Decluttering is not a fun sounding word. At least not for most people. For many it sounds like you are being put into detention, being forced to do something that you really don’t want to do. It conjures up feeling of fear and frustration. Perhaps even sadness. So I completely understand that the word is not met with more vigor.
For me it the most freeing word because I know the power it holds to quite literally change the way your entire space looks and feels. I grab that word and know that – where organization is concerned – it is the key to make progress, regardless of how big or small a project is.
Decluttering is always, and must be, part of the process.
I think people know this intellectually. But because of that fear and frustration the word elicits it can be a big reason why people don’t start the process of getting organized at all. I do understand that fear. It is fear of not knowing where to start, where to put things you don’t want, how to decide what has a purpose or stirs your heart. There is fear in starting and stopping, being in flux, and not making enough progress, which in turns makes you feel not enough.
But you are enough. In fact you are so much more than enough!
Decluttering, while not easy and sometimes frustrating, is do-able. Even when you’d rather be doing anything else.
Try these tips to declutter with ease and find more freedom in your space.
1. Think small
This is the first step in getting organized, regardless of what space you are organizing. You have to think small, break things down to more manageable parts. So instead of looking at your entire office, break it down to just the desk, or better yet, one desk drawer. Biting off small pieces means you can allot smaller chunks of time to the sometimes-tedious decluttering process. Scheduling smaller amounts of time makes the process more appealing. Period. Think small – both in terms of the scope of the work and the amount of time you allot to it daily.
2. Do the easy first
When things are cluttered, there tends to be a lot of confusion in the space. But there are always those things that need very little thought when it comes to whether they have a purpose for being there. They are the obvious things that jump out easily as things you don’t like, need or use. Address those first! It helps to immediately lighten the load and makes you feel almost instantly more gratified. You need those moments of gratification to give you a boost in motivation to keep going. When you get to the more difficult decision making you’ll call upon that motivation and recall the good feelings that came from making decisions and lightening the space. Do the easy first and you’ll be more prepared to continue when it comes to more difficult decision making.
3. Reward yourself
Don’t wait for everything to be “done” or for someone else to tell you that you “done good” to pat yourself on the back for your work. With every small area you tackle, and with any amount of time you devote to the task of decluttering you deserve to reward yourself. Do something for your self (get a massage, treat yourself to a movie, take a nap!). A little reward goes a long way in getting you rejuvenated to continue your work.
4. Be grateful
Often we get caught up in letting go of things we spent money on, or that someone special gave us. These things are sentimental and in being so they make us feel guilty at the thought of letting them go. When you aren’t using (or don’t like) something, you are allowing those items to take something from you. If you hang on to things out of guilt or “just because” you put a stop gap between you and freedom – from clutter, overwhelm, fatigue, lack of space. When the sentimental actually weighs heavy it is time to let it go. Be grateful for having had the opportunity to own the item, to perhaps have used it. Be grateful for the person who thought kindly enough to give it to you. And mostly, be grateful for being able to recognize that it is time to move on from it.
You might not want to do the work. You can likely come up with 103 other things you’d rather be doing. Just remember that the work of decluttering offers rewards that allow you to enjoy more thoroughly those 103 things, and then some.
Just take the small step and get started. You’ll be happy you did.