Are you drowning in stuff and don’t know where to start decluttering? There are so many decluttering projects to do that you can spend your whole life trying to decide where to start. If you’re like most people, your home is probably cluttered with things you don’t need, use, or even like. Every day, we add to the clutter without even realizing it. It’s time to declutter!
The process of decluttering can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. To get started, all you need is a little motivation and some helpful tips.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you start decluttering your home:
- Start with small spaces: It’s easier to declutter a small space than a large one. You’ll be able to see the results of your efforts more quickly, which will motivate you to keep going.
- Focus on one area at a time: Trying to declutter your entire house all at once is overwhelming and likely to lead to burnout. Choose one area to focus on at a time, such as your bedroom, living room, or kitchen.
- Work gradually: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your home won’t be decluttered overnight either. Pace yourself and take periodic breaks when you need it.
- Set some guidelines: Decide what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to get rid of. For example, you might want to get rid of anything that you haven’t used in the past year.
- Create a donation pile: As you declutter, set aside items that you no longer need but are still in good condition. These can be donated to charity or given to someone who can use them.
- Throw away the rest: Once you’ve sorted through your belongings, it’s time to get rid of the stuff you don’t want or need. Throw it away, recycle it, or sell it online or at a garage sale.
Decluttering can be overwhelming, especially if it’s the first time you’re attempting it. You dream of having a clean and tidy house, but there’s just so much stuff lying around between your reality and your dream.
So where should you start decluttering? In this post, I’ll walk you through the quick steps to beat overwhelm and get started on your decluttering journey.
What should my first step be in decluttering?
Know this: effectively dealing with clutter is an ongoing process.
The first step in decluttering is to define what it is not. This is not something you can do over the course of a couple of days. There is no way to complete it once and then never again have to deal with it.
The process of cleaning out clutter is an adventure. Clearing out clutter is an ongoing process. Like quick diets, quick decluttering plans usually result in a cluttered home. Why?
Being clean and organized is a way of life, not just a one-time thing.
Keeping a tidy home requires forming and sticking to positive routines. That’s the good news. A tidy home is a reflection of a person’s ability to learn how to maintain order. This is the bad news. It takes time to achieve it.
Make tiny, short-term gains your first priority.
Don’t begin with the garage if it’s stacked to the ceiling with boxes. Remember all those photo albums and other mementos you’ve been meaning to sort through (and perhaps turn into a scrapbook)? So, that’s also not the best introduction.
You should look around your home for the smallest and least time-consuming decluttering task you can find. Is there a single spot that only needs an hour or two of work to spruce up?
It might be the spare bedroom or a bathroom cabinet. It could be your car or some toys that you know for a fact your children aren’t playing with and can be quickly discarded or donated. Pick a place where you can make the biggest impact with the least amount of effort.
Beginning with small successes can serve as a catalyst for pursuing subsequent, larger successes. The best way to ensure that you finish your decluttering projects is to start with the smallest, easiest ones.
Instead of striving for perfection, concentrate on making progress.
When I was worried about everything that needed to be done around the house the other night, my husband reminded me of one of my favorite quotes: “Focus on progress, not perfection.” Even though he was right, it was frustrating when he used it on me when I was already in a bad mood.
Instead of celebrating our growth from one year to the next, we are too quick to focus on our shortcomings and criticize ourselves for falling short of the unreachable perfection level that isn’t real.
At different points along the way, you may need to remind yourself that the goal of your decluttering efforts should be progressing, not perfection. Since we can never achieve perfection, that should not be our aim. For now, we’ll just try to keep our sights set on taking small steps toward a more orderly, clutter-free, and practical home.
Getting stuck in the rut of old routines
To avoid getting stuck, it’s important to not waste more time deciding what to work on than it would take to actually complete the task. Do your job like a real leader would and just make a quick call on the best next step in decluttering your world.
Consider making a short list of three to five small ways to get rid of clutter. Then, you can choose the one that sounds the most interesting to you. It’s possible that the broken outdoor furniture cluttering your deck won’t inspire you to get rid of it as much as the old magazines collecting dust on your nightstand.
What will your quick victory over clutter be?
The best way to find a quick win, if you don’t already have one in mind, is to run around your house for a minute or two and pick something small and easy to complete. The “Ooh, shiny” of decluttering is the “Oh yeah, I was going to get around to that” moment, so try not to get sidetracked by it.
Select a manageable goal and set a date by which you will achieve it. You may choose to get started right away if the task at hand is something as simple as getting rid of the trash. But if you are in the middle of a busy week, you might decide to set it for the following Tuesday, when things slow down a bit. Planning ahead is fine, but tasks should be completed as soon as they become due.
Don’t think of decluttering as a destination, but rather as a process. Selecting and completing one manageable task at a time will yield tangible results.
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