideas, my clutter could become organized clutter. :)

  7. Real Simple kicks ass and all men and women throughout the world should subscribe to it. I wish I got a commission for this!

    Also, HEY STRANGER JONZO. How have you been?

  8. Good. And yourself? I actually went back and made one of the recipes out of the last real simple for my lunch today. :) Hope all is well, Jonzo

  9. i have to get ANOTHER new place to live soon. this one doesn’t have room for Tons of Extra Shit.

    anyway, this entry has been bouncing around my head for a few weeks now, and i keep forgetting to comment. so here i am. i love this entry and i would love to read the article some time.

    I love the “Is this beautiful? Do I use it?” method. If the answer to either is no, time to get rid of it….

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