We’re a full week into the new year, and my New Year’s Resolution is still alive and well. In fact, it’s taken on a life of its own.

The basic plan was to declutter one room or area a month, and to get rid of at least one item every day, so that 30 or more items will be donated or thrown out by the time I move on to my next target. I decided to start with the master bedroom closet.

Each morning I grab a dozen or so items of clothing and lay them on the bed. As I’m getting dressed, I try on everything, and then put it back in the closet—organizing and rearranging as I go—or on a pile to donate or toss. The first day, I lightened my closet by 15 shirts and blouses, and I’ve eliminated at least a few items every day since. My morning ritual now includes the satisfaction of looking in my closet and being able to see the difference between the “Before” and “After” sections, which motivates me even more.

What’s really interesting is that I can already feel a shift in my mindset. The other day, while watching TV in the evening, I grabbed a stack of magazines that had piled up on the coffee table, and started skimming through them—tearing out a few articles or recipes I wanted to save for later, and tossing the rest of the magazines in the recycling bin. This doesn’t count toward my New Year’s Resolution decluttering, but it feels good to clear out another cluttered area, almost without even thinking about it.

A trick I’ve learned is that doing a small “Prep Step,” such as putting a stack of clothes on the bed first thing in the morning, ensures that I won’t forget to do my daily purge. And keeping track of my progress on a special calendar provides an additional  sense of satisfaction in addition to the motivation it gives me.

Several people emailed me after reading my blog last week about this resolution. One said she was motivated to do the same thing. Another said she is taking a donation bag to Goodwill every week. And one friend said that after finding a long-forgotten box in her basement, she was able to share family heirlooms and mementos with others who would appreciate them—although I can’t take credit for inspiring her, as she did this well before reading my blog.

But it confirms something I rediscovered when I started working on this New Year’s Resolution—something Mary Poppins sang about 60 years ago in the song, “A Spoonful of Sugar:” “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap, the job’s a game.”

I have indeed turned this job into a game. Here’s hoping it lasts all year long.

January 9, 2024
©Betty Liedtke, 2024

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