Yesterday I looked at my fancy-schmancy online calendar and realized it contained less free time than a maximum-security prisoner gets to wander around the yard stabbing people. I also noticed my growing inclination to stab people myself. TIME TO DECLUTTER!
It’s no coincidence that my computer screen is a blizzard of open documents, and that my bathroom drawers are collapsing under the weight of soaps and supplements. The way we do anything is the way we do everything. So to put my mind in cleanup mode, I’m turning to my friend Peter Walsh, declutterer extraordinaire, for inspiration.
I last saw Peter at Oprah Magazine’s 10th anniversary celebration. He is a true Australian gentleman-kind, authentic, hilarious, and willing to give you the straight-on truth. The day I filmed this clip, I’d prepped myself for multiple speeches and photo shoot by putting in my contact lenses—using a new lens solution that happens to be highly toxic to eyeballs.
WHY WOULD ANYONE MAKE SUCH STUFF?
Anyway, by the time I stopped screaming and rinsed my left eyeball, it was a bright-red horror right out of the TWILIGHT series, but without the glamour. I slathered the poor thing with eyedrops and went to the big event feeling self-conscious and distraught. I whined so much about my Vlad the Impaler Eye that Peter eventually forbade me to speak of it. His direct, funny, tough approach got me through that day.
So here are 3 tips Peter gives for cleaning your home (check out his site . I’ve modified Peter’s ideas about your home so that they apply to your schedule:
• Designate some time for decluttering. I’ll have to cancel something just to dedicate 30 minutes for figuring out what else I can cancel or delegate, but it’s worth it.
• Declutter one small, limited area at a time. In your home, this might mean a single drawer. I’m translating it to scheduling by limiting the time I spend writing this blog to 20 minutes (my tendency is to get perfectionistic and verbose, which takes forever).
• As you consider each object in your home—or in my case, appointment and activities listed in your calendar, ask these questions:
Do I love this activity?
Is an unloved appointment taking up time I could use to do
something more valuable or useful to me?
Is there any other way I could accomplish what I want?
In a year, will it matter whether or not I’ve done this thing?
Right now, I’m keeping all these questions in mind. I’m doing something I love (writing to y’all), but I’m also minimizing the time I spend doing it. Another way to accomplish what I want—and sort of have someone else do this—is to throw in the video above.
I hope you, too, encounter someone as brilliant and compassionate as Peter when things aren’t going well, and that these hints can help you have slightly less cluttered, slightly more manageable, wonderfully imperfect day.