Clutter Clearing: Think F.A.S.T.



This time of year as the holiday decorations get put away, lots of us vow to get a grip on all the extra stuff that seems to have accumulated over the year.  I remember reading an article written back in the mid 2000s by Peter Walsh that outlined a method to help do that.

It was called Think F.A.S.T.   Peter Walsh said that before you do anything else, you have to stop buying stuff.  Seeing as most of us are trying to save money after seeing the holiday blitz on our credit and debit cards, that should be easy.  But it's not.  What about all the great sales??  Nope - no big bargains, no retail therapy, no super sales.  Just stop buying stuff for awhile.  

Then get started:

F:     Fix a time.  Schedule a time where you won't be interrupted and stick to it.  Do not answer the phone, check your emails or stop to talk to someone who comes selling things at the door.  Not too long a time but long enough to see results.

A:     Anything not used in 12 months.   If you haven't used something in the last year, it's unlikely you will.  Ask yourself the following questions as you encounter each piece of clutter (put them up on a post-it note).

  • Do I use this?
  • How long has it been since I've used it?  (If you can't remember that's a clue!)
  • Will I use it again?
  • Is it worth the space it takes up in my house? (Is it worth dusting?!)
S:     Someone else's stuff.  It's bad enough your own stuff is cluttering up your home; it's even worse when it's someone else's stuff.  If it's something you borrowed, give it back.  If you've ended a relationship or a divorce, let your ex's belongings go.  If your kids have established their own households, it's time for them to pick their stuff up.  If they don't have room for it, do they want to pay to put it into storage?

T:    Trash.  The trash can is a friend.  Take pride in how well you can purge.  If you don't want to trash the stuff, put it in your next best friend -- the donation box.  Just keep it moving out and away from your space.  You'll be amazed at how good you feel and how terrific your home looks.

Now you can go shopping again.  But I'm guessing you won't necessarily want to -- because it often just leads to more Thinking FAST in the future.  And if you come across any articles by Peter Walsh, read them.  He knows what he's talking about.


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