Clutter-Clearing Tips that
by Stephanie Roberts
Getting rid of clutter
is essential to good feng shui!
from the Inside Out
"I loved your program because I clean
my house on a regular basis and I never really thought that
clutter could be holding me back or that the stuff I have
been holding on to in case I need it one day was considered
clutter. I never knew clutter had such a impact on a persons
personality. ... [Now] I can let go of all the stuff I have
held on to 'just because.' I don't need to hold on to material
things to be happy."
- Sharon Jenkins, Detroit, MI
here for details
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Coping with clutter is rarely easy. There's more
involved than just catching up on overdue housework, and staying
focused and motivated over the weeks or months it may take to get
the job done can be one of the biggest challenges. Here are some
tips to help you stick with it until it's done:
1. "How do you eat an elephant?... One bite
at a time!" That's a good way to approach clutter clearing:
one "bite-sized" task at a time. An entire house, or even a room,
of clutter can be overwhelming. Instead, focus on a single small
area - one shelf in a bookcase or one drawer in the kitchen, for
example - before moving on to the next.
2. Don't expect to get it done in a weekend.
It probably took a long time for all that stuff to pile up, so make
peace up front with the fact that getting rid of it is going to
take some time, too. Plan to do a little bit every day over a longer
period of time, rather than waiting until you have a large chunk
of free time available to devote to clutter-clearing (which may
3. Set time goals, not task goals. If
you've decided to declutter the kitchen cabinets on Saturday morning,
for example, but it's really an all-day job, you've set yourself
up for failure. Instead, set a goal to work on the kitchen for three
hours on Saturday. That way, when the time it up, you'll have met
your goal even if the task itself is not entirely completed.
4. Use a timer to get over the "don't-wannas."
Tell yourself you only have to focus on clutter for 5 minutes. Pick
your bite-sized target (one drawer, one shelf, or one pile of paper)
set your timer, and go go go for five minutes. When the timer chimes,
you can stop… or keep going, now that you've established some momentum.
5. If you just can't make a "keep or toss"
decision about something, put it in a "for now" box and plan to
return to it later when you are feeling more decisive. Items
that you do wish to keep, but that have no "home" in your home,
go in a separate box with other things you need to make space for.
This way you end up with pre-sorted boxes of stuff you still need
to deal with, rather than leaving things where you found them (which
is not where they belong, or you wouldn't have a clutter problem).
6. Be prepared to make more of a mess before
things look better. You can't do a thorough job of clearing
out a closet, for example, unless you begin by removing everything
that's in there. That means you're going to create a big heap o'stuff
while you are sorting and purging. Don't mistake the temporary mess
for lack of progress; just keep doing a little bit at a time until
you've gone through it all and made decisions about what to keep
and where to keep it.
7. Get rid of the excess first, before you
think about organizing and storage. One of the most common mistakes
people make is to buy more storage containers before they've decluttered.
Eventually, they end up with a home cluttered with boxes and bags
and bins of other clutter. Sort and purge first, then tackle storage.
8. Reward your accomplishments, both great
and small. Finished the hall closet today? Good for you; now
make an appointment for that manicure you promised yourself. Plan
in advance what treats you will earn as you reach your clutter-clearing
milestones; knowing you have a specific reward coming will help
you stay motivated to stick with the process until it is done.
Of course, the biggest reward of all is the joy
and convenience of living in a home that is free of clutter. Don't
wait another day to get started!
© 2005 Stephanie
Stephanie Roberts is the author of the popular "Fast Feng Shui" books and the "Clutter-Free Forever!" Home Coaching Program. To sign up for clutter-clearing tips and motivation by email, or to learn more about her clutter program, please visit her website at http://www.clutterfreeforever.com.
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Much Is Enough?
Article: When 'Just Do It' Isn't
Enough: Coping with the Emotional Aspects of Clutter Clearing
Article: Clutter is Natural
Article: What Clutter Clearing Can
Do For You
Article: Clutter's Side Effects:
How the State of Your Home Affects Your Life
Article: Clutter-Clearing and Your
Forever! Home Coaching Program
Back to Feng Shui Articles Main page
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