“There are plenty of major decluttering projects in the office, bedrooms, closets, cabinets, etc, but hey, those take longer than 5 minutes, right? So I vacuumed. That’s all.”
– Dana White
Do you feel overwhelmed by the major decluttering projects you’ve planned?
I’ve been there. We had way too much stuff. And now we don’t.
We had a house, a 1.5 car garage and a shed, all filled with stuff. But it’s done. By the end, we’d gotten rid of about half of what we owned.
So what’s the trick to tackling major decluttering projects?
For us, the most important thing was working gradually. It’s totally overwhelming to think of decluttering your house (or even just the garage).
If you break the project down into discrete tasks, it’s not so scary. Focus on one small thing at a time.
Unless you have a deadline (like an upcoming move), don’t rush. Declutter slowly, but steadily.
If it’s your garage that’s a disaster, don’t plan to “clean out the garage.” Instead, plan to clean out “the tools in the garage” or “the sports gear in the garage.” Choose a new project each day or week until you’re done.
Alternatively, choose a set time, say 15 minutes, and grab everything you can that can go in the trash, recycle bin or donation box. This is a great way to start an area that you know has lots of stuff you’re ready to get rid of.
“In the scope of a happy life, a messy desk or an overstuffed coat closet is a trivial thing, yet I find – and I hear from other people that they agree – that getting rid of clutter gives a disproportionate boost to happiness.”
– Gretchen Rubin
To help motivate yourself to continue, I recommend starting any major decluttering project with the biggest items. Think how fast you’ll see an improvement in your garage if you sell the canoe.
Sorting out your screwdrivers is important too, but is unlikely to make much of an impact when you walk in the garage.
Also, focus on stopping the influx. If you don’t, it’s going to take a lot longer to see results. If, for example, you have huge piles of paper to sort through, first reduce the number of documents coming in.
Cut down on junk mail. Enroll in digital bank and credit card statements. Quickly review mail when it arrives instead of letting it pile up, so you can toss junk mail right away.
Finally, reward yourself when you’re done with any significant segment of your project. Perhaps you earn one cookie any time you finish a shelf or a beer any time you finish a whole wall of shelves.
Still not convinced? Just get up now and do one thing. Often, the hardest part of any project is that first step.