Recently, I saw a post about decluttering 40 spots in your house over 40 days. I love the idea, Fly Lady has had me doing that in 15 minute increments for the past few years. I like this idea even better because you have an easy plan to follow. Just grab an old grocery bag, hit the area for 5 minutes and throw as much stuff out as possible. The idea isn't to clean the area, it's easy to get overwhelmed if you try to do both decluttering and cleaning. The important part is to remove as much as possible so it's easy to clean later.
If you're organizationally challenged, you have two options to get this stuff out of your house. The first is to stick it right into the trash. Not exactly eco friendly- but you're in crisis mode. If you try to donate this stuff, it's going to sit in a closet for a few more years and you're going to give up. If you can't stand the idea of throwing it out, jump onto craigslist and list under the free section- “Miscellaneous Bags of Free stuff. Major Decluttering project. 40 bags available of assorted goodies. My loss is your gain! Bags will be out front at 6pm tonight.” You can list your address, or if you're not comfortable with that, a public location close by (the end of your road maybe?). If you leave it somewhere other than your property, attach a free sign and come back in a few hours to make sure its been picked up. We've done this several times and it's always a great experience. Before we moved, we emptied half of our house onto the front curb and people were circling the block HOURS before the pick up time. Every single thing got picked up. Jon's gotten his fair share of free stuff off of Craigslist so we think of it as our way of giving back.
As a bonus, once you start throwing out everything in your house and you start feeling so much better, it easy to break the shopping addiction. You start looking at things in stores that you would ordinarily snatch up and think, “eh. I'm just going to throw it out in next months decluttering”. Once things gets cleared out, it's really easy to organize the things that you actually use.
This is my personalized list:
40. The gardens