In tactical training there exists Hick’s Law… the more training options you have, the longer it takes to respond. The same principle is behind my quest for simplicity. The more stuff… possessions, bills, tasks, workflows, etc that I have competing for my attention, the more distracted I am. The less focused and at peace I can be.
But the process of simplifying can be daunting. How do I declutter? Where to I start? Let me introduce you to your new best friend… the 4P’s. And we’ll start small – say with decluttering a single drawer. Go find your messiest drawer and…
1. Pile – take everything out of the drawer and make a big pile. On the bed. On the floor. It doesn’t matter. But get it all out. Don’t sort. Just pile!
2. Pick – you really don’t use all this stuff do you? I don’t mean the stuff you think about using… or the stuff you like the idea of using. Do you actually use it? Often? (How many socks/jewelry/tshirts do you actually wear?) Pick out only those things that you use, you like, and are important to you and create a second, smaller pile.
3. Prune – just like a tree needs to be pruned to grow, so does your pile. Anything that you didn’t PICK for the smaller pile, get rid of. Sell it on ebay or craigslist. Give it to a friend. Donate it to the Salvation Army. Flat out throw it away. Don’t be emotional or sentimental. Don’t be afraid. If you haven’t used it in a while, you probably won’t use it! Why keep piles of stuff because you “might need it”?
4. Place – place the essential things back in the drawer in an organized manner. Neatly. With plenty of space around each item. This makes it look neater and simpler. (Of course, clean the drawer if you need to.)
That’s it! You now have a much cleaner drawer that you can use to find and store the items you actually value. And you have either made a little money selling the extra stuff, or have been generous and donated to someone who CAN use it.
And you can do a whole room with this process… just one drawer, one horizontal surface (dressers, tables, etc) at a time. Just take it a bit by a bit. Enjoy the process. And watch as you slowly declutter your whole living space!