Five things you can do to help your de-cluttering efforts
Join a support group.
No, I’m not kidding. And no, it’s not as stupid as it sounds. I’m part of an online Facebook group that focuses on ‘living more with less’ and encourages members to pare down and live more simply. It’s been very interesting to be part of the discussions and to share people’s achievements as they get rid of things they haven’t needed or wanted for years. If an online group isn’t for you, then you might want to subscribe to a blog which focuses on living with less. www.365lessthings.com is a good place to start. Alternatively, find a friend or a group of friends who will share your commitment to the task and make a plan of attack together.
Get some help.
A member of the online group I’m in recently posted a photograph of her cleaned out linen cupboard. Her sister had come over and the two of them had worked on it together. It’s no secret that hard jobs are usually easier when it’s not just you doing it! Doing it with someone else not only means that there are more hands for the task, but it also provides you with conversation and distraction while you’re working. Plus, it’s harder to pull out and quit when there’s another person in the room.
Focus on one small thing at a time.
It might be that pile of papers in the corner of the bedroom, or one cupboard in the kitchen. What’s important is that it feels achievable. You need to end your time with a sense of accomplishment rather than feeling despondent that you haven’t finished and have in fact created more clutter.
Set a realistic timeframe.
If you know that you only have enough energy and focus to do something for ten minutes, set your timer for eight minutes. You’ll end with a little bit of energy to spare which will inspire you to do more next time. Don’t start out by saying, “Today I will spend six hours dealing with the untouched paperwork in my office that’s been there for ten years.” Unless you are superhuman, you will probably fail, internalise your lack of success and thereby talk yourself into not doing anything about it for another ten years.
Do a little bit every day.
We all manage to take a shower and brush our teeth on a regular basis (well, most of us do anyway…) and the vast majority of us can squeeze another ten or 15 minute block of time into our day. If you can do one tiny sort/cull/clean per day, that’s 300 successes a year, allowing enough time for days off and ‘I can’t be bothered’ feelings.
If the whole idea is too much for you and you'd rather sit down with a good book, why not try one of these...