It’s a fact: clutter can be overwhelming.
Whether it’s a four-day pile of unopened mail or years of accumulated papers, there comes a point when tackling it becomes daunting.
Maybe it’s the hall closet filled with linens you no longer use. Perhaps the spare bed is overflowing with unworn clothes and you can’t muster the energy to separate what fits and is flattering from what’s outdated or no longer appropriate for your lifestyle.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, the longer it’s going to build and build and nothing will get done and trust me when I tell you: clutter’s negative energy 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 is not hopeless.
Stop looking at the big intimidating clutter picture and start breaking it down into manageable bits. Clutter’s ability to overwhelm diminishes when you chip away and begin to see progress. Remember that fable of the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady can win the race.
Instead of thinking, “I need ten hours to open and process the mail,” try this: “Each day I will open and process today’s mail PLUS ten pieces from the backlog piles.”
If there are papers everywhere, gather ‘em up. Fill a bin or two or ten. Start sorting into 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 do a little more tomorrow. Instead of just watching a sitcom, use that as a timer and sort a bin of papers. TV AND progress – win-win!
Don’t focus on the roomful of clothing. Get up 15 minutes early and try on three items in the pile. Decide if you want to keep, sell or donate, 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 those books live? You can’t put something away if it doesn’t have a home…
Ok, that’s a blog post for another day so I’ll leave you with this “What About Bob” movie clip that I reference with clients all the time: