Henceforth, the new feature, "Answers Department," will respond to the pressing concerns of you, our gentle readers. It is one more free service which we provide. (And it may be worth exactly what you have paid for it.)
Lydia, of Clutterquake, in response to Bear's blog item "Focused," asks: "Oh, Rob-bear, do tell the secrets to this editing of one's life."
Thank you for your question, Lydia.
One has to be fairly intentional about this process. Not to the point of being brutal, but to the point of being thoughtful.
It's all a matter of knowing yourself. What motivates you? What brings joy, and animation, and pleasure to your life? Which relationships help you to grow; which relationships burden or shrivel you?
When we are younger, we tend to have more energy to life. As we age, we have less energy, but we become more focused. It is important to remember that.
So pick the items in your life which are most important. I suggest somewhere between half a dozen and a dozen. For me, it's things like my relationships with my family and friends, followed by health care ethics, animal ethics, poverty, homelessness, health, politics, and Celtic Christian spirituality. Choosing those key topics or areas is the crucial part.
Then see how much space you really have for these items. Or how much time you have for keeping up with people.
I'll start with the paper-related, or material items.
After choosing the specific topics or themes, anything that doesn't fit in one of those topics become trash or recyclable. Paper is recycled (re-used first, don't waste one side of a page). Other physical items can be recycled through the Salvation Army, or a local Thrift or Goodwill stores.
Once you've got all that done, file the materials in the pre-determined space. If it doesn't fit, repeat this step until the material does fit the pre-allocated space.
Then, in another six months, go back to the material, noting what's there and what you've added. What is still important in these areas — meaning what is worth keeping? Re-edit the files. (No, it won't take nearly as long as the first time.)
This applies not only to paper and other materials. It applies to work, hobbies, relationships, and the like. It may be easiest to start the process with the reflection and action related to paper and other materials. But different course of action, following the same principles, may work better for other people.
Hope this helps. If it does, you might want to share it with your readers.
Blessings and Bear hugs.