Has your home been taken over by piles of stuff? Do you walk in a room only to turn around and shut the door feeling overwhelmed? Are you spending too much time and money looking or buying things because you cannot find them? Lastly, do you find yourself procrastinating because you are unsure of what steps to take first? This is a familiar scene in many modern homes, and you are not alone. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Keep reading to find tips on how to jump in and start when you don’t know where to start. Sound like a plan? Let’s go!
Where do I Start?
Deciding where to start is the first task at hand. If every room in your house needs help you may just sit there paralyzed with indecision.
Here are some suggestions:
- START WITH WHAT BUGS YOU THE MOST: Maybe you are tired of eating at the kitchen counter because you can’t find the surface of the kitchen table.
- START SMALL…for success! Many little successes will motivate you to do more. Don’t take on the whole kitchen at once. It can be overwhelming. There is a saying in the organizing world…“chunk it out.” Don’t expect to do the whole room in one sitting! Start small. Instead of the entire bedroom, start with the closet. Maybe smaller…shoes only. Then move on to the clothes, dresser, etc.
- DON’T BE A TIGGER! Start with one room and finish before you move on. Bouncing around might make you feel as if nothing is getting accomplished. Finish one room and enjoy the success!
How do I Let go of My Stuff?
This is not always easy, because it involves letting go of what you view as important or valuable.
First thing to do is make your piles. There are three main piles: KEEP, TRASH, and DONATE. You might also add REPAIR (for those things that need work) and RETURN (to the store or the owner). Your best bet is to find a reason to let something go.
Ask yourself these questions:
- WOULD SOMEONE ELSE BENEFIT FROM IT MORE? The local animal shelter might make better use of your many blankets than keeping them tucked in a cabinet.
- DO YOU USE/WEAR IT? If so, how long has it been? Set an amount of time that seems fair to you, and if you have not used it in “6 months” then let it go.
- ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO GIVE UP VALUABLE SPACE TO STORE IT?
- IF YOU DID NOT HAVE IT, WOULD YOU BUY IT AGAIN?
- ARE YOU CREATING REASONS TO KEEP THINGS?
- WHAT IS THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN? Think about the item. If it is impossible to get again, maybe keep it. If it is easily replaceable, let it go.
- HOW IS KEEPING THIS ITEM GOING TO FURTHER YOUR GOAL TO BE MORE ORGANIZED?
- If you are questioning something, and are really unsure about whether to discard it, use this rule of thumb. If you have the space, keep it. If you do not, let it go. Still having a hard time? Have a holding spot for things. Create a basket and put those items in the “holding spot”. If you have not used it in “3 months” then you probably don’t need it. This sometimes alleviates the fear of getting rid of something too soon.
- Try not to waste time going down memory lane. Touch it once, decide, and move on.
- When going through clothes, turn your hangers backwards. Once you wear something, hang it normally. After a period of time you will know which clothing items you never wear! Another tip…if you are not sure of something, wear it that week. If you liked wearing it, keep it. If not, let it go.
- Don’t keep the “but I paid a lot of money for it” or “but my sister gave it to me” stuff. Your home should bring you happiness and be filled with what you use and love.
- Give yourself permission to let go. If you barely use the Wok in your kitchen, and you don’t have room for it, let it go; and treat yourself to dinner at your favorite Asian restaurant!
- Work with another person who can offer an objective opinion. This person will be less emotionally attached and be able to offer some questions that will benefit in the decision making process.
- Remember the old saying, “quality not quantity.” It is better to have fewer things that you use, than many things that take up valuable space.
TIDBITS OF HELP:
- Work when you are at your best! Once you have your motivation, this task will take time and energy. Are you a morning person? Or a night owl? Schedule accordingly.
- “A HOME for everything and everything in its HOME.” Find a logical place to store EVERYTHING. This way you will know where to return it. “HOMELESS” items get lost and cause clutter!
- Schedule your declutter time. Put it on the calendar and treat it like an appointment. Don’t just assume you will do it when you have time. Entrust in your goal of a clutter free house!
- Take a photo of your rooms in order to see the picture more objectively.
- Walk around your house “in the eyes of a visitor.” Are you embarrassed to invite people over because there is nowhere to sit? Start here!
- Make it a family affair! Your success will be more likely if EVERYONE participates and has a vested interest.
- Tell someone about your decluttering goal and have them hold you accountable.
LET’S GET CREATIVE. Make it fun and challenge yourself!
- Set a timer for 15 minutes and don’t stop until the timer goes off
- Give away one item a day. That is 365 things in one year!
- Declutter until you have one trash bag full
- Write down areas to declutter on pieces of paper. Throw them in a bag. Pick one and go!
- Make a challenge using your favorite number. 7-7-7. In a day/week… throw away 7 things, donate 7 things, and return 7 things to their “home.”
- Reward yourself with each task. New outfit for a closet decluttered!
AND MY FAVORITE…
- Make a “declutter playlist” of your favorite, motivating music. Make a few lists with a varying lengths for shorter and longer projects. Play the music and when it is done, so are you!
Remember, this probably happened over a LONG period of time, so it won’t be UNDONE in one day! Aim for success by creating new habits and routines to stay organized. Lastly…if after reading this YOU ARE STILL overwhelmed, it’s ok. Not everyone has it in them. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be embarrassed. BUT DON’T DO NOTHING. Ask for help from a friend, family member, or hire a professional organizer. It is doubtful you will be sorry, BECAUSE YOU WILL HAVE MUCH MORE TIME AND ENERGY TO DO THE THINGS YOU LOVE!