Remember this mess...
It has now magically morphed into this...
In case you are wondering what I decided to leave on top of the bookcase, it is the highest award I earned in the U.S. Coast Guard - The Meritorious Service Medal, and some Challenge Coins for special service to some units and individuals.
On the other bookcase I chose to place a small Buddhist prayer bell that was a gift from my son. I felt this was a symbol of my desire to minimize and live a more Zen life.
While I know most of the books will probably go as I continue down the path of minimizing the "stuff" in my life, just coming into the office now feels liberating. I was somewhat stunned by the items I uncovered on the desk and on the bookshelf. I kept thinking, Seriously, you held onto this? For what?
Some of it was literally garbage, but other items were papers or things - a sewing kit, a camera memory card, undeveloped film - that I knew was good but I never made a decision about what to do with it. This miscellaneous "stuff" just got laid aside, forgotten, and became part of the overall clutter.
So what I have learned so far is this... don't just lay stuff down. It will be forgotten and it will become a magnet for more stuff.
To clean up an area like a desk, nightstand, or any flat surface follow these steps:
1. Think about what the surface is for and what you want it to look like in the end.,
2. get a garbage bin and a box to hold stuff.
3. Quickly remove EVERYTHING from the surface.
4. Clean the surface.
5. Put back only the items that contribute to the purpose of the surface as defined in Step 1.
6. The excess stuff needs to go someplace (garbage, donation box, or where it actually belongs).