I've heard Oprah say over and over again, "Your home should rise up to meet you." I have one--and only one--particular friend whose apartment gives me that feeling, and I'm inspired to do the same for myself.
A bit about me. I'm a packrat. Not a hoarder (really), but someone who loves to keep memories of this or that. Since moving out of my parents' home after high school, I moved every year or two through college, work, grad school, etc., giving me ample opportunity every 12-24 months to sort through and toss unneeded items. Now I've lived in the same place since August 2005, and I love-love-love my apartment, but I don't love that I've never gone through everything that has ended up here.
So here I am with my plan: six weeks of slow but serious decluttering, with the intention of freeing me of the burden of gratuitous stuff--and developing a home that will rise up to meet me.
I began tonight with a quick sort of the front closet and some serious work in the kitchen. It's amazing how much you can get done in a short period of time when you set a timer--in my case, the exact period of time my dinner needed in the oven. I grabbed an empty box that I had around and set it down in the hallway. This is the stuff box. Everything placed here will be usable but not part of my life anymore. Friends and family are welcome to come and take whatever they'd like from the stuff box, and anything left will be donated, recycled, or otherwise eliminated during these six weeks.
I tackled the kitchen, shredding mail, setting aside magazines (one Shabbat to read through them, and then they go away, too), putting things away (corkscrew? can opener?), and wiping down the counter. It looks great! I know there's still a lot to tackle inside the cabinets, but on the outside, it looks significantly better than an hour earlier. This is a good beginning.
THE STUFF BOX:
light bulbs (not CFLs)
refrigerator magnets (wide variety: travel, Mary Engelbreit, magnetic poetry, random)
ginormous candle I did not know I owned--found in the back of the dairy cabinet
Let me know if you're local and interested in any of these items.
Coming soon--the junk drawer, the kitchen cabinets, and the "people-are-coming-over-let-me-dump-everything-over-here-I-think-I'll-go-through-it-in-two-days-but-secretly-probably-never-ever-again" corner of the apartment.