So I had to decide where to start my decluttering work today. At one time I would have been tempted to start with the worst, most junk-laden part of the house. Currently that's the spare room, which as you can see is mostly a place to stack boxes and stuff that doesn't really have a proper home. However, one really useful recommendation from Joshua Becker's book Simplify was to start with the easiest places and build up to the difficult ones; that way the quick wins help to build momentum. Having given this some thought, I decided that a whole room might be a bit too much to start with, so I decided to go with the more straightforward option of catalogues and magazines.
Catalogues wouldn't be so bad if they were just the ones I had asked for (two up to last year, and I recently cancelled one of those). It's the others, the ones where you buy one thing from the website and this automatically signs you up for booklets every month or two and endless 'special offers'. As well as recycling all the mailouts I stack up to flick through later (because, you know, there might just be something I want in there), I also now have a list of companies to write to to be removed from their mailing lists (paper at least). A neat side effect of this is that it should make it easier to keep to the second part of becoming (a bit) minimalist, to buy less stuff in the first place.
As for magazines, it turned out that I had a stack so elderly that the average doctor's surgery would have been embarrassed to have them in the waiting room. The reason I use to justify keeping these is always that there is an interesting article in there that I might want to read again. Looking at a copy of New Scientist from 2006, I can now state with some confidence that the chances of me doing that are pretty low... I have compromised with myself by tearing out a few articles that caught my eye as I was checking through (I know, I know - a problem for another day), but the vast bulk has now gone into the recycling box. I only have two active subscriptions at the moment - one has gone on the list to switch to a digital-only version, but the other doesn't have that option - I could pay more and have access to the e-version as well as the paper copy, which seems to defeat the point. I'll just have to resolve to be stricter with myself about getting rid when I have finished (any suggestions of how to train myself gratefully received).
Buoyed by today's success, I'm considering moving straight to clothes - but I'll sleep on it and see if I can still stomach it tomorrow...