Depths of Clutter: How I Begin Decluttering An Area
PITS (Pass IT Stuff)
I’m going to take the opportunity to let you into how I declutter while decluttering my own spaces, little by little. I hope to continue this through my whole house—including before and after pictures. Since today’s focus is on PITS, I thought I’d tackle the Entryway furniture where I stash the things I’m distributing elsewhere until I can get to them. When I find shirts that are too small for Abby, I stash them here for one of her little friend's who’s a year younger. When I come across a silver spoon that Berk (previous owner) left by accident when he moved out, I stash it here until I see him again. This space gets full of PITS often and fast.
It's the PITS!
Ha! I just love acronyms. They make it easy to remember steps. PITS is our focus this week and this is one of my favorites. It's the decluttering that actually gets the stuff out of your house for good. This is the stuff most people think of when decluttering--taking a trip to Salvation Army, waving the proverbial hand goodbye as they drive away from their junk and feel proud of themselves for having 3 entire garbage bags full of stuff, gone forever. This is the step with the decluttering high. The one where you can give yourself a high five for finally ridding yourself of junk.
I know I do! I count the bags and estimate the weight. I imagine my house being weighed on a gigantic scale. Ah--20 pounds gone in one day. Refreshing. Uplifting. This is the good part. It can also be the fun part.
Did you know that planning a visit to a friend can be a PITS stop?
That's right. When I declutter an area and bag all of the items going to other people, I write their names on a list. My list is on my iphone on Toodledo. I happen to love that app...GRIN. I actually think to myself, hmmm...I wonder if Berk would like some company sometime soon. And, I know he does cause he loves stocking ice cream just for the kids to come by and dote on him for being the best. I see it as this great excuse to visit someone who we love hanging out with. "Hey Berk. We have a few things we found that are yours. Would you mind some company?"
Of course, that's the fun part. Decluttering gets much harder than this. But allow for that reward. The high of seeing large amounts leave at once, visiting a friend "just" to drop off some odds and ends, and "having" to get out of the house because you need to drop stuff by the thrift store.
Don't forget that this part, though fun, is actually vital to your success. In order to free yourself of masses of things attempting to strangle the life out of your day, things do actually have to leave. Making plans to do this is an important part of dejunking your home.
And who knows...you could find a treasure while you're out!
Today is the first of my weekly focus posts and today’s focus was on PITS (Pass IT Stuff). That means next weeks focus is on TLC, Tedious Longsuffering Care. This part of decluttering is by far the toughest but is also the most perminent! Please join me next Monday and don't forget to link up your own posts. The more information people have at their fingertips the better.
Now, why did I say “begin”?
I have found, with few exceptions, that I can rarely finish with absolute completion, decluttering a space in one fell swoop. I think expecting that is why so many people fail at it and give up. Instead I like to start the process with a bang and then allow momentum to carry it through to completion, while the rest of life is allowed to continue. In fact, if you expect yourself to completely declutter a room before going on with your daily life, you may fall farther behind in chores than you can easily recover from.
OOPS-Out Of Place Stuff
E.T.’s CUP-Easy Trash and Clean Up Place
PITS-Pass IT Stuff
TLC-Tedious Longsuffering Care
NAPs and MAPs-Needs A Place and Make A Place
Start with a Bang by looking through an entire space and then let momentum carry you through to completion by focusing on each of the 5 depths of clutter.
I always sort each item into these catagories: OOPS, ETs CUP, PITS, TLC, and NAP and MAP.
1. Empty out a small area that you can look all the way through before you need to run off to cook dinner or get to a Ladies Night Out. You can always go to the next small area if it was quicker than you thought. You will need a small laundry basket, a trashcan proportional to what you expect to use, a small basket or bin that can fit back in the area you're decluttering (for this space I wanted to make sure it fit papers, but only a small stack’s worth), several grocery bags, some scraps of paper, and a pen or marker.
2. As you sift through 1 item at a time, you will be putting it in one of the following: OOPS laundry basket, for anything that belongs to you but is out of place, E.T. trashcan for anything you just need to quickly toss, PITS grocery bags, TLC bin, and NAP pile.
3. If it’s just out of place or trash, you know where it goes. OOPS in laundry basket and trash (ET) in the trash bin.
4. If you run into something that you want to pass to someone outside of your household, and you don’t need to do ANYTHING except take it to that person/place, then put it in a bag labeled with that person’s name (PITS). Some things that might go here are things that a friend’s child left behind when they were visiting, things you have already designated for the thrift store, or things you have borrowed and need to get back to the owner. If you have to do something with it before it goes to that person, it does not go here. But if all you have to do is take it to the person, bag each group of things based on where they are going. That’s what the scraps of paper, marker or pen and grocery bags are for.
5. Now, if you come upon something that requires more attention than you can give it right now, then it goes in the TLC bin. This includes bills that need to be paid, papers that need to be filled out, a vase that’s broken and needs to be glued, a necklace that needs to be untangled, an apron that needs mending, or even a magazine that you want to read. Anything requiring more attention than you can do right now while you’re working here, goes in TLC. We will be discussing this one in detail soon. I would suggest at least putting important, time sensitive stuff where you know you can find or at least at the very top of your TLC bin.
6. If there is something that you come across where the item does not need attention, but putting it away needs attention it goes in NAP and MAP. This is stuff like bills that have already been paid and just need to be filed, a game piece that is out of its box, or toilet paper that needs to be separated and stored in all three bathrooms. The difference between TLC and NAP is in what needs attention…the item itself (TLC) or where it belongs (NAP and MAP).
7. Now that you’re finished sorting the items into these piles, you’re ready to deal with them. First, make a quick list to keep with you of the people/places that each of your PITS (Pass IT Stuff) needs to go. If you’ll be heading that way soon, go ahead and put the bags in the car. If not put them somewhere that you can remember to grab when it’s time. Keep this list close to your calendar—that way when you notice that you’re going to church and you have two things that are going to people who you will see there, you’ll remember to take them.
8. Throw the trash away and put the can back where it goes.
9. Put the things away that go in different places in your home and put the laundry basket away.
10. Stash things neatly and as near to where they go as you can if they are in the NAP and MAP category. If you can easily deal with them, like filing papers, then go ahead and make the time. We will deal with this in greater detail soon as well.
11. Quickly glance through your TLC bin for anything that is time sensitive and make sure it’s put in a place that you are familiar with and can deal with it soon, or you can just make sure it’s on the top of your TLC bin if you don’t have a good place for it.
Well, that's it for this week! Next week is TLC. TLC, or Tedious Longsuffering Care, is the toughest part of decluttering and is definitely for me, the one area that crowds MY house. Not dealing with this can, and for me does, stop up my home like a dam in the middle of a flood. Please link up any post(s) you'd like and then join me next week for a focus on TLC.Linking Up to the fabulous blogs:
DIY Home Sweet Home
A Bowl Full Of Lemons
You're Talking Too Much
Between Naps On The Porch
Add A Pinch
A Bowl Full of Lemons