Let’s face it—decluttering the home is a pain in the butt for most of us. In fact, for many of us, it’s a real reason to “lock up” or “freeze.” What gives?
There are all kinds of reasons we put off cleaning or decluttering our homes. Fortunately, none of those reasons are “you’re lazy” or “your a bad mom/spouse/person.” Just as fortunately: There are solutions to it all! Read on, and decluttering your house is almost guaranteed to be easier.
4 Things That Stop Us From Getting Rid of Clutter
1. You feel like you’re being wasteful, throwing out items you have bought and used only once.
Of course it can be hard to get rid of something that you paid good money for and have barely used. But believe it or not, the real waste is when you buy something and don’t use it! It’s a waste of your space, both physical and mental.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you haven’t used it in the past six months, get rid of it. That doesn’t go for use-in-case-of-emergency items. But for everything else–out of the home it goes!
You’re not getting you’re money’s worth on a thing that you don’t use. Better to give it to someone who will instead. If you don’t know anybody, thrift stores, goodwill, and charities will likely be happy to find it a home!
2. You know you’re going to fit into it again someday.
It’s totally realistic that you will be able to fit back into the smaller half of your wardrobe someday. But today probably isn’t that day. And that’s okay!
To be honest, it can be depressing to have a lot of clothes around that don’t fit you anymore. Since you know you’ll fit back into them, pick out a couple of extra-special items from your old retinue. You’ll enjoy being able to fit back into them someday. And since you’ll have thrown out the rest, it’ll be time to go shopping!
3. “I can’t possibly finish all of this!”
You don’t have to. Not right now. All you have to do is get a little bit done. Heck, even picking up one single thing is better than picking up nothing. And that often leads to picking up another thing, and another, and another…
And even if it doesn’t, you can always come back to it later. You don’t have to stress yourself out or beat yourself up. Most importantly, you don’t have to get it all done at once.
For many of us, the “I can’t possibly finish all of this,” feeling is a part of most anything we do. It an be a result of depression, anxiety or something similar. So above all else, be nice to yourself. You may want to learn self-soothing techniques, talk to a therapist on a regular basis, or perform some other act of self care.
Bonus reason: This is just plain boring! We’ll address that in the next section on how to overcome these problems.
3 Ways You Can Overcome the Overwhelm
1. Work in Short Bursts
It’s a maxim of ours that every task is easier if you break it down into smaller tasks. Well, the same goes for time: Every task is easier if you break it into blocks of time. For example, hours of cleaning isn’t nearly so bad if you take a break every 40 minutes or so.
It can be intimidating to think about spending any time at all cleaning or decluttering! That’s why it’s good to start out with 20-25 minute patches of time. That’s long enough to get stuff done, but short enough that it doesn’t feel like forever. Set your timer, do your cleaning, take a break–and maybe reward yourself.
(Of course you can do 30 or 40 minutes if you want. But if you’re not sure, start with 20 and go from there.)
2. Put A Little Music On
If you jog or use exercise machines, you already know that music makes those 20-30 minutes of cardio go by so much easier. It can be the same with housecleaning.
This is especially true if you find cleaning up, decluttering, or rearranging your home to be just plain boring. Music will occupy your mind in a way that makes things engaging (or at least not-boring), but it won’t distract you like movies or episodes of a show can do.
3. Knock Out Your Easiest Tasks First—And Your Hardest Task Second
First, do the thing you know you can do best. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just the thing you do best. Completing this task will give you momentum. (Even if you feel worn out afterwards and need a break, you’ll still have that mental moment.)
Next, you can use that mental momentum to tackle your biggest challenge. You don’t even have to get it all at once. Take breaks and keep working on it. You’ll feel great when it’s done, because your hardest task won’t be hanging over your head anymore! You’re almost certain to let go of half (or more) of your stressed-out or overwhelming feelings.
Finally, once you’ve gotten that biggest task out of the way, you’ll know that you can tackle the rest. Just like your first two tasks, you don’t have to tackle these all at once. Slow-and-steady will keep you on track.
How to Keep Your Home Decluttered, Slow and Steady, Every Week
Once you’ve decluttered your home, you may never have to declutter it again! If you can organize your routine–clothes on one or two days out of the week, the living room on Wednesday, bedrooms on different days of the week, etc., you’ll find it much easier to keep your house declutterd.
This requires being a little bit organized. If you’re not naturally organized, don’t worry–there are short courses that can teach you how to be! They don’t require a ton of your time. They don’t require you to be a perfect organizer, either.
A good course will teach how you to do things differently. Most importantly, it will teach you how to see, think of, and possibly feel things differently as well. A few knew mental tools and a steady routine can help make feeling stressed and overwhelmed a thing of the past. At the very least, it can reduce those feelings so that you can keep a relaxing, decluttered environment that helps you live the live you deserve!