Here's the answer to one of the most common questions about the Declutter 365 missions, when to start doing these missions, including whether it's too late to get started if it's not the beginning of the year.
The Declutter 365 missions are designed to provide you with 365 different missions that, over the course of the year, guide you in decluttering your entire home. There's one mission for each day of the year, which means that each year's Declutter 365 calendar technically starts on January 1st.
Therefore, a frequently asked question I receive on any day that isn't the first of January is this — "is it too late to start the missions, since I'm already behind?"
A similar question I see closer to the end of a year is, "I don't want to start so late, so wouldn't it be better to wait until January 1st and then begin?"
I've provided both a short and long answer version for these questions, so read on if you're wondering this same thing.
No, you're not too late to start, nor should you wait to begin. Instead, jump right into the missions and start decluttering today. There's no perfect time to start, so the best time to start is the day you discover the missions and get inspired to begin. No future time will be easier than starting now, so go ahead and begin because next year, when you see these missions rolling around yet again you'll wish you'd started today.
When you get to the heart of the matter, both of these frequently asked questions, about whether it's too late to begin this year, or whether to wait to start until next year, really are about the belief that (1) there's a single proper order and timing to these missions, and (2) not being willing to do any of the tasks, unless you can do it all, and do it perfectly. These are both limiting beliefs which keep you from reaching your goal of a decluttered home, so let's discuss them both, in turn.
While I have tried to make these Declutter 365 missions flow easily from one task to the next, in some logical form and fashion, and I have put a lot of thought into making the missions as comprehensive as possible, to help you declutter every single nook and cranny of your home, the power of these missions is DOING them, not the order or timing of them.
The Declutter 365 calendar is designed to work whenever you start it, be that in January or April or November.
Further, while I suggest you follow the calendar I've provided, the reason is not because the timing I suggest is the only or even best one, but instead following the calendar makes it easier for you by having me make some decisions for you. Having those decisions already made frees up your brain and body to actually do the tasks assigned, as well as to develop the habit of decluttering daily, which is exactly how you'll reach your goal of a decluttered home.
This second limiting belief, that there's no point in doing any of the tasks unless you can do all 365 of them, and do them perfectly, is much more insidious, and often is a lot harder to weed out of our thinking.
If it sounds like this limiting belief is something I'm familiar with, personally, it's because that's true. I have a tendency, myself, to fall into the trap of perfectionism, so I understand and sympathize. And this concern, that these missions can only be started if you start on January 1st, is very much rooted in this perfectionistic trap.
While I have no magic pill to cure myself or anyone else of perfectionism, I do know that one of the best ways to combat this tendency is to go ahead and START taking action anyway.
So that's what I'm going to try to motivate you to do, with the rest of this article -- to just start.
January 1st does feel like a new beginning, but that's because we've all culturally been led to think of this day as the beginning of a new year.
In fact, though, January 1st is an arbitrary day on the calendar.
The goal with these Declutter 365 missions is to establish the habit of decluttering, so start establishing that habit today, instead of waiting.
As Arthur Ashe said, "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
There is no perfect time to start, so go ahead and start now.
One of the most helpful things I've learned is that my belief that future me, or my future life, will be less busy or full than my current one, is not accurate. Instead, my belief or hope that things will slow down in the future, and I'll magically be able to find vast amounts of time to devote to projects that right now seem out of reach, is never going to be the case. Instead, it'll never be easier in the future, you'll always be busy.
Knowing this is one of the things that helped me design the Declutter 365 missions with intention -- everyone is busy, but we can find 15 minutes of time to do something really important to us, daily.
That's why these missions take advantage of small decluttering steps, because that's what we can actually take on and do now, today, instead of waiting until some future "perfect" time that will never actually come.
In fact, starting now is even better than starting later, because the longer you wait the more clutter has accumulated in your home.
It's exactly like the Chinese proverb which states, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
Just like any other calendar, the Declutter 365 missions cycle back around, year after year, so you're never behind, you'll see the same missions roll around again and again.
Keeping that in mind, when next year you think, again, about how you wish you'd decluttered your home already, then you'll wish you'd started today. So do yourself a favor and actually do start today! Then, start over again, the day after that, and repeat over and over. Doing this will get you the results you desire, I guarantee it.
If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission.
As you know by now, it's never too late to start, and if you're reading this on one of the 364 days that isn't January 1st, the fact that it's not the beginning of the year is no excuse to wait. Get started now!
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!