buried-in-papers_thumb.jpgIt’s a fact: clutter can be overwhelming.

Whether it’s a four-day pile of unopened mail or many years of paper piles, there comes a point when the idea of tackling it becomes daunting.

Maybe it’s just the spare closet filled with clothes you may or may not wear, or perhaps the entire guest bedroom is overflowing with clothes and you can’t muster the energy to separate what fits and is flattering from what’s outdated or no longer appropriate for your lifestyle.

Here’s the thing. The longer you wait for the “perfect” time or “enough” time to tackle the entire clutter project – whatever it may be – the longer it’s going to build and build and nothing will get done and trust me when I tell you: clutter has negative energy that can affect you mentally, emotionally, and physically. It can damage relationships, sometimes tearing families apart.

Fear not; I bring you tidings of great joy – well, maybe not of great joy, but of hope. No matter how big your clutter issue is, it’s not hopeless.

Ready? Stop looking at the big intimidating clutter picture and start breaking that clutter project down into manageable bits. Clutter’s ability to overwhelm you diminishes when you begin to chip away and see progress. Remember that fable about the tortoise and the hare? It’s true: Slow and steady can win the race.

Instead of thinking, “I need four hours to open and process my mail,” try this: “Each day I will open and process today’s mail PLUS ten pieces from that big ol’ pile.”

If there are paper piles everywhere, gather ‘em up. Fill a bin or two or ten. Start with broad categories: Shred/Recycle/Toss/File/Pay/To Do and dig in. Put on some music that will calm or energize you and focus for a set period of time. Make it a game: see how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes and try to break your record by doing a little more tomorrow. Instead of just watching your favorite TV show, use that as a timer and sort papers in the bin. TV AND progress – win-win!

Don’t focus on the roomful of clothing. How about getting up 15 minutes earlier each morning to try on three or four items in that room. Decide if it’s keep, sell, or donate and then move on with your day. Wash, rinse, repeat.

If it’s a hodgepodge of clutter, pick something and gather “like with like” – all wrapping paper, all books, all seasonal decor, all garbage – whatever it is, gather it up and attack the room one “thing” at a time. Where should all those books live? You can’t put something away if it doesn’t have a home…

Wait, that’s a blog post for another day. I’ll leave you with this “What About Bob” movie clip. I discuss this concept with clients all the time:

Baby steps. Go ahead, get started. And remember: It’s not hopeless.

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