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Decluttering All the "Projects"

What to do when projects are taking over your space...

Are you an upcycler? A fixer? A creative with a gazillion projects in the works?

Do you save all kinds of things with the thoughts, "I could turn this into..." or "If I fix this little thing, THEN I can use this (or sell it, or make a home for it..."

If so, I get it! I love refreshing old furniture, fixing things to make them usable, turning broken down things into beautiful things.

And I've helped hundreds of people declutter their homes and have seen thousands of projects waiting to happen.

This is the process I use for myself and my decluttering clients with project clutter...

  1. GATHER all the projects together in one place (yes, from the WHOLE HOUSE)

  2. MAKE A DATE to go through them honestly (Maybe make a date with an honest friend or organizer)

  3. ASK clarifying questions to decide which ones to keep and let go of

  4. LISTEN to the answers and act on them right away

  5. MAKE A CLEAR HOME for projects we plan to do

Here's what I mean by these steps...

First, I often remind myself that "projects" can be both a joy and a burden.

They're brain candy, fun ideas, things I think will feel SO GOOD when it's done.

But all these projects can get in the way, take up precious space and be a literal and figurative weight.

Whether they're written ideas or my Grandma's big cedar chest (which may right this moment be sitting unused in my kitchen) - they're a distraction and become clutter magnets that attract other things I tell myself I'll do later.

When things are cleared or given a home, the effects can be drastic, both mentally and physically.

I finally learned to keep all the "fix-it" and "upcycling" projects together, and all the paper-oriented projects together.

(Except for my Grandma's chest - someone PLEASE just come fix it for me!)

I highly recommend making a home specifically for projects so they're all in one place.

And when they outgrow that space, as they always do, I make a date with my Wise Future Self to go through them and get real.

Our Wise Future Selves know us better than anyone else and is ALWAYS watching us - we just need to tune in and ask for their honest answer.

Then we need to trust that answer...which can be trickier (and is worth getting coaching on!)

When I know I'm going to have a hard time trusting my inner voice and ALL the projects seem like keepers, but I know I won't ever actually do them all...

I make a date with my best friend who knows me even better than I know myself. I tell her I'll make her dinner in exchange for helping me make decisions...

(For my clients, I'm the honest friend who knows their life and home goals).

Then we gather ALL the projects in one place.

There may be multiple project piles. Ones that I have and I see often:

  • broken or fixer-upper furniture and other items

  • ideas written on paper

  • sewing

  • knitting

  • painting and other artistic/craft ideas

  • quilting

  • decluttering (I've seen a LOT of decluttering books & supplies not being used!)

Once all the projects are gathered in one place, we get realistic and declutter.

I use this process to declutter projects:

  1. Point to or hold up each item in the pile

  2. Ask clear, pointed questions

  3. Listen for the TRUE answer (not my idealistic, wishful thinking answer)

  4. Honor and act upon those answers (because I know they're right)

Some of the questions I ask myself and my clients when we do this process together:

  • "How long has this been sitting here?"

  • "WHEN will I do this? Will you HONESTLY ever come back to it with all the other things I have to do in my life?"

  • "Is this important enough to earn this space? Does it earn it's real estate?"

  • "Will I remember this in a month or a year if I let it go?"

  • "If was moving, would I take this with me?"

  • "If something happened to me tomorrow, am I ok leaving this for someone else to deal with?"

The more I practice asking these questions and getting still to hear the answers, then NOT DOUBTING my Self, the easier this whole decluttering and organizing journey gets!

And the more I practice just letting go of projects and ideas I won't actually do, the more time and energy I have to focus on the things I ACTUALLY do and want to do!

Part of acting upon the true answers is, of course, donating or throwing away items. That can be a sticking spot, right?

These are some of the thought barriers to letting go of projects that I hear in my own head and from my clients:

  • "But I can fix it so it won't have to go in the trash!"

  • "The world has too much trash - I can't throw this away because there is no away!"

  • "It's too big or heavy for me to get out!"

My friend, I don't believe our homes are trash bins. Nor are they a handy-woman's wet dream.

If our homes (and garages) are full of project clutter, things we'll get to "some day," things that nag at us every day...

They're acting like a light being left on in a car - they're draining our batteries!

What projects do you have laying around, calling to you? (or yelling at you!)

Do you feel like a battery being slowly drained? (Or maybe completely drained?!)

What are you going to do about it?

Do you want to look back in another 5 years and have even more weights lying around your home?

I encourage you to take the steps above, and, if you feel stuck, to reach out to me.

Making space for what makes us truly happy is my life's work, and no clutter you throw at me will surprise me after all my years of doing this!

(Unless it's a room full of body parts or something, in which case, please don't reach out to me...)

OK, I'm doing it now. I'm donating that cedar chest. I'm not going to fix it and it's been sitting in my kitchen for far too long.

Whew! Thanks for being there as I process this! I can hardly wait to get it out of my house now that I've made the decision! I'll be putting my hubby's muscles to use as soon as he gets home...



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