Clearing Clutter in Hard to Reach Places

I’m moving in early January after having lived in my current apartment for over 5 years.  Even though I purge regularly, I decided to start going through all my stuff now to get rid of anything I don’t want to take with me. Over the weekend I hauled out my stash of gift boxes & bags, assorted tissue papers, and other bits to wrap up a few holiday gifts.  After wrapping the presents, I looked at what was left and decided it would be pretty silly to move a whole bunch of empty boxes, gift bags, and tissue papers.

Incidentally, I also remembered that one of my larger cupboards was cram packed with this kind of stuff.  In fact, it was so full that putting something in it was a speed game to see if I could shove something in and close the door before things started falling out.  This particular cupboard happened to be high up.  I couldn’t reach anything in it unless it was right at the front, which is where I stored cloth bags for grocery shopping.  Since I could never see in the cupboard or really touch anything in it, it was super easy for the pile to grow over the years.  It was always one of those things “I would get to later.”

Sunday morning I texted my neighbors to see if they could use my wrapping supplies for their holiday gifts.  Fortunately they agreed to take it all off my hands.  This was it, my big opportunity to empty out the cupboard. I grabbed a stool and swept 5-years of collecting onto the floor into a gigantic pile of plastic bags, cloth bags, gift bags, bubble wrap, and tissue paper.  It looked daunting.  I decided to time myself.

The pile of clutter that poured out of the cupboard. It might not look like a lot, but the pile was solid and over a foot high.

The pile of clutter that poured out of the cupboard. It might not look like a lot, but the pile was solid and over a foot high.

Fifteen minutes and twenty-eight seconds later, I had everything organized into a few piles.  Gift bags were sorted by size and packed into one of the larger bags.  Tissue papers were packed into one of the gift bags.  I consolidated all of the plastic grocery bags into one larger bag in case I need them during the move.  Next step is to go through the cloth bags and get rid of any I no longer want.

About 15 minutes later, I had everything sorted and ready to go. I like to grumble and complain about these kinds of things, hence the reason why I time myself. I find it hard to argue with myself after learning how little time it actually takes to clean up.

About 15 minutes later, I had everything sorted and ready to go. I like to grumble and complain about these kinds of things, hence the reason why I time myself. I find it hard to argue with myself after learning how little time it actually takes to clean up.

I’m always surprised at how easy it is to accumulate clutter, especially in those hard to reach and rarely used places.

4 comments for “Clearing Clutter in Hard to Reach Places

  1. Deborah Kooperstein
    22 December 2015 at 08:05

    What a pleasure to see the Deletes in my email box. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, your brother and your mother.
    Galapagos friend Deborah (and Jacqui)

  2. Anonymous
    22 December 2015 at 08:09

    Should expand the last statement -how easy it is to accumulate clutter but how little time it takes to get rid of or organize it. Any advice how not to accumulate the items? That’s the problem.

  3. Katie
    24 December 2015 at 08:25

    Great post and very inspirational! I have a plan to attack my 15 years of accumulated stuff and love your idea of timing the whole procedure. It takes shorter than you think! Merry Merry.

  4. 28 December 2015 at 10:05

    A friend of mine just posted this link on FB and thought it would tie in to several of your posts: http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2006/08/the_twentyseven/.

    Good luck with your move!

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