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Top 10 Tips for Decluttering Success

Clear clutter to make space for a new season!


It's that time of year when we get the urge to clear clutter from our counters and brush the couch crumbs from our winter binge watching...


But it's so easy to look around and think, "There's TOO MUCH STUFF! I don't know where to start!"


Then sit back down for another round of scrolling and shows....


HERE ARE MY TOP 10 DECLUTTER TIPS to get (and keep) you going!


 

Before we begin, remember this: decluttering comes before organizing.


Why use precious time, energy, space (and money) organizing things we don't want-need-use-love?


When we declutter:

  • We find what we DO want, need, use and love

  • We clear out what we DON'T want, need, use and love

  • We make space to organize!


So don't go buy new containers yet! You might find some as you declutter...


Clear first, then organize.




1 - LOOK AT YOUR CALENDAR + BLOCK TIME

Sometimes I just get in the mood to declutter and just jump in...


But most often I get in the mood to declutter when I've looked ahead and when I have chunks of time to focus on it.


Look ahead at your day, week and month, and look at the flow of your days, and decide when you'll slip in some decluttering...


Maybe some of my decluttering times will work for you:


  • Clear the kitchen counter after dinner?

  • Pick up clothes on the bedroom floor before bed?

  • Load or empty the dishwasher as coffee brews?

  • Laundry day on Sunday afternoon?

  • A whole kitchen quick declutter sweep on Saturday morning after coffee?


 

2 - JUST BEGIN!

It's amazing how often we think ourselves out of beginning. Our brains to freak us out with thoughts like:


"It's going to take a long time."

"It's going to be hard."

"I don't know how."

"I have other, more Important Things to do."


But I challenge you to JUST BEGIN.


Telling myself JUST BEGIN over and over helped me declutter and organize my whole home, office, creative space, business - and create a life I truly love.


The closet above only took about 30 minutes with the tips below! The family had been avoiding it for a very long time.


I've done this MANY times in my own home...


Read on, then BEGIN.


"You don't have to feel confident to do sh*t, you can still get the result for it."

~ Alex Hermozi 


 

3 - START SUPER SMALL


Choose a small, doable, contained space or ONE small category to get easy wins.


This tells your brain - and the little kid doing their best inside us all - We CAN do this! This doesn't have to be hard! Look, we're doing it! Good job!


Our brains might say, "But there's soooo much more to do! I hardly made a dent!"


Every. single. small. step you take adds up to giant leaps if you keep going. Every child learned to walk with small steps, and now look at you go!


Choose ONE SMALL SPACE OR CATEGORY to begin with.


Some ideas for spaces:

  • cozy corner (where you watch tv / sit to relax)

  • one kitchen counter

  • all the trash and/or recycling in a room

  • all the dirty dishes in a room

  • the kitchen sink

  • one kitchen cupboard

  • dining room table

  • a shelf in a closet

  • desktop

  • bathroom counter

  • around the bathtub

  • dresser drawer

  • night stand

  • one section of floor

  • top of the washer/dryer

Some ideas for categories:

  • what drives you crazy on a daily basis?

  • glassware

  • mugs

  • bowls

  • towels (you can break towels into hand towels, etc)

  • utensils

  • makeup

  • tooth care

  • sheets (pillow cases are a separate category)

  • medication/vitamins


 

4 - GET IN THE MOOD - get excited!

Elevate your mood before beginning and decision making will be SO much easier!


Boxers, dancers and soccer players (and Betty White) woudn't sit around being Eeyore, telling themselves, "This is going to be hard, I don't know how to do this, there's too much to do..."


Listen to a happy song, do a little dance, take a brisk walk - get excited!


This is your LIFE we're freshening up here, let's get pumped!


 

5 - GET FOCUSED


Let yourself sink into your decluttering project and get in the flow. I can't stress enough how important this is - it takes many minutes for our brains to come back to focus once we get off task.


Look ahead and see when you can spend time decluttering, then honor that. Honor your Self and your Future Self.


The more time you schedule for decluttering and stick with it, the more change you'll see, the more clutter you'll clear, and the better you'll feel!


Tell people around you (and your social media brain) "I'm NOT available right now! I'm doing IMPORTANT things! I'm taking my LIFE BACK FROM CLUTTER!"


Turn your phone off if at all possible, or set in another room/turn off notifications.


Give your Self the gift of focused time - you, your Future Self, and everyone who cares about you deserves this!


 

6 - SET UP FOR SUCCESS


Whenever possible, I set open-topped containers right next to me when decluttering so I can toss things in and get in a flow (rather than opening a trash bag each time).


(Don't let not having them be an excuse not to begin! These aren't necessary if you don't have them, I just find them helpful.)


