Decluttering: How To Start

My last post on decluttering dealt with the psychological hang-ups we sometimes have when confronted with this task.  Now I will delve into where in the world do I start?

Some say you should begin in the high traffic or hot spots of your home and begin dealing with the clutter there.  I say, start wherever you like…Just start!

Honestly, beginning with small areas or sections of your home will yield the greatest sense of accomplishment, which will, in turn, serve for further motivation.

I’d definitely say make a list of the areas you’d like to tackle and numbering them in the order you’d like to tackle them can be very helpful.  When we write things down, we are holding ourselves accountable for actually performing the task.  It also frees up mental space for more creative things.

List in hand, schedule perhaps a fifteen minute segment to tackle your clutter.  Put your favorite music on and have at it!

Remember:  Begun is half done!

The best of intentions are just that … intentions.  We must be intentional about our lives and this couldn’t apply more appropriately than with dealing with clutter in our homes.  Intentions must mature into application.

I have found that once I make my mind up about something, I am going to accomplish it!  It’s never too late to set new goals and there’s no time like the present to deal with our stuff!

Some people find that if the task is too large, setting a timer to attack the clutter breaks it down into bite size pieces.  This can be very helpful, especially if you’ve been procrastinating a task because you’re simply overwhelmed.

How do you eat an elephant?   …  One bite at a time.

If the task is completely overwhelming, enlisting the help of a family member or friend can be a good idea.  Organizing the garage comes to mind when I think of a task that requires more than one person.

What is the desired result of taming the clutter?  Keeping a mental picture of a clean, organized, well cared for home is very useful during the decluttering process.  We are much more likely to stick with the program if we have an end goal in mind.  It’s kind of like weight loss in that regard.  And, you might say it is a weight that you are working to lose.  Because once the heaviness of the clutter, both physically and mentally, are eliminated, you will feel lighter indeed.

So, what’s holding you back?  What is keeping you from getting started?

Are you so frustrated that you don’t know where to begin?  Maybe you can’t use your dining room table for family dinners because it’s completely covered with stuff.  Maybe the kid’s toys are forever underfoot.  Maybe you can hardly walk in some areas of your house.  Maybe you’ve given up on things ever changing.  Don’t do that, my friend.  There is always hope.  You can change.  One step at a time.  Now, where’s that junk drawer?  Or pencil drawer?  Start there.  You can do it.  What about your sock drawer?  Are there more singles than mates living in there?  Throw the singles away.  The mate has long gone, my friend.  Or use it to dust the bookshelves with.  The point is to start small and work your way up.

Dave Ramsey talks about the “Snowball effect” when paying down credit card debt.  Same principle.  Start small and watch the momentum build.

Resolve within yourself that you will regain control of your space and enjoy living there.  What good is a home if you can’t find peace there?  First, we must create that peace by controlling our clutter rather than allowing it to control us.  No, we are in charge here.  We are the adults.  Now, it’s time to behave like adults and master our space.

Where will you begin today?  Even if you only have five minutes to organize something.  Do it.  Five minutes a day is better than nothing!

I think the challenge is that most people continually purchase things or are given things and add them to the home without getting rid of things.  You don’t need to be a mathematician to know that if you keep adding and never subtract, the number is going to continually increase!  We must ebb the tide!  Stop buying!  Even free stuff is still stuff that gets added to the pile!  Stop.

So, back to the question.  Where to begin?  How do I begin?

First, make up your mind that you are going to change how you relate to your things.

You are going to control your stuff.

Then, make an action plan.  A realistic one.

Implement the plan.  Divide larger projects into bite size pieces and attack.

Discipline and endurance are the keys to ensuring any plan is successful.  Decluttering is no exception.

Keep going.  Don’t stop.

And when your load is finally lighter, you’ll look back and have such a sense of accomplishment.

Simply start.

 

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