The holidays tend to bring on next level busyness, stress, & overwhelm, all of which can be exacerbated by a cluttered home. It’s extra important now to pull back on our environment…make it extra calming, err on the side of less rather than more.
I’ve seen lots of approaches to clutter, and some seem to work better than others. I developed a list of do’s and don’ts not to be prescriptive or imply a right or a wrong, but to be tactical and helpful. To give you a guide that works, help you use your time effectively, make lasting progress on something that matters, and to be that list you pick up when you’re trying to get the motivation to start – especially when you don’t really feel like it or know how to begin.
At the end of the day, cluttering should not be a dreaded chore. Quite the opposite. It can be incredibly freeing, without much thought or effort once it becomes a habit. Here are my 8 Clutter Do’s and Don’ts:
|1. DO Keep What You Love. You will need to make choices and define priorities, but absolutely keep what brings you joy! If you have the space for it and love it, it’s not really clutter!||1. DON’T forget you still have the memory. The main value isn’t in the item, but in the memory surrounding it.|
|2. DO Keep What You Have Room For. Let a container be your parameter. Keep what fits, part with the rest.||2. DON’T Overfill your spaces or containers. It’s very hard to keep an overflowing space organized or to see what you have. |
|3. DO Give everything a Home. Golden Rule of Organizing! Clutter is often comprised of things that don’t have a home, so give them one today!||3. DON’T do the “Clutter Shuffle”. Moving clutter from one spot to another doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s inefficient, doesn’t address the problem, and just shifts it elsewhere for you to deal with yet again.|
|4. DO consult an outside perspective. Ask the opinion of someone you trust, who can help reframe how you look at your things and can support you in the decluttering process.||4. DON’T consult a “yes” person. You know, the one who will want you to keep everything and won’t nudge you in the direction you’re committed to.|
|5. DO declutter frequently. There’s always another layer to uncover once you’ve addressed the low hanging fruit and realized “I’m ok. I got rid of xyz and it feels great. I don’t miss those things and I’m ready for more”.||5. DON’T ever stop. Decluttering is most effective when it’s a recurring habit, a mindset that says “I’m committed to sticking with this and I’m making everyday choices that will set me up for success”.|
|6. DO set a timer. It’s a great motivator. You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish in 20 min.||6. DON’T make the timer too long. You’re better off setting two 15 min. timers than one 30 min. timer.|
|7. DO set a specific goal. Declutter one drawer, find 10 things to donate, find 5 things to throw away, or declutter as much as possible with a 15 min. timer.||7. DON’T make your goal too lofty. Yes, it’s great that you want your whole house decluttered. But, if you think and move room by room, you’re more likely to start AND to establish the momentum needed to accomplish big things.|
|8. DO act now. Remove donations/trash out of your home immediately. Once you’ve made a decision about an item, stick to it. ||8. DON’T delay. If you set too many things aside, you’ll delay progress (“I’ll see if Great Aunt Martha wants this” or “I might try to sell that”). The main priority at this point is action and progress. You can do it!|