I use:

  • open-topped trash bin

  • open-topped recycling bin

  • box(es) for donations

  • take elsewhere container (see below)

  • trash bags ready to empty trash / recycling into when bins are full


The TAKE ELSEWHERE CONTAINER is:

  • for anything that doesn't belong in the space you're working in

  • use a box, basket, laundry basket...or just a pile if you're on a roll

  • meant to keep from leaving the room!

  • to take things around and put away AFTER the project you're working on


 

7 - MAKE QUICK DECISIONS


The more we practice making decisions, the easier it gets. And the more decisions we make, the more spaces we clear, and the more inspired and lighter we feel!


Practice making these quick decisions in your ONE SMALL SPACE or category;

  • Keep

  • Trash

  • Recycle

  • Donate

  • Take elsewhere

  • ***Maybe


***Maybe: if you get stuck on something, set it aside right away in a clear pile and move on. When you're done with the rest of that category or space, go back through it - your decision making muscle will be stronger! If this pile gets big, reconnect to why you're doing this (the BIG why, like "I WANT TO TAKE MY LIFE BACK," etc), get your energy up again, then begin again.



NEW RULE?

Cas from Clutterbug has a rule I use sometimes: if you find something you didn't know you owned and haven't missed it, it gets donated without another thought! Tough sometimes, but VERY effective for clearing clutter.


 


8 - STAY PUT!

Don't leave the area you're working in until you're DONE to stay focused.


This is part of why it's so important to choose a small, doable task.


You know how it goes...


We're clearing a counter in the kitchen...


Then we go to put something away in the bathroom...


Then we notice the bathroom counter is messy...


Then we find something that goes in the bedroom...


...and the next thing we know we're sitting and scrolling on our phones or wondering what we were doing.


Oh well, I guess it's snack time!


(I see you - I've been there!)


STAY PUT and only leave AFTER you've made a decision about every. single. thing in the area or category you're working on.


Put everything that need to go elsewhere together in a "take elsewhere" container.


It can take a LOT of talking to our brain, but I know we can do it!


 

9 - FINISH THE JOB


Give your Future Self the gift of completing the one small space or category!


Finishing the job means:

  • ***Make a home for everything you're keeping

  • Empty the trash and recycling

  • Take the "take elsewhere" items to where they belong (if they don't have a home, put them with like items, or at least out of the area you organized).

  • Put the donations in your car AND decide when/where you'll take them (or call an organization who will pick them up - contact me for a list)


When making homes for things, I have two rules, in this order:


#1 Make it easy to put away

#2 Make it easy to find


Aldous Huxley said, "Reality doesn't always come up the ideal..." - we may want a space to look pretty so we want to put the thing over THERE, when in reality the place we'll ACTUALLY put it after we use it is right HERE.


Be honest with your Self. Think about where you'll actually put things away. Let yourself play, try differing things and places until you really do put it away every time.


And if you can't find a place for it, re-evaluate and ask: do I REALLY want/need/love this?


 

10 - CELEBRATE!


When a child does a good deed, if we said, "There's so much more to do! You hardly did anything!" they probably wouldn't want to do that thing anymore, right?


But so many of us do that to ourselves in our heads. I urge you now to STOP IT.


I know from experience - stopping the inner critic is harder said than done. It can be really mean and tough! And it's been with us a loooong time, doing it's best to keep us safe.


We all have a version of it, and we all have MUCH bigger lives than that voice would allow if we let it keep us 'safe' all the time.


It takes practice, and I HIGHLY recommend the book Playing Big by Tara Mohr and good coaching to help with that inner critic.


But for our purposes, the first step is to tune in to what your mind tells you when you do anything regarding decluttering.


When you hear things that are mean, unsupportive and deterring (like most of us do!), imagine a little kid inside you and think of what you would say to them - then say it to your Self. (Because we're really just little kids running around in adult suits).


CELEBRATE EVERY. SINGLE. STEP! Itty bitty ones and big ones, slow ones and running ones. Celebrating trains our brains to LIKE decluttering!


Seriously, enjoying decluttering isn't just for kooks like me. It can actually become a joyful, fulfilling, regular habit and hobby if the critic learns we're making life BETTER.


It just needs proof, so that takes us back to #1: BEGIN!


 

You've got this! And you're not alone! SO MANY PEOPLE around the world struggle with clutter - we're all figuring this out together and YOU CAN FIND YOUR WAY THROUGH!


Know in your soul that I'm here for you, and don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions, you feel stuck, or you want someone to celebrate with!


There's no need to struggle with clutter anymore...


Text me at 360-265-2477



AND MAKE SURE TO JOIN MY E-NEWSLETTER!


For inspiration, organization, support and ideas to get you motivated (and feeling better!)...




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