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Daily Ditchings, Explained: An Easy Way To Clear Out The Stuff

So… I’ve got too much stuff!

I know this.  I’ve known it forever! Who out there doesn’t have this thought each and every time they have to clean out the junk drawer/drawers/cabinet/closet/room/garage/basement/shed/house/trailer/crawl space/pillowcases?!?!

Call it junk. Call it clutter. Call it stuff. Call it shit! Whatever you want to call it, I’ve got too much of it.

Yet, I was never able to part with the majority of the stuff that I just keep and store or have to clean around all the time.  

Why???

Because going through all that stuff is HARD!  

“I swear to God that I’ll clear out that storage closet this weekend or I’ll just…” Then, I never finish the sentence because (in my case) I get distracted by a bumble bee or some other enthralling shiny object.  Or I start going through stuff, and come across things that have a story behind them.  Please note: EVERYTHING HAS A STORY BEHIND IT! So I feel compelled to share this story with the world.  That or maybe just share it with my loving wife…who…could…not…care…less. 😃

Weekend comes and goes, and nothing has happened other than the nice and tightly packed closet has transformed to a 15’x15′ smearing of stuff on the floor in front of the now half-empty closet, while thinking to myself, “Where did I get all this shit?!?!”

It’s not a pretty site!

I let myself get wrapped up in the personal story of each and every one of the things I’m trying to get rid of, and it just gets overwhelming.  “Too much to do right now/ever!”  Something else we all tell ourselves.  “I’ll get to it when I have more time.”  The excuses march on…

I read a book by Warren & Betsy Talbot, called Getting Rid Of It!  Its a simple, tactic rich little book that takes less than 3 hours to read that finally gave me something that a distractible little scatterbrain like me can actually do!

As you can tell by the name of my blog, Small Moves, I’ve come to the realization that giant, sweeping changes rarely stick (for me anyway), because they are unsustainable.  This one little magical tactic has had such a huge mental impact on me (and the big box of my stuff, otherwise known as my house)!

Its referred to in the book as “Relieve yourself of a thing a day.”  I translate this to “Minus 1 per Day.”  Long and short, end each and every day of your life (no breaks ever!) with one less thing than you started with.

  • 3 new shirts?  Ditch 4.  Or maybe ditch 2, then ditch those 2 ties or scarfs you haven’t worn in 5 years since the last time you worked in an office.
  • New Kuerig machine for the kitchen?  Donate the fancy asian stir fry wok you bought for a Wok Party you hosted 6 years ago and haven’t used since, and the giant metal spatula that came with it that you haven’t used since either.

You get the idea. If you can see my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@jasonherzberger), generally you’ll see that I post daily the thing that I’m ditching that day.  Sometimes friends pipe up and came them, then come take them from me. Win-Win!  Or they go on Craigslist for free or for some sort of payment.

The BIG keystone to this strategy is you MUST do it every day, and you MUST NOT go crazy and try and do more than that very often.  The reason is what I said earlier… You’ll get caught up in the narrative of each of the things your are trying to get rid of, and the stories will overwhelm you!

Even if you are distractible as I am, the personal narrative of the thing of the day will last no more than a couple of minutes, then you’re all done!  Posting these daily on FB and Twitter helps me out a lot in this area.

  • I get to tell the personal narrative to people who may or may not care at all.
  • I sometimes find people willing to come and make the things go away for me.
  • I’ve, seriously, gotten PM’s near the end of the day from friends asking why I haven’t posted today’s thing yet.  This keeps me on track. You may find it annoying… but someone who can’t sit still for 30 seconds without shaking, this sort of guidance is HUUUUUGE!

The thing of the day can be big.  It can be small, but the most important thing is that you are net negative 1 thing each day.  Give it a little bit of time, and I have been STUNNED at the difference it has made in our house.  

Interested in joining in on the fun?  Try doing this little project for just 30 days and see what your place looks like afterwards!  If you choose to post your daily ditchings comments and/or photos out there, include #dailyditchings so we can all egg each other on!

I appreciate you! Thanks for reading.

 

About the author, Jason Herzberger