It seems like it’s going to be a pretty slow week for me. I recently finished a project, a new one hasn’t come in, and I’m basically stuck at home at the moment. It’s fine. I’m used to it. One minute you don’t get any sleep. The next you have all the time in the world. It’s the nature of my job working from project to project. On the plus side, it’s good that I have some time to relax and take it easy after two grueling weeks of nonstop work. When something starts up again, I’m recharged and ready to go.

Since it’s a Monday, it’s good to start the week with something productive; and so I’ve decided to do some cleaning in my room. I usually straighten out my room when I’m not busy. It’s basically throwing out documents or papers that have accumulated; and deciding which of these I should keep or throw away. One big difference with what I did today, however, was finally deciding to throw out my old credit card and cellphone bills. Big deal, right? Yes, it’s a big deal!

For the past four years that I’ve been receiving these bills, I haven’t thrown a single one. I had this idea in the back of my mind that the companies might come after me with an old bill that I’ve already settled… saying that I haven’t paid. Of course, how would I get to my current bill without having settled a previous bill, right? That logic was in my head; but I don’t know… I just kept everything. Anyway, I Googled & double checked; and as long as you’ve settled a current bill, you can throw the previous one out. That made up over 50% of the stuff I cleared out of my drawers. Whew! Aside from that, there were the usual scratch papers or old storyboards here and there.

It’s never easy for me to let go of stuff. Like the old billings I’ve received, I may hang onto a certain document from a project even if it’s been finished for over two years. Recently, I’ve resolved to not be afraid of letting go. It was hard; but this resolve came in especially handy when we changed offices and I had to throw most of my stuff out. Printed storyboards, pre-production organizers, and so much more… gone. I’ve still kept the CDs and DVDs, though. Baby steps… baby steps…

get organized!

Anyway, if you’d like to do some quick decluttering of your own, here are some tips and tricks that helped me get things done:

Have something playing on TV or in the background as you’re sorting through stuff. Once you get your cleaning rhythm going, time will quickly pass by.
I did my decluttering with Junior Masterchef Australia on the screen. The show didn’t require my full attention; and I still got through all my stuff in no time. I love multitasking like this; because it works for me.

Go through clutter one area at a time. Put everything out in the open and then assign them into certain piles.
I started with my desk, then to my cabinets, then to my bedside table. I immediately threw out anything I decided was trash, then I set aside all the others.
After finishing all the areas, I distributed everything into a number of piles, narrowing stuff down even further if in the second sorting I decided that they’re not necessary. I had many different piles: assorted cables & chargers for my gadgets, old proof of receipts, software CDs, screenplays, personal documents, among others.
After organizing them accordingly, I placed everything back into my drawers neatly. After this process, you’ll discover so much more new space than ever before!

Be ruthless.
If you have a feeling you won’t need it, then you’re probably right. Sentimental value is relative; and it’s up to you to decide which stuff have more value than others. Hang on to the best stuff and let go of the minor items. In my case… Concert tickets? Keep. Souvenirs? Depends. Old project notes? Throw.
If needed, try to place the minor items in a box and keep it for six months to a year. If you go back to the box after a certain time without opening, and you don’t even remember what’s inside, throw it out (don’t take a peek!).

It’s harder said than done; but decluttering is a good start to getting organized. If you start with having only the essentials, then keeping everything neat and tidy would be a breeze.