How to avoid making more clutter every time we walk in the door.
There's a seemingly small but very powerful thought shift that can change the future of clutter in our homes and other spaces.
How many times do we walk into a room with something in our hand, our minds going in a thousand directions, then set that something down in a random place?
Mail, keys, pens, receipts, bags, books, wrappers, notes... "I'll just put this here for now" is often a background thought when we aren't paying attention and have things in our hands. I used to hear it a lot in my own head, and I've been hearing it for 10 years from my in-home organizing clients.
If we set something down that you don't know what to do with, we're just saving the decision for later. And if we don't have that 'later' scheduled...
To put something in a random place 'just for now' is to torture our Future Self with clutter, anxiety, stress and frustration.
Those aren't the most pleasant gifts :) They won't serve you, your life, your loved ones, your health, your dreams, your future...
I invite you to shift from thinking
Just for now, to
JUST DO IT NOW
Tweak the thought to whatever works for you...I'll take care of this right now, or I'm doing this now...find what works for your brain.
This seems like just a tiny transition of words, right?
But this is what my coach calls "voting with your thinking." Choosing to pay attention and prevent clutter is voting for YOU, for your more organized future, for what you really want to be spending time on.
It IS a tiny shift, but it's also enormous.
How to Shift to "Just do it now"
This is what I do every time I walk in the door or around the house with my hands full of random things...
Be aware of my thoughts
Watch what what my hands are doing
Make a conscious decision about where I put every single thing in my hands.
For things I find in my hands often, I make home that are SO EASY TO PUT THINGS AWAY it's dumb for me not to.
To clarify #4: I often find receipts, my purse, shopping bags, books and mail in my hands when I walk in the door from my car. So I've made a home for these that are near the door where I come into the house - the homes are SO EASY to put things in!
The homes I've created - after many trials and errors - are almost as easy to put things in the right spot as to put them on the counter and I've trained myself to put them away instead of torturing my Future Self.
If you struggle with clutter, even if these sound weird or 'hard', try just being aware of your thoughts first.
Then start watching what your hands do as you walk around creating clutter bombs everywhere.
Then see if you can find a home for things you walk around with rather than creating more (or adding to) clutter.
Then, for things that don't have an easy home, create one. Use Pinterest or ask me for ideas, and you can start practicing listening to the wise voice we all have inside - what do they recommend? A hook here for keys? A labeled envelope there for business receipts? A recycle bin here for unwanted mail?
Every bit of conscious action we take is a win!
Every thought that supports the life we want is a win!
Even with my thought shift, guess what? I still have clutter!
While I'd love to tell you I never have clutter and I'm always neat and tidy...I'm just not. And I'm totally ok with that! (Which has also taken a lot of thought work).
I trained with Marie Kondo but I am definitely not her. I'm a messy human with a wildly creative mind (hence the name TidyWild), and...I don't like to clean.
I'm a busy, messy human who doesn't always feel like making my house look like a magazine, and that's 100% ok.
BUT...I have SO MUCH LESS CLUTTER in my life and I know what to do when new things come into my home!
What to do with not-so-random items?
After watching myself for years, I've built habits little by little, bit by bit, that help me deal with the not-so-random things. I started by creating a consistent home for these:
Receipts I don't need (straight to the trash)
Reusable shopping bags
Projects I plan to work on very soon
This means they ALWAYS go in their homes, (almost) no exceptions. No more "Just for Now" thoughts are allowed with those items.
Yes, it's like a preschool teacher sometimes (which I've been)... "NOPE! That doesn't go there! No thank you, don't put that wallet down until it goes in your purse!" "Ooh no, that pile of mail doesn't go on the kitchen counter all willy nilly, pick out the recycling RIGHT NOW and put it in the recycling bin, then put your and the hubby's mail ONLY where it belongs!"
It becomes habit, so the teacher only comes out when I'm really tired or feeling overwhelmed in my life.
Some major changes I made to make life easier for my busy self:
Junk mail NEVER lands on my counters - it goes straight into recycling or trash bins, which I've moved to super easy access spots near where I bring in the mail.
My purse ALWAYS goes on a hook I put right inside the door that leads to where I park my car.
Keys ALWAYS go in a specific pocket in my purse.
My wallet goes in a specific pocket in my purse.
Reusable shopping bags ALWAYS go by the door nearest my car, all of them inside the biggest one.
Projects I'm doing very soon go in one of 2 spots - no more piles of projects everywhere!
Just doing it now means I have
SO MUCH MORE TIME & ENERGY
in my life to do the things I want to do!
I now have time and energy to cook healthy whole food meals and share with loved ones, garden (yes, I garden in the winter), plan trips, raise money for causes/people I believe in, paint, walk, call a friend, spend time with my Mum, think of ways to support you in your organizing endeavors...
And you know what? You can find this freedom, too. If you've already found freedom from clutter, high five! If you're still working on it, high five! If you feel like you're buried under mountains of clutter, high five! We're all right where we're supposed to be, and we're all in this together. If you aren't already paying attention to your mind when you walk in the door or from room to room with things in your hands, this is a message to your mind... START PAYING ATTENTION TO 'JUST FOR NOW' THOUGHTS. When you hear that thought, watch what you do next and see if it adds to or prevents clutter.
Then come back to these steps and start implementing what works for you.
And let me know how it goes!
Are you ready to find more happiness and freedom in your home, office, art space, life and mind?
Please remember that I'm here for you! Reach out if you have questions and/or you feel stuck.
There's no need to struggle with clutter anymore - you're not alone and I can help you feel better right away.
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