If you're feeling overwhelmed about where to start clearing clutter, here are strategies you can use to begin today!
Each of the strategies I've listed below will work in some circumstances, and not in others. It really depends what is causing you to get stuck in the first place.
That's why whenever you're at a loss for where to begin you can use the list below to get motivation to start and turn the green light on to your decluttering project!
If every room of your home needs to be decluttered you can sit there, doing nothing, because of indecision.
What you need is a plan of attack. One strategy is to start with the area that bugs you the most.
Chances are the room that bugs you the most is one you spend a lot of time in.
Tackling the biggest problem area can make you motivated to continue as you see positive results.
On the other hand, what if you feel like tackling that entire area is too overwhelming?
Just because you choose the toughest area to tackle first doesn't mean you'll tackle the whole thing all at once.
Choose a time of day when you've got lots of energy, grab your timer, turn on some motivating music, and tackle one little portion of that room.
For instance, don't try to tackle the whole kitchen at once. You'll just get overwhelmed and make a big mess that you won't have enough energy to clean up at once! Instead, choose one drawer or cabinet, or even one shelf in one cabinet, and get started with just that.
Don't shotgun your approach though. Don't hit a small section of one room, and then another of a different room. Otherwise you'll never feel like you're making progress, which is demotivating.
Once you choose a room stick with it until its done, even if you, for example, have to declutter it in 15 short sessions in a row over the course of two weeks. Once you choose the drawer or cabinet to start with, then just go systematically through the room from that place forward, so you don't avoid anything or miss cluttered patches.
Sometimes making a promise to yourself that "I'm going to declutter my house this year!" is not enough. You can let yourself get away with excuses. After all, life happens and things get busy.
If you're really serious about the process, tell a friend or loved one about your goal and ask them to hold you accounatable.
Psychologically, you're less likely to want to let them down and you'll begin the clutter clearing process just like you promised yourself you would.
Along the same lines, if you start running into problems deciding what to part with, especially because of emotional reasons, getting a trusted and loving friend or family member to help you with the decision making process can be very helpful.
It can be very disheartening to sit there paralyzed by indecision. Sometimes it is useful to hear a more neutral and less emotional point of view to guide you in the right direction.
Trust me, the first few decisions in each decluttering session are the toughest. After a while you start to enjoy the process of letting go, and it can start to feel very freeing! Let your friend help you over the hump and get you in the clutter clearing zone.
Sometimes the problem is that you've lived with your junk and stuff for so long you can no longer see it.
I'm sure you've heard to look through your house pretending you are a visitor, to see the home through different eyes.
Well, sometimes that works, and sometimes I just can't seem to do it. However, have you noticed that every time you look at a picture of yourself or someone else in your home you notice all the junk and clutter in the background? How annoying, right?
Well, use this annoyance to your advantage, and take a picture of the area you need to declutter. Somehow your brain can just "see" the problem areas more clearly then, and you can develop your plan of attack (as suggested in step 1).
Have you ever felt motivated at the beginning of a session of clearing clutter, only to feel disheartened by the end and ready to throw in the towel?
To avoid this common problem, create a positive reward for yourself for getting the job, or a big step of it, done.
This gives you something to look forward to, and makes it more likely that you'll continue on. Just make sure your reward doesn't bring more junk into the house!
Last, but certainly not least, the problem sometimes is just getting the motivation to start.
The first two minutes of any task are the hardest, so if you're really demotivated or can't decide what to do, just set a timer and start!
Put two minutes on the timer and commit to doing it that long. You'll be suprised how easy it can be once the timer buzzes to keep going a bit longer. (And what's the sweet spot for a decluttering mission? The answer, I've concluded is 15 minutes. Find out why here.)
Similarly, if you're having trouble prioritizing where to begin, just start somewhere. There is no right or wrong place to begin, so just do it, as Nike says!
And if you're really feeling stuck, and everything is bugging you, I recommend you follow along with a plan that I've created, called Declutter 365. With this plan I've already mapped out, for you, what small area or type of item to declutter in your home, 15 minutes per day, to slowly, over the course of the year, get your whole house decluttered!
You can get the entire year long Declutter 365 calendar right here for free. Then, follow along daily with each mission.
In addition, if you'd like daily encouragement and reminders of the missions, I've created a closed Facebook group called Declutter 365 Premium which follows along with the Declutter 365 mission schedule. In that group I post each day's mission to help remind you of the challenges and missions, and keep you on track. In addition, an exclusive to the group is the weekly live group coaching sessions, which discuss the week's missions, and have a question and answer session.
In this section of the series we tackled the task of clearing clutter from our homes. However, decluttering doesn't have to happen in big bursts, and in fact, regular smaller time increments often work better in the long run.
That's why I recommend that you develop habits and routines that will help you reduce clutter slowly, over time.
Therefore, next in the series I'll share with you five rules for reducing clutter from your home gradually, without you even really noticing it.
I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!