What areas of Clutter overwhelm you? It’s important to identify where you get stuck and understand why. This clutter action plan will help you establish order and bring clutter under control. If you’re not clear on this, check out my post on the muddy water metaphor to help you identify with the feelings behind your clutter…then hop back over here or jump in now!
Start with the least cluttered category. Whatever category on your list above feels easiest – small stuff or big stuff (clear a big space)-start easy! By starting with easier items we gain compelling momentum! You will move on to bigger challenges once you’ve made progress in easier areas.
Decide before you begin. Start with a category of items (my preference), ex. all books, all kids clothes, all papers, all kitchen stuff or work by location (one closet at a time etc). There are advantages to each. When working by category you need to gather everything in one place and when working by location you may have to go back to locate things that belong in other categories. Decide before you begin.
- Schedule it. Block out distractions and give yourself a deadline (a day a week etc). Set aside the time you think this will take. Estimate it and give yourself a bit of extra but set a limit. If appropriate, schedule a donation pick up, this will motivate you to get it done by the time they come for the pick up!
- Gather supplies. Such as bags, boxes, sorters, a label maker/labels, rubber bands, paperclips, a shredder etc and make sure these items are handy if not right by your side).
- Create a work zone. This will serve for the duration of your clutter clearing project. Ideally you can leave things (supplies, unsorted stuff, donation stuff) in this location till you are done! Even better if you can close the door on them between sessions if you can’t complete everything at once (a day, a weekend etc).
- Make it fun! Put on some great music, light a candle, some incense…whatever will put you in a happy place.
- Sort it. Start with trash, toss items if they are broken, don’t bring joy or are otherwise not functional. Make a maybe pile if you aren’t sure. Start with what’s easiest, if you think it’s useful but don’t need it, donate it to your charity of choice! It helps to know your things will be loved and used by others-share your abundance!
- Categorize it. (seasonal, where you use it, how often etc). This is where you begin to see your organizing systems emerge. What do you need based on what you have?
- Contain it. If you can’t do this all at once the create an area to work through un-categorized items until you’ve finished every last item. It can help to work through one category at a time. Don’t stop till you’ve returned things to their homes (old or new), tossed the trash and donations are out the door.
- Reward yourself and Repeat. For each category or location take the steps above to complete the action plan and reward yourself with something small (flowers, a meal out etc).
When you have cleared all of your clutter, you can be of greater service to those around you.
-Michael B. Kitson