Hi there and welcome to Part 3 of my Decluttering Series. If you’re new to the blog or if you want a refresher, you might want to catch up on these two previous blog posts before reading on:
Managing a home and family can be very rewarding but it can also be hard, exhausting and time consuming. Throw work into the equation and the demands on our time can be enormous … I call it the curse of modern day living! So for me it’s about finding balance, deciding what my goals are, what I want to achieve and working out the things that are important to me.
High on that list is having more time to do the “fun” stuff, spending time with my family and friends and saving money to help me do all those things. So getting organised and living a simpler life with less worry and stress is something I’ve always aimed for because there’s a certain freedom, emotionally and physically, that comes with that.
A lot of people have similar goals but are often so overwhelmed and time poor that they give up because it all seems too hard. I frequently hear the question, “I want to get organised, declutter, get rid of stuff and get my life in order but where will I find the time?” and for a long time I used to say the same thing.
So many years ago, I decided I was willing to take the necessary steps to achieve those goals and I also decided I had to stop making excuses and procrastinating. Here’s what I did:
- I changed my mindset and replaced my negative thoughts, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard” to “I can do this”.
- I wrote a list of decluttering and organising goals that I wanted to achieve. I find that by writing a list and then ticking the items off, I’m more likely to commit to what I’m doing.
- I wrote a second list of how I would benefit by following through on my projects. Things like less stress, ability to find things, a simpler life, more time, save money and feeling more relaxed were all things that made it on to my list and kept me moving forward.
- I made or “found” some time by scheduling it in my diary, just like any other appointment or activity. I started small with a 15-minute time slot which I eventually increased to 30 minutes and then to one hour, once a week. I found a time where I wouldn’t be interrupted … after school drop off worked when the kids weren’t on school holidays and when they were on school holidays, I chose one morning a week and got up earlier. Only having a short time frame to work with kept me focused and on track. If you can find more than 30 minutes once a week, that’s great but, if not, that’s a great place to start and the first step towards creating a routine.
- I harnessed my determination. My decluttering time was “not negotiable” and I refused to procrastinate or put it off altogether.
- I stayed motivated by choosing small projects that could easily be achieved in a short space of time … start with the sock drawer, sort one file from the filing cabinet, sort and clear one shelf from the bookcase, sort and throw out one pile of junk mail. It doesn’t really matter but choose a job that you can realistically and successfully completed in the time you’ve allowed so you can pat yourself on the back, feel that sense of achievement and say to yourself “yay, I did it”.
- I gave myself deadlines. I used my diary to, not only allocate time to declutter but, to also plan what I would declutter and when I would finish. You don’t need to do this but, for me, it was essential. By writing everything down it helped me to plan and commit to the process because that’s all getting organised is: a process and a set of skills that can be learned.
- I rewarded myself for my achievements, only small things but rewards all the same. Things like, when I’ve decluttered and organised the bathroom, I’m going to treat the family to an afternoon at the movies or when I’ve sorted, organised and decluttered the laundry, I’m going to treat myself to a manicure. I usually planned for my rewards to be activities or experiences rather than buying “things” because the last thing I wanted to do was bring more stuff into my home that could potentially become more clutter.
Once you get started, you might even find it becomes fun as you start to realize what you can achieve. So, to borrow the famous Nike slogan: JUST DO IT! What’s holding you back?
So tell me, where in your timetable and busy life could you find 30 minutes each week to devote to decluttering?