Resolve to Declutter

declutter_life_2Spring is the perfect time to declutter. The effects are so immediately apparent, they’ll give you a sense of accomplishment — a perfect way to go about tackling more challenging goals.

How to start?
Find one area that bothers you the most. Is it piles of paper on your dining room table? Or a closet that is a total mess? Attacking the most cluttered area will be motivating and make you feel awesome.

Start small
If the kitchen is a total wreck, start with one section at a time, counters first. You will gain some momentum and want to continue till the room is clutter-free.

Stay motivated
Resolving to declutter is the same as resolving to take up a habit; it must be done consistently and over time. As is the case with most new habits, it will suck for awhile, but after the first month you will have a new home and a new attitude about clutter. Don’t get obsessive about the whole process (although you might!). It’s a daily activity (15 minutes or so) that will make your life better.

One area at a time
It’s easy to start one area and get distracted by another. Don’t let that happen! You will have a bunch of half-assed work around you and get frustrated.  Stick to one area until it is completed.

Limit your time spent
Don’t start decluttering until you have a time limit.  Instead of “attacking the kitchen”, give yourself 30 minutes to clear out one junk drawer. Tomorrow try a cabinet.  If you haven’t finished in a half hour, keep going, or return to the job another day.

Make it a routine
Set a regular schedule based on your lifestyle and work schedule. 10 minutes a day is great for some, while 2 hours once a week or one day out of every month works better for others.  Know thyself.  Once you overhaul your space, it only takes a few minutes each day to maintain.

Make piles
I wrote about this in a separate decluttering post, but here is the gist:  Make a few piles for your stuff. One pile is Keep, one is Give Away, one is Garbage/Recycling, and one is Sell. You can expand this to more piles, like “move to a different room”, “store in garage”; whatever you are comfortable with. Make the piles while making quick decisions about each item; organize what you plan on keeping and then get rid of the rest as quickly as possible.

Hopefully by this point you have whittled down your possessions big time. Everything has to have a home. Store an object closest to where you use it, but also consider how often it’s used, giving priority to the most frequently used objects in an area.

Take breaks often, and stay chill
Getting overwhelmed?  Take a break.  Don’t force yourself to declutter all at once.  If you want to take a break, do so.  If you are really fed up, ask a friend to help, or hire a professional organizer. In the meantime, move on to a less emotional job, perhaps one junk drawer. Don’t forget to celebrate every time you declutter even the smallest area!

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