Monday, April 09, 2007

the cooling-off period

I'm in the middle of a purge (my own - not a client's), and I'm reminded that when we're getting rid of stuff, we need to give ourselves a chance to change our minds.

We won't always choose to keep something that we originally planned to give away. But if you're really not sure (and sometimes even if you are), listen to your heart and put the thing(s) in a safe place until the decision to let go seems right.

A case in point: In an earlier post I said I wanted to get rid of an antique white china wash basin. I don't use it and I didn't have room to store it.

But something in me just couldn't give it away. I may get rid of it someday; for now I want to keep it.

So I compromised: I made room for it on one of my shelves by getting rid of some other things instead - namely, a wok and a copper bowl.

A frequently-mentioned organizing tip is to box up whatever you want to purge, and then store the box in a safe place until a certain date - say, six months or a year from now.

Then when that date rolls around, if you haven't gone into the box to find something you needed, get rid of it without even opening it again.

My nemesis is books; I love to buy them, but I have only a finite amount of shelf space. So I weed through them every now and then, but then procrastinate actually getting rid of the books I've pulled off the shelves.

After several years I realized I need time to re-evaluate the book-purging decisions. Sometimes I go through the books again (usually after a couple of months) and confirm that I really don't want them anymore. Other times I put a few of them back on my shelves. The only downside is that I really don't have room to store them in the meantime.

Use your own best judgement. Don't let yourself be bullied into getting rid of everything quickly if that's not what you want. You have choices, you know.

copyright 2007, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow

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