One of the best ways to get started with a decluttering project is to figure out how you live. Whatever system you choose to put in place has to work with your habits and tendencies.
You might not be surprised to learn that many of my clients are big readers and enjoy being surrounded by books. They also collect magazines, newspapers and newsletters. All of this reading material has to go somewhere, both before being read and afterward.
Creating a reading area is one way to limit the clutter that can be caused by a ravenous reader. Choose a place to keep reading material that you’re planning to get to. I suggest having a bin or basket that you can put your reading matter in. When you see all of it in one place, you might be motivated to stop collecting and start reading.
Your books and periodicals need to be close to where you read so you’ll actually follow through. I tend to read in only two places: At the dining table and in bed. Occasionally, I will read outside or on the couch, but they are not my main places. I keep books and magazines on my bedside table and the newspaper stays on the dining-room table until it gets recycled. Having a home for your reading materials will keep you from shuffling them around your house and creating clutter.
I encourage people to make “rules” for themselves when they want to decrease the stuff in their lives. In this case, set a rule for how long you will keep things before you read them. My rule for magazines, for example, is that the previous month’s issue goes out when the current one comes in. I don’t want to live with stacks of unread magazines, so I read them and pass them on. Your rule could be X number of months or X number of inches high (determined by the size of your pile).
Another way to create limits is to stop bringing in things that you intend to read. Put yourself on a book diet and commit to reading everything you already have before you buy anything new. Check all the bookshelves and baskets before you visit the bookstore or library. You might find that there are some things you just won’t ever read. That’s okay; you can hand them off to someone else who will enjoy them. I’ve finally realized that there will never be enough time to read every single book I want to read. Enjoy the books you have and keep them where you’ll read them.
Where do you read?