Starting Fresh 8: Kitchen Papers

Each blog post until the end of the year, I will focus on a particular area of clutter, to help guide you in removing unwanted things, activities, and people from your life. The goal is to start 2013 clutter free!

Today we're focusing on your papers in your kitchen. Lots of paper ends up in the kitchen and sits and collects, creating a stagnant effect. This makes it much more difficult to have a healthy and supportive space to cook and eat your meals.

The counters. The stacks of papers look intimidating. But when you actually take a closer look, they become insignificant things that are temporarily in the way. Take a small doable stack of papers from the counter and sit in a comfortable place. Have a recycling bin or bag by your side. You're going to go through piece-by-piece. We think better when there's just one thing to consider. Ask of each piece, "Do I need this piece of paper or can I let it go?" If you need it, then either place it where it needs to go, or if it requires some action, take that action. A lot of clutter are unfinished actions. When you are done with that stack, go and pick another small stack from the counter. Notice the space you are creating as you take the paper away. It's helpful to encourage yourself every step of the way. 

Make sure to drink water while you are working. Clutter busting is dehydrating. Also eat some healthy snacks to keep your blood sugar in a good place.

On the fridge. Everything from photos, kids' art work, notices of events we want to attend, to-do lists, etc end up on the fridge. The problem is, they tend to stay up there, and become stale. To start fresh, take everything off the fridge and bring it to a place where you can consider each item. Follow the same approach as you did with the counters. When you are done, and you have a desire to put more things on the fridge, look for new and interesting things that appeal to you in the moment. This way, the space becomes more of a living vibrant thing. Repeat this again in a month.

Articles. We print articles from the internet, tear them out from magazines, or save the full magazine, telling ourselves we are going to read the article. But the fact that it was saved without our reading it is a red flag. Our minds are insatiable and get easily distracted by information. We automatically grab and store info. The funny thing is, most of the information isn't actually useful to us.

We end up saving all this info and creating a huge unsatisfied need in ourselves by not reading what we saved. I remember one client looking at the stacks of articles in her kitchen that she saved for years and wearily saying, "Even if I took two weeks off from work and did nothing else, I could never read all of these." Trust that because they are unread, you will not read them.

Starting a new habit. Once paper makes it into your house, it has a way of not leaving. As we have seen, paper's presence tends to be disorderly. I'm encouraging you to create a new habit of not bringing papers home.

To do this, you'll be breaking an old habit. We tend to grab and take home paper if it's interesting. We also take papers that are given to us at events, or from friends that want us to read something. It's an automatic response.

But perhaps a little alarm can go off inside of you as you find yourself wanting to keep some paper. You hear your voice ask, "Am I going to read this?" Be honest. What's your first impulse? If it's no, recycle the papers. It's much, much, much easier to get rid of paper outside of your home.

Please write and tell me your experiences clearing paper clutter; it helps inspire people when you share.

If you have trouble and get stuck, feel free to call me at (310) 903-1041 to arrange a phone clutter busting session.

Also, if you find yourself benefiting from this Starting Fresh Clutter Busting Workshop and you want to show your appreciation, you can make a donation through the donation button on the right sidebar.