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Clutter and the Rule of Ten

Every day I throw away ten things. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you look at your home, really look at it, you’re bringing in more than than ten items a day.

Some days I toss ten scraps from a handbag or ten bits from a junk drawer. Other days I’ll go through one of our closets and make a bag of ten items for a friend or a charity.

I decided on ten because it’s a workable number. Some days I spend a few moments clearing the house of junk, other days it’s an hour of organizing and finding the the ten items (maybe in a linen closet or a toybox). I like setting goals and I love being able to accomplish them.

I noticed when my kids were smaller that they’d stopped playing with their toys. They would look at the masses of stuff and become overwhelmed. As soon as I began removing some of the clutter from the playroom, the kids felt free to play.

For the past few years I’ve asked the kids to help find ten items. Every couple of weeks I’ll ask Jane or Alexander to give me ten items for charity. Sometimes I’m surprised what they give me, sometimes I’m upset that I’ve spent a lot of money on something that they don’t want or enjoy. Once in a while I believe they’re making a mistake and ask them to keep what they’d like to give away; each time that happens, I am wrong. When the kids are wanting new clothes or toys (that they don’t need) I’ll do a ten for one. If they give me ten items they’re ready to part with, I’ll buy them one new something. The kids are happy, and they tend to choose well this way.