January 3, 2011 – New year, new clutter zapping start

Christmas Goodies

Unsent Christmas Goodies and other debris litter our dining room table

Holiday cheer languishing on my dining room table

This is my dining room table today, two days after New Years, littered with unsent Christmas goodies and paraphernalia. I know. Who sends their holiday packages long after the diaper clad baby has given Father Time and his murderous scythe the boot? Perhaps I’m the only one. Sigh. I’m determined to get my packages in the mail this week. I’ve set the timer for one hour. Let’s see how much I accomplish. While I’m working, a little back story.

Want to know how bad it is in my house?

Two years ago, on New Years Day 2009, I began a program to de-clutter my house. For fifteen minutes a day, five days a week, I would clear some small bit of the clutter from my life. Seemed doable. Fifteen minutes. We can do anything for fifteen minutes, right? And the payoff! A whole year of 15 minutes, 5 days a week, why that’s 52 weeks times 5 days times 15 minutes  = 3,900 minutes = 65 hours! That’s more than a week and a half of full-time work.

That figure alone is incentive enough to clear, zap and zip those messes away, wouldn’t you say? Not to mention what I could do with that week and half next year if I keep the clutter cleared once it’s gone. Vacation anyone?

All I can say is: Life got in the way. I’d like to say life got in the way of posting and writing, which it did, but truth be told, life got in the way of clearing the clutter. Not that I haven’t kept at it, but I stopped doing fifteen minutes a day, and the clutter I managed to clear barely kept pace with the clutter I managed to make.


My pledge

New year. New start. Five days a week, fifteen minutes a day, I will clear clutter. Some days, I may spend more than fifteen minutes. Some days I may spend hours. But Monday through Friday, unless I am unable to work at home, I will spend a minimum of fifteen minutes clearing the clutter in my home. As often as possible, I will record my clutter clearing journey here.

There’s plenty of clutter to clear, especially after the holidays

If you think my dining room table is bad, you should see my hallway, my living room and my bedroom. Christmas cheer everywhere. Today, I gave myself a jump-start: One full hour of clutter zapping. In a moment, I’ll show you how far I got, starting with the dining room table, but first, I needed to visualize the feel-good that would come from spending my time this way instead, of say, baking that sweet potato pie my sweetheart hankers after.


I’m imagining some of the good that can come from zapping the clutter from my dining room table.

  • We’ll be able to eat dinner at the table for the first time in weeks (cloth napkins, candles, beautiful heirloom casserole dish bubbling with cheeses and goodies)
  • We can enjoy a vase of cut flowers (organic, fair trade, of course) on the table any time we like
  • The dining room/study will be so much more pleasant a place to live and work (Our apartment is too small for a separate study, but roomy enough we can fit the desk and an unobtrusive file cabinet neatly on one side–when we keep it tidy, that is)

One hour later

Christmas goodies and box

Some of the goodies packed in box and labeled for mailing

By the time I located the right box, found enough packing material to pack three jam jars and one cookie jar for a safe journey out-of-state, most of my hour was gone. The good news: The first of three packages is ready to mail.

While my table is as messy as ever, I’ve made progress, and that feels good. I also managed not to eat any of  the Triple Ginger Cookies, which are fabulous. The recipe is not mine. You’ll find it at 101 Cookbooks.

How I feel having accomplished this much

A bit disappointed, actually. Having given myself an hour, I thought I could pack all three packages, but it is easy to forget how much time careful wrapping and stuffing take, especially when packing glass and food items. On the other hand, I’ve made progress, and that is always a good feeling. I’m off to grab a load of laundry from the dryer in the basement (three floors down), fold and put away (Avoiding more clutter!), then to the Post Office where I can mail this first package.


Pack the second and, if I’m lucky, third boxes, however much I do in fifteen minutes. Of course, I may choose once again to give myself extra time, but that’s a choice to make tomorrow.

Copyright notice: All text and images are under copyright. No part of this post or its images may be reproduced or reprinted without written permission from the author.


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