Act and get thee gone, clutter

The prompt: December 13 – Action: When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

What is “making ideas happen” all about?

It’s about getting what’s in your head out onto paper, or a napkin, or the screen, then looking at what you’ve put down and seeing what little steps it would take to get to the next one and the next and the next to make what’s jotted down come to life. I can think of one concrete example of what we did last year that visibly an idea from a thought to the real thing in real life.

(Photo credit: from Lotta Agaton blog)

About a year ago, after having been inspired by blogs like zenhabits, becoming minimalist, and minimalmac, (ummm, why do all these blog names consist of lower case words with no capitals?) I decided that a less cluttered life was 1) better for the soul 2) better for the environment 3) better financially 4) better for our peace of mind and 5) better for community. With mon mari’s resounding agreement, I decided to transform our house into a place of tranquility, white spaces and clean shelves.


With my penchant for collecting bits of paper, knick-knacks, cool art, postcards and potential “presents” for others, the piles around our house did not abate and I really really dreaded tackling the stacks of clutter in EACH ROOM of our house. I dragged my feet and continued to read the blogs but not DO anything about my new vision for months.

I so dreaded it that I put off cleaning our bedroom dresser for months. This is where I really wish I had before and after pictures. We did tackle it. I say we, because mon mari stood next to me and would say things like, “Really, when’s the last time you wore it?” or “Who would take it?” or “Chris, please….” and I would throw one more thing in the garbage or donate box.

In this manner, over the past few months, we tackled: our books (culled 300+ titles), my clothes, my shoes, our bedroom dressers, the linen closets, our son’s bedroom, make-up/lotions/sundry and the kitchen.  We still have: office stuff, my accessories, the shed, our knick-knacks, the laundry room and probably a few more places we haven’t thought of.

Our place isn’t even that big: the upstairs of our house where we live is probably about 900 square feet. But there was and still remains a LOT of work to do, to reach my aspirations of a clutter-free space.

What helped in realizing the idea?

  • expressing my thoughts about the project out loud and getting them out of my head  into written form
  • seeing the project as a series of small projects
  • picking chunks of time to devote to the act of culling, an hour here, 2 hours there
  • having a co-aspirant, who sometimes cheered, sometimes cajoled, sometimes complained until I acted on my said objective