The Mattive Method Month
Dear Rich Lifer,
Do me a favor and stop what you’re doing. If you’re at home, or in your office, take a moment to pause and really look at the space around you. How much clutter do you see?
Is your desk covered in piles upon piles of papers that you’ll “get to later”? Maybe your closet is overflowing with clothes, or you avoid opening certain cabinets in fear of a tupperware avalanche.
Sometimes, we tend to follow the false notion that happiness and success are directly measured by how much we have. But in reality, living in clutter is rough on your mental health. A New York Times article noted that living in a cluttered space may increase stress levels significantly. Decluttering your space will allow you to start decluttering your mind and helping you to relax.
Decluttering with Marie Kondo
Yesterday, I briefly mentioned Marie Kondo. If you aren’t familiar with the KonMari Method, or the recent craze of “sparking joy”. The whole point of the KonMari, created by Japanese tidying-expert, Marie Kondo, is to declutter your home with items that do not “spark joy” in your life.
Whether you buy into that kind of tidying-method or not, it might be a good idea to consider minimizing.
After all, we can’t take our belongings with us, right? So today, I want to challenge you to commit to something new. Something that will only take a moment of your day…for thirty days. Let’s call it The Mattive Method Month.
For the next 30-days, I invite you to reevaluate what items are necessary, useful, and enjoyable in your life, and what items are simply taking up space.
Each day, you should aim to declutter, eliminate, donate, give away or sell one item, or space.
Let’s get started with…
Day 1: A Beginner’s Game – Clean out the quintessential junk drawer.
Day 2: Sort The Socks – Get rid of any without a partner, any with holes, and any that you never wear. You can do the same with underwear while you’re at it
Day 3: Sort Through Your Shoes – Donate any shoes that you don’t wear, and throw out any that are worn out or beyond their days.
Day 4: A KonMari Special – Take all of the clothes out of your closet. Hold each item of clothing. If it sparks joy in your heart, keep it. If it doesn’t spark joy, donate it.
Day 5: Gain Control of The Linen Closet – Rid your linen closet of any threadbare or worn-out towels, or sheets with holes, stains, or stretched out elastic. Donate them to a local animal shelter for bonus points!
Day 6: Update Your Music Collection – Let’s face it, most cars don’t even have CD ports anymore. The days of records, cassettes, CDs, and even MP3 devices are behind us. Now, we have access to all the music in the world right in our smartphones. Apps like Pandora, Spotify, and Youtube allow you to listen to all of your favorites with a single click. I recommend donating your CDs, cassettes, or records that are simply collecting dust. You could even look into selling some of your albums that are in better condition to make a profit out of it like I talked about yesterday.
Day 7: Donate The Old College Textbooks – You’re not going back. You don’t need them.
Day 8: Donate or Give Away Old Children’s Books – If there are no children as residents or frequent visitors to your home, there’s no need for a collection of books you’ll never read again. Donate them to a local school or library. If you’re feeling extreme about minimizing, donate any books from the collection that have no sentimental value as well. Books can be read on tablets now, and since they are electronic, you can increase the size of the font and the brightness for added visibility and ease of reading.
Day 9: Rid Your Entertainment Shelves of Repeats – Come on now, there is no reason for you to be storing four copies of Shanghai Noon on VHS. In fact, unless you have a working VHS player actively hooked up to your TV, donate or sell your entire collection. Of course, if you must, you can save a couple of the really sentimental ones, but the goal is to get rid of all the clutter from your home, so if you haven’t watched it in years, sell what you can and donate the rest.
Day 10: Update Your Correspondences – Whether you still keep a paper address book or you’ve upgraded to using smartphone contacts, take some time to update changed addresses or phone numbers, delete contacts you don’t need or use anymore, and fill in any missing information.
Day 11: Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet – Discard any old prescriptions or expired items. Throw away any loose q-tips or floss picks that might be there, and wipe the whole thing down.
Day 12: Simplify Your Tupperware – It’s time to open that dreaded cabinet that I mentioned earlier. Recycle any containers with mismatched lids, containers that are stained, or melted from the dishwasher or microwave, and takeout containers. Once you’ve gotten rid of all your plastic containers that don’t make the cut, and you find that you are dangerously short on containers, try purchasing tupperware sets that allow you to maximize space both in your cabinet and fridge.
Day 13: Organize Your Hobby – Whether it be woodworking or knitting, hobbies can cause considerable clutter. Do away with any tools or accessories that may be broken, nonfunctional, or simply unused. Make sure all of your supplies for your hobby are organized and stored in the same space.
Day 14: Eliminate The LandLine – If you’re already paying for a cell phone, what’s the point? A cell phone can do all the things a landline can, and it will cut an additional monthly expense.
