None of us want to be decluttering our homes for weeks or months on end. This will result in a loss of momentum and disappointment at not completing the tasks. I like to write plans so that I can clarify what I want to achieve, what needs to be done and how to use my time productively. I like to be in it to win it.
Here are some simple steps to stronger planning:
Identify the categories that are problematic and prioritise them
Putting these down in words and an order helps you to think through what you need done most urgently. Japanese decluttering guru, Mari Kondo, encourages a specific order for decluttering a home, starting with clothes. She knows her clutter, but as a mom with numerous children, pets, your most problematic areas may actually be the landfill of toys throughout the house, or paper and art items throughout your home office, bedrooms and kitchen.
Mondo’s KonMari method suggests decluttering categories of objects together instead of going room by room. Sort through ALL toys throughout the house; sort through ALL piles of paper throughout the house. This keeps you in certain frame of mind when needing to decide what should be kept, donated or temporarily stored as ‘uncertain’. (The KonMari order for tidying: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous), sentimental – see Spark Joy by Mari Kondo for more on this method.)
Identify the cause of the problem
Too much clutter can easily overwhelm any space, no matter how well designed. However, sometimes insufficient storage can make clutter seem twice its own size.
If extra storage such as shelving or filling systems are needed, you can order these and have them ready for the next step. If excessive clutter is the problem, how did it get there and how do you avoid clutter creeping back in a year’s time? WARNING: this question may unearth some uncomfortable home truths – unnecessary or excessive clothing purchases (http://www.thecompassionatehome.com/blog/3-health-benefits-of-decluttering/); expired make-up or kitchen contents hidden in the cluttered cupboards; guilt hoarding…..
Schedule the time and commit
It is very easy to get distracted when in the midst of decluttering – uncovering a box of photos in a cupboard can result in many lost hours (here I agree with Mari Kondo – leave the sentimental things until last). Commit to the process and schedule in time to getting it done – some areas may only need half an hour, some may need a morning.
Be realistic – some of this can be hard work, physically and psychologically. Don’t plan to do the garage, the kitchen, the home office and the playroom in one day unless you are superhuman. You want to allow the process to clear your head, heart and home, not distress and disappoint you. Be kind to yourself – if you are feeling overwhelmed, take some time out to take stock of the process. When you are ready, go back.
Following a well laid out, realistic plan will help you to declutter in a positive, revitalising way. It will allow you to focus more clearly on your goals and make room for new things to come. Let your plan allow you to be in it to win it.