In the book Clearing Clutter as a Sacred Act, the author Carolyn Koehnline says, “creating order can be messy.” That’s certainly the truth. I’m in the stage with my decluttering where some areas look worse now than they did before I started the process. But I just try to keep my eye focused on the end result I’m hoping for, and just keep plugging away.
In her book, Koehnline suggests putting together what she calls a clutter-clearing container, a place to hold all your clutter-clearing process materials and a way to make sense of the mess that comes from decluttering. She suggests something like:
- a 3-ring binder
- a file box
- a digital folder
The container is basically a place to store and access notes and writings related to decluttering. She says to skip this step if it seems too overwhelming for you. At first, it did sound too overwhelming, but when I found myself reaching for a small steno notebook, I realized having a place to write about the process was a good idea for me.
I don’t feel the need to decorate my journal/container like she suggests at one point. But I can see how that could be inspiring for some people. I’m afraid I might get lost in the details of beautifying the journal and lose sight of the process of decluttering. I think I just need to keep it all very plain and simple.
I also decided that updating my blog and Facebook page with thoughts and observations would give me another place to keep ideas and to keep track of my progress. When notes from my steno notebook gel into something somewhat cohesive, I’ll share them here for safekeeping.
Things that Koehnline suggests keeping in the clutter-clearing container include:
- helpful resources
- details about projects
- questions for self or others
- process writing
- inspirational quotes
- song lyrics
- pieces of own writing
I personally am just keeping notes on thoughts that come to me while reading Koehnline’s book, and the pieces of writing that are inspired by her book’s writing prompts, or by the process itself of clearing clutter.
Another idea she shares in her book for including in the container is photographs of “before and after.” I haven’t included photos in my container(s), but I can see how that could be a valuable part of the decluttering journey. Since I’ve already completed a few areas of my house, I might take a few “after” photos. An empty bookcase. Empty dresser drawers. Neatly stacked boxes with carefully sorted Christmas decorations.
When I first read about her idea of keeping a clutter-clearing container, it didn’t resonate with me. But as I found ways of adapting the idea to the way I work and the things that inspire me, it’s become the backbone of my decluttering project. And also allows me to share my journey with others.
What sort of container do you think you would find helpful?