By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer
What would you say is the hardest part of your decluttering journey so far?
Would you say…
- Not knowing where to start because there is so much “stuff”. It’s overwhelming!
- Not knowing how to start… which room to start on or which decluttering method to use?
Most people will say both, where to start and how to start.
But often overlooked… once you start…
- How do you STAY motivated?
- How do you keep the momentum going?
These 3 top tips will help you deal with these sticking points. Just know that like with any other large project, getting stuck is inevitable and it’s also just part of the process.
It’s okay to get stuck, but don’t let it stop you completely.
When you get stuck, the key is to RESTART AND REBOOT.
My top 3 tips on how to get going, keep going and stay motivated on your decluttering journey
1. Repeat the mantra: Some is better than none.
- Isn’t it better to declutter part of your closet than none at all?
- Isn’t better to declutter part of your hobby room than none at all?
Remind yourself that some is better than none. In other words, acknowledge your small wins. It’s still an accomplishment.
We’re often too quick to criticize ourselves for not completing a project. This simple mindset shift of “some is better than none” will help you get in the habit of looking at how much you’ve already accomplished rather than how much you still have to do.
This one simple shift will help you remain positive, feel accomplished, and stay motivated.
And FYI: When you do get stuck… STOP!
- Try to understand WHY you’re stuck.
- Try to understand what’s stopping you from decluttering.
Often our lack of desire or motivation to continue has more to do with our fear of letting go because we attach meaning to our stuff.
- If you let go of your Mom’s china, she’ll be upset.
- If you let go of your Mom’s china, you would be disrespecting her because you would be giving away something she loved.
Once we identify what stops us, why we’re stuck, why we hold on, the understanding is what empowers us and allows us to let go, declutter, and keep moving.
Check out my 5-Step Guide: How to Let Go of Sentimental Clutter but Not the Memories on our online shop.
2. Play the PAIN/GAIN GAME
This game will help you understand why you want to declutter. It’s simple and gives you clarity almost instantly.
Each of us has our own reason for wanting to declutter. What is yours?
Examples of PAIN/GAIN GAME: Try it yourself!
· Pain: Your house is always messy and cluttered causing stress, upset, and family arguments.
· Gain: When your house is decluttered with less stuff, it will be more peaceful, a sanctuary and safe haven you will know the joy of living in a clutter-free home.
· Pain: You can never find what you need when you want it or need it.
· Gain: When your house has less stuff, your things will be easier to find. That will give you peace of mind and make your life so much easier.
· Pain: You can’t stop buying more stuff. It’s an endless cycle. You know you’re wasting money and you know you’re only making matters worse.
· Gain: When you take time to understand why you keep buying more stuff, you might realize you’re trying to fill a gap i.e., loneliness.
Once you figure that out, you can stop yourself when you’re tempted to buy more so you can save money and use your time more productively to reduce clutter rather than adding more to it.
Once you understand the pain that clutter is causing you, the journey gets much easier.
For me, if you listen to my TEDx talk, it was a trip to a Third World country where people had so little but they were happy.
My motivation for decluttering and downsizing, ultimately giving away 95% of my stuff to people who need it or wanted it was that I wanted a simpler life with less.
For me, the PAIN was too much stuff, not enough time, money, or freedom. My stuff weighed me down.
The GAIN was a new lifestyle with more time, money, and freedom than I had experienced in years. That allowed me to pursue other things that mattered more to me.
This mindset shift changed my life and motivated me to downsize and declutter.
The joy of letting go far outweighed the pain of hanging on.
Check out my newest Home Decluttering Checklist, get it for only $ 4.99!
3. Make decluttering a game!
When you’re stuck, do whatever it takes to make decluttering fun so you can stay motivated.
A few suggestions:
A. Schedule a party at your house two weeks from today.
How many of you clean up and organize your home before people come over? I do!
Schedule a party at your house two weeks from now.
Invite people over you’ve been afraid to ask because their house is “perfect” and yours is messy. (FYI they probably cleaned up before you came over too!)
Give yourself 2 weeks to declutter, organize areas of your home your guest will see. I.e., Living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, powder room.
Challenge yourself to not only clean and organize but also to declutter each of those areas.
There’s nothing like a deadline to motivate you!
B. Plan an actual extreme decluttering party
Invite just a few close friends or family members to help you declutter for 2 to 3 hours on a particular day and to help you dispose of or donate items in one area of your home. I.e., a small section of your basement or garage.
Have all of the necessary packing materials, boxes, trash bags etc.
Create 3 piles: keep, dispose of, donate
- Promise your team a great meal and refreshments after you’re done.
- Promise to reciprocate.
C. Give yourself a party
Make it fun, make it challenging, and make it happen!
How much can you accomplish in 15 minutes, one hour, one weekend day?
How many bags of unused shirts/tops?
How many bags of unworn dresses and suits?
How many bags of ill-fitting shoes and clothes can you accomplish in 3 hours?
Kitchen cabinets, pantry, linen closet, junk drawer, your car.
How much can you accomplish in that one area without stopping?
These are just a few ideas to have fun while you declutter. Make sure you reward yourself with an experience… Not more stuff. Make it something consumable i.e., dinner at your favorite restaurant, a massage, or mani-pedi.
To summarize: There are 3 mindset shifts that will not only get you going on your decluttering journey but they will also keep you going and help you stay motivated.