It seems that a day doesn't go by without hearing about the death and destruction left behind by some sort of natural disaster that took place somewhere across the globe.
I wrote this as I sat mesmerized while watching and listening to the heavy winds and rain, brought on by super storm "Sandy", which sweep through our small state of Rhode Island.
Although we were fortunate in the fact that we only had to experience the outskirts of this powerful storm, I couldn't help but wonder how my life would have instantly changed if my home had been located in Sandy's direct path of destruction. I took a moment to reflect on how blessed our state was to once again dodge the wrath of a major storm.
While Sandy will soon become nothing but a distant memory, my heart goes out to the thousands of people who will be left homeless and stranded to that that their homes had been claimed by the sea, swept up by Sandy's fury.
There will also be thousands who will be allowed to return to their flooded homes only to find all of their personal belongings destroyed by water damage.
In an instant, a natural disaster can tear our homes from its foundation along with all of our personal possessions that we tend to hold so dear. It's during these unthinkable times that we begin to realize the true difference between clutter and valuables.
What would you do if I knocked on your door to inform you that a mandatory evacuation was issued in your area and that you needed to pack your family, pets and valuables into your car to head towards safety.
If luck is on your side, you may be given an hour or two to evacuate allowing you time to choose and pack only the items that you hold dear. As you pulled out of your driveway, knowing in your heart that you would never see your home again, it sure would make everything left behind be considered nothing but clutter.
It breaks my heart when I see homeowners return home after a major catastrophe only to find a few minuscule items left amongst the piles of destruction which held no value or worth to this individual. In essence, they let Mother Nature to make the decision what to take and what to leave behind.
Many live in denial and believe that they will never have to experience such a traumatic event. With earthquakes, forest fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes happening at an increasingly alarming rate, you have to take a moment to think "What If?".
What items would you take with you? Would you easily be able to locate all pertinent records, i.e. birth certificates, social security cards, insurance papers in time? Or would spend this precious allotted time seeking these important records only to escape with just the clothes on your back.
Don't let Mother Nature catch you off guard; it's time to de-clutter your home before it's too late in an exercise I call the "Evacuation Route To Clutter-Free Living".
While this may seem to be an extreme exercise, it is estimated that we only use 20% of our stuff 80% of the time. This exercise can help one differentiate between what is valuable and what is "stuff" that we CAN live without.
Start by scheduling de-cluttering projects into small tangible baby steps. This week, I challenge you to pretend you had one hour to evacuate you home and de-clutter one full cabinet, a corner of a room or all the drawers in one bureau.
What items, if any, would you take with you. There are three magical clutter-busting questions you need to answer as you pick up each item in your chosen area.
- Do you love this item?
- Have you used in the last 12 months?
- Do you still need this item?
If you answer NO to any of these questions, it's time to let these items go. Beginning to eliminating the easy clutter from your home can teach you to differentiate between clutter and treasure.
Completing these mini evacuation de-cluttering sessions will allow you to see immediate results, boost your self-confidence and encourage you to move forward on your quest to obtain a clutter free home.
Share below what one item you would have to take with you if you were forced to evacuate. I would love to hear your thoughts.
© 2013 Debbie Tremblay
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Debbie Tremblay is the "Organizing Genie" a Professional Organizational Expert & Clutter consultant, writer, and speaker. Her passion in life is to use her lifetime of acquired organizing skill sets to help those who have had enough of clutter and disorganization and are ready to transform their homes and lives into an organized and clutter free oasis. You can learn more about her services at www.OrganizingGenie.com