Start small. Looking at your entire house, or even one entire room can be overwhelming. So start small. Take one counter or one drawer.
Give yourself a time limit. No one has all day to work on decluttering. But minutes add up! If you have 10, 20 or 30 minutes, pick a project you think will take that amount of time. One drawer, one cupboard or one shelf that you know can be started and completed in your set amount of time.
Watch the clock. Stick to the amount of time you have. Set a timer if you need to. But keep your eye on the time as you go. Don’t remanence while you sort. If you only have 10 minutes, then work fast and stay in that time frame! It’s disheartening to stop in the middle of a task and come back to an unfinished task later.
Don’t think too hard. Be brutal with the clutter. It’s causing stress, let’s get rid of it! If it’s something you need to seriously think about before getting rid of it, set it aside to think about after your task is complete.
Have boxes or bags ready for stuff:
- Trash: toss the garbage!
- Donate: whatever you don’t use, but a thrift store can sell (no broken items)
- Put Away: if items belong in another area, put them in this box. DO NOT get distracted by taking them to another room while you are decluttering.
Take immediate action:
- Trash: take it out immediately when you complete your decluttering task.
- Donate: take it to your car immediately. Don’t allow clutter to pile up in your house or your garage. Drop it off at the donation site next time you run errands.
- Put Away: if it belong in another area of the house, do that now that your decluttering task is complete.
Set achievable goals. Make goals for yourself, no matter how small This can be areas of the house or numbers on your chart. Many have joined me in getting rid of 2014 items this year. Make it your goal to get rid of 168 items a month, 39 items a week, or 6 items a day (all of which add up and get you to a 2014 goal!). And if 2014 seems way over the top, go for one item a day like Elizabeth at Ready. Set. Simplify. in her 365 Declutter Challenge.
Tackle one room at a time. Don’t work randomly all over the house. If you want results, stick with one room until it is completely decluttered. If you’re working hard at decluttering, it won’t take long before you start seeing all the unnecessary items in other areas of the house. But don’t give in! Working disjointedly becomes discouraging. Keep your focus on one room at a time.When that room is completed, you can move on to another area.
Tackle one room a month. If you are ready to make some serious changes in your life, keep that inertia going and focus on one room each month. Sit down and write out 12 areas of your home, one for each month. Keep the list visible so you are always thinking about your goals. Set aside time each day to tackle one drawer, shelf, counter or cabinet in that room. I want you to succeed! Here are 12 premade one-room-per-month charts so you don’t have to think about it, you can just jump in and start!
Have accountability. Get someone to do with it you. Keep tabs on how each other’s decluttering projects are going. You can join a facebook group and spur each other on. Click here to join our 2014 in 2014 Decluttering Group and share your successes with others, as well as be an encouragement.
Avoid recreational shopping. If you shop to cope or as a hobby, establish new habits. Painting, walking, working out, writing poetry, volunteering at a local charity. Try something new.
Reward yourself. The reward may be a satisfied feeling as they take out the trash and drop off their donation items. Or it could be time to garden, bake, read a book or browse the internet. Rewards make new habits continue.