Day 15: Take a Closer Look At Your Cleaning Supplies – If you don’t already keep all of your cleaning supplies in one location, the first step is to consolidate their locations. If you keep all your cleaning supplies in the same place, you won’t have to worry about where the right chemical is to clean up a mess.
Next, get rid of any supply bottles that are “just about empty but I could really stretch and try to get one more clean out of it”. Clean out any spray nozzles that are clogged, or wash off any bottles that are sticky or grimy.
Day 16: Give Something to Someone in Need – Whether you pass off an old sweater to a homeless person, or your grown child’s old baby clothes to a struggling family, it will certainly feel good to know your old belongings are making a difference for others.
Day 17: Stop Buying Unnecessary Things – This isn’t so much a cleaning/organizing step, but it’s something that I talk about frequently. Don’t partake in retail therapy. If it doesn’t improve your quality or ease of life, or isn’t a necessity, why buy it? Take some time, walk around your house, and toss any of those “spur of the moment” purchases, that are collecting dust.
Day 18: Recycle Those Piles of Old Newspapers and Magazines – There is something to be said about remembering important pieces of history, but if you want to keep the newspaper from the day that JFK was assassinated or the moon landing, frame them and put them on your wall, don’t just keep them in a box in your basement.
Day 19: Clean Out Under The Bed – Discard any items that don’t belong there (dust bunnies and tumbleweeds included). Regarding any items that do belong there, try to organize them in a way that takes up the least amount of space.
Day 20: Throw Away The Stale and Expired – Clear out any moldy, stale, expired, or just plain inedible food from your refrigerator and pantry. Condense duplicate boxes of items into one container to free up room and reduce clutter.
Day 21: Toss The Take-Out Menus – Don’t bother storing mass quantities of your favorite take-out menus anymore. Just about any menu can be found and ordered from online. Try using an app like DoorDash or GrubHub to place your next take-out order.
Day 22: Scavenger Hunt For Paper – If you’re anything like most Americans, you likely have random stacks of various papers hidden around your house. Your mission? Search, Rescue, Destroy.
Locate all of those random piles that you hidden in drawers, boxes, and even stacks that are laying out in the open. Sort through these papers to find anything that may be important.
Then eliminate anything you do not need: advertisements, fliers, pamphlets, written reminders…things that you just don’t need anymore.
Day 23: Part With Your Old Trophies and Awards – That box of dusty old trophies in the attic or basement aren’t doing you any favors. Consider donating or throwing them out to clear up some more space.
Day 24: Ban Plastic Grocery Bags From Your Home – The average home has a drawer, cabinet, or closet of their house dedicated to storing the copious amounts of plastic shopping bags that we end up with.
We feel guilty just throwing them out, or feel like we are going to need them for something, so we stuff them away and they accumulate until you’re overtaken. Fortunately, most grocery stores now have “plastic bag dropoff” boxes, in which you can return your plastic shopping bags to the store.
Once they’re out of the way, invest in a few sturdy reusable shopping bags. You can find these at most grocery stores, or online on sites such as Amazon.com. You can even purchase reusable produce bags for your fruits and vegetables.
Day 25: Stop Watching Paint Dry – Toss old cans of paint that are drying up and going unused. If you’re keeping them around for touch ups in case the walls get scratched, just write down the color on a sheet of paper and store it in a safe place. Places like Home Depot or Lowe’s can mix custom colors to match any swatch.
Day 26: Donate Old Prescription Eyeglasses – In an article a few weeks ago, I talked about how as a kid, I remembered seeing a cardboard bin full of free (used) prescription eyeglasses. People could donate their old pairs and/or take what they needed.
I thought it was a great service: Letting folks help each other save money and prevent items from hitting the landfill… especially since glasses cost so much. If you can, find a place that still does that, or donate them to a second hand goods store!
Day 27: Sort Through Old Photos – Consider condensing photos into albums showcasing your favorite or most memorable photos. Photos that are blurry, duplicate, or not meaningful can be thrown away. The rest of the photos that you aren’t ready to part with can be stored in decorative boxes.
Day 28: Sort Through Games – Puzzles that are missing pieces aren’t quite so enjoyable to put assemble. Sort through your collection of puzzles and boardgames and eliminate those that are missing parts or pieces, or those that are damaged. Consider donating or selling the games that you or your loved ones never play.
Day 29: Do a Once-Over of Your Home – Take a walk around your house and examine the insides of your cabinets, drawers, closets, and your countertops. Make sure you’ve eliminated unnecessary items that are simply taking up space.
Day 30: Celebrate! – By now, thirty days have come and gone. If you’ve kept up with the challenge, congratulations! You have worked hard to eliminate clutter from your life. Good work!
If you choose to give this challenge a try, and I truly hope you do, you will likely find your stress levels are reduced, your home is feeling cozier and calmer, and you are left feeling encouraged, successful, and more fulfilled than ever.
To a richer life,