by Susan McCarthy
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Everyday practice: Notice how you best get things done. If the method works for you, do it. You don't have to force yourself to do things the way you think they should be done.
Maybe you’ve been ignoring your clutter thinking that someday you’ll have the time to sort through all your stuff but, right now, you have too much to do. But, all that stuff is starting to become a problem. You feel uptight and overwhelmed in your own home. You waste time looking for things that you know you have but can’t find. When you go through your stuff, you not only find what you’re looking for, but you discover that you have three!
Even finding something to wear that fits and that you want to put on seems to drain your energy. Over coffee the other day, (at a coffee shop, certainly not at your house) a friend was telling you about the experiences of emptying her parents’ home and how she wishes her parents had been more selective in the things they kept. You imagine your family trying to make sense of all the things you have in your house.
Problem: You Hold Off Making Decisions
You determine to get organized and you purchase a book on organizing. In the author’s opening pages, they encourage you to consider why you want to declutter. You don’t even pause to think. Of course, you want to declutter so that you’ll be more organized and feel calmer when you’re at home.
You’re excited with the idea of having an organized home. You block off a weekend to declutter, announcing your plans to several people so you stay accountable. You start your Weekend of Decluttering by emptying your closet and dressers. Quickly, you bag some tee shirts with fraying binding around the neck. What about the tee shirts you’ve bought while on vacation? Hmm, you could wear them to the gym or while gardening.
You fold them and pack them into a drawer. You try on a few blouses that you completely forgot that you owned. Several of them ‘fit’ if you ignore the way the fabric gaps between the buttons. When you’re done with all this decluttering, you’ll start on a diet Monday; so, you may as well keep these blouses for when you lose a few pounds. You slide these tops onto hangers and put them in your closet.
You find more clothes that still have price tags attached. Well, you should wear this stuff; it’s brand new. You return the items to the closet. You fill three bags with the clothing you’re giving up. You remember that you have jackets and coats hanging in the hall closet, but, well, you never know what the weather is going to be, so chances are you’ll wear them some day or another.
Problem: You Glance at Stuff without Really Sorting through It
It is late afternoon of day one of decluttering. You thought you’d have more done by this time. You go into the kitchen and open each cabinet door. You scan the shelves, pull out a few things here and there and box them for donation. You gather papers (that seem to be everywhere) and pile them around your desk – you’ll do them tomorrow.
You try to clear your kitchen counters, but there really isn’t enough space to put all this stuff into cabinets. It’s getting late and you push yourself to keep moving around your house, tucking some things into boxes that you’ll sort through some other day. You start to bring a stack of magazines to the recycling bin, but you know you haven’t read all of them. You decide that you should sit down and scan the pages and pull out any articles that look interesting; this will be a quiet activity to work on before bed.
You wake the next morning feeling dehydrated and achy. You have a text message from a friend asking if you want to get together for a late breakfast that morning. A little break would be nice. You’ll be home in a couple of hours. You go to your closet to get dressed. You kept more clothing than you thought you did. You pull out a top, still bearing its tag and think that you could wear it, but, no, it’s a bit dressy for breakfast at the local diner so you return it to your closet.
When you return home after breakfast, you walk from room to room with a growing sense of dissatisfaction. You got rid of stuff, but it hasn’t made much of a difference. You see the piles of paper around your desk and you realize that there’s a day’s worth of work right here (if you’re lucky you’ll get it done today).
Maybe if you pick up some storage bins on your way home from work tomorrow, you can organize your stuff, so it will look neater and you’ll know where it is….
Problem: You Lose Track of Why You're Decluttering
Is this your experience with decluttering? The word I hear almost every time someone talks about the stuff in their home is “overwhelming.” Clutter makes you feel overwhelmed. However, if before you started decluttering you took some time to imagine your life after you’ve decluttered and to identify some of the things you’d do with your days if you were already decluttered, you’d know your motivation.
In my eBook Clear Your Clutter and Create Space for Your Life, I take you through the process of assessing what's working in your home and what isn't. With the downloadable worksheets, you can create a plan of action so you know where to start, what you want from each space in your home, and how to judge when you're done.
Sign up for emails from A Less Cluttered Life and learn how simple, everyday practices can eliminate the scattered feeling of trying to do too much. Join the free program, A Year of Decluttering, and get access to the 7-day e-course, Distraction-free Decluttering.
Susan, chief (and only) organized squirrel at A Less Cluttered Life, pursues learning, practicing, and sharing information about the everyday habits that can lead to living a better life.