So began Project Empty: Get Rid of All My Crap.
Here's the goal: By the end of 2008, I have a sparsely-furnished, uncluttered, soothingly empty house containing only the essentials of shelter, comfort, hospitality, and enjoyment.
I figure there are five main reasons why I hang on to stuff that doesn't serve these essentials: it was expensive, it was a gift, it was my [mother's] [grandmother's] [etc.], it's irreplaceable, or someday it will fit again.
I've identified 66 separate chunks of clutter that I think I can clear in an hour or less. That's one for every ten square feet of house. I'll start right outside my front door--the porch, the threshold, the entrance to my domain--and work inward and downward from there to the living room (5 separate chunks), the bedroom (29 separate chunks, holy shit), the kitchen (19 chunks), and so on--bathroom, mudroom, back yard, driveway, basement.
I've also identified some handy Project Empty resources. FreeGeek will recycle my old computer crap for a small fee. The Vietnam Veterans of America will pick up usable goods any time, for free, right off my front porch (also? tax deduction). I can take paint and other toxic leftovers to the Metro Hazardous Waste Disposal Center where they will be properly handled, free of charge. The Rebuilding Center (seriously, one of the coolest places in town) will take usable house parts and lumber.
- decide on the criteria by which I will allow myself to keep something
- get some trash bags and a few boxes
- photograph the 66 zones for before-and-after purposes
- clear a zone or two for warm-ups