Put expiration dates on everything to keep clutter away

Clutter accumulates when we keep or store items that no longer support us. Instead, they take up space in our homes and psyches. Expiration dates help us recognize when we need to let go of outworn and outdated items.

Clutter expiration-dates involve three steps

  1. Set an expiration date and write that date directly on the item. Or write on removable tape or labels affixed to the item
  2. Decide now the fate of the item upon its expiration (recycle, sell, donate, gift or toss)
  3. Follow through without fail when the expiration date arrives

Start with mail, magazines and newspapers to get some practice. Put an expiration date on anything you plan to read later.

You may resist setting expiration dates at first but push through. WRITE due dates on the front of all envelopes, donation pleas, brochures and magazines you plan to read later. Put them in a Later tray or box to be checked periodically.

Nothing urgent or important goes in the Later box. I suggest adding urgent and important reminders to your Calendar and keeping those items in a different place.

Time saver: Don’t waste energy opening later items now. Just mark them with an expiration date and stash them in the Later box.

What you’re likely to discover

When you have time to check the Later box, chances are you’ll realize many items have expired and you have no intention of acting on most of the rest. If so, you’ve saved a lot of time and energy letting attractive nuisances expire by themselves. And you’ve also channeled your energy toward more important things that make life enjoyable.

You can extend an expiration date twice before the item is decluttered from your life

Give clutter a deadline

Everyone needs wiggle room once in awhile, so if you need more time to take action, you have permission to extend the deadline. But only twice

Once the second expiration date has passed, it’s time for action. If you haven’t read the magazine, made the donation or bought the thingie, let it go! There’s no point feeling guilty or frustrated (those are energy vampires). You can probably find the article, the donation plea, promotion or sale on the internet if you want to pursue it. Even if an item other than mail has expired, chances are you’ll never think of it again once it’s gone.

Bite the bullet and take action if you want Feng Shui expiration dates to work

Most of us aren’t used to giving ourselves deadlines to act on decisions. Few of us realize that later doesn’t happen until we define it. So follow-through can be tough the first few times expiration dates are breached.

However, if you honor your decision to toss, recycle, sell, donate or gift expired items, you’ll be rewarded. You’ll find yourself more and more quickly recognizing what’s important to you. The later box may become a thing of the past as you decide what’s important upfront. Clutter of all types begins to disappear as if by magic.

You’ll also be flowing energy into things that make you happy and productive. And happiness and success is the promise of good Feng Shui.

Julie Britt

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