As I've said before: I'm not a huge Oprah Winfrey fan. But considering how long she's been in her business, and how many products she's put out over the years, it's a statistical inevitability that you can find some good stuff among all the new-age soccer mom crap. And certain decluttering articles from "O" magazine are among them.
Peter Walsh is a host on Oprah Radio (I didn't know there was such a thing, but somehow I'm not surprised). There are plenty of clutter-related articles from past Oprah magazines that quote him. He gives the following clips to one family in particular.
- Don't buy anything new for the next six months.
- Take your credit cards out of your wallet and keep them out of sight.
- Spend 10 minutes every day walking around your home with trash bags—fill one with rubbish and one with items for charity.
- Turn every hanger in the closet so it faces toward the back. When you wear something, turn the clothing hanger around. After six months, any clothes on hangers that have not been turned back around should be given to charity.
- Cancel all but two magazine subscriptions and keep no more than three back issues at a time.
I'd like to comment on these one at a time:
"Don't by anything new for the next six months." Obviously I'm sure the guy isn't including things like food and mortgages in this statement. Bust still, this is a little ridiculous. A lot of different things can happen in six months: birthdays, holidays, things breaking, and who knows what else. I say, before setting out for six months, try a week. Then try a month. Or identify out whatever it is you end up buying too much of in a short amount of time (books, DVDs, whatever) and put your restraining powers on just that.
"Take your credit cards out of your wallet and keep them out of sight." This is, again, pretty excessive. If it's something like a Macy's card that would otherwise give you an excuse to spree, then OK, I could understand that. But plastic is still handy. I use it for gas and lots of other purchases. Then again, I guess I could never relate to that whole "cut up your credit cards!" crowd. Probably because when it comes to my credit cards, I keep a pretty good lid on things and know now to go too wild with them.
"Spend 10 minutes every day walking around your home with trash bags—fill one with rubbish and one with items for charity." Now this is actually a good exercise! Though as usual, Don Aslett put it better. Still, I've done this before, and have come up with a good amount of trash. Maybe it's about time I do it again. I'd leave the charity until later though. Just filling a trash bag is challenging (and rewarding) enough itself. You'll fill it quicker if you don't factor in time to judge other items for charity or eBay.
"Turn every hanger in the closet so it faces toward the back. When you wear something, turn the clothing hanger around. After six months, any clothes on hangers that have not been turned back around should be given to charity." Good idea. Though living in a place with 4 seasons, I don't know if 6 months is a good figure. If I wear a swimsuit in June, I'm not going to throw it away in January. Still, if there's something I haven't worn in 5 years, chances are I might not wear it again.
"Cancel all but two magazine subscriptions and keep no more than three back issues at a time." This is something I've actually already done. I used to have a subscription to Bass Player magazine for many years. Eventually though, I faced the fact that I wasn't reading them fast enough, and that I still had a wealth of back issues I could look at for information, so eventually I let the subscription stop. But admittedly I still have my issues saved. Maybe I'll throw a bunch of those on eBay. We'll see. I also have had a subscription to Mad magazine going now since 1986. But that would be much harder to give up. Oh well, at least that's the only thing I've been saving. It's about time I sort and bag those, though.