In our last post, we wrote about 10 “Clutter Personality Types” and how most of us have multiple clutter personalities because we—and our stuff—don’t fit into a neat (& tidy!) category. That’s why it’s necessary to deal with our clutter using different approaches.
Over the next several posts, we’ll offer ideas on how to declutter based on each of the 10 “Clutter Personality Types”.
First, we need to say that we’re not qualified to offer advice for people who think they may have a problem with hoarding. The ADAA defines hoarding this way:
Hoarding is the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. The behavior usually has deleterious effects—emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal—for a hoarder and family members.
If you think you might have a problem with hoarding, we suggest reaching out to a qualified professional for help.
OK, we’re going to tackle “Pack Rat” last, so we’ll start with “Procrastinator” (and not because we’re procrastinating!).
What to do if you’re a decluttering procrastinator.
Free-floating thoughts about the areas of your home that need decluttering attention can cause stress and will definitely result in a state of avoidance. If your problem with cutting down on clutter is that you just can’t seem to get around to it, here are some ideas to help you end your procrastinating ways:
1. Identify the specific areas you need to work on.
Knowing what you actually need to deal with can make the difference between getting started and going to take a nap.
TRY THIS: Pull on your sweats, put on some motivating music and go around your home and write down all the areas in your home that need decluttering—kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, office, basement, garage, linen closet, coat closet, kid’s rooms, etc. Once you have your list, write each area on its own page—digital or paper.
2. Now, break it down.
Let’s say you identified your kitchen as a place that could use some decluttering. That’s a big area with lots of categories of stuff, so we suggest breaking it down into smaller, more manageable, chunks.
TRY THIS: Break areas down into categories. For example, you could break down the kitchen into the pantry, small appliances, dishes, kitchen tools & linens and pots & pans. Add each category to the “area” pages you created in step one. Repeat exercise for every area.
3. Schedule it and set a timer.
Don’t know about you, but nothing gets done in my life unless I put it on the calendar.
TRY THIS: Estimate how long each category will take you and block out time on your calendar. And, when you start your scheduled decluttering session, set a timer. And don’t feel bad if you run out of time. Do what you can! (see #5 below)
4. Declutter with a friend.
The reason we started Neat & Tidy is that we realized that decluttering with support made it way easier and a whole lot more fun. It also brought some much-needed accountability into the picture. Speaking of pictures, we found that taking before/after photos (and sharing them) is super motivating.
TRY THIS: Once you have your decluttering session(s) scheduled, invite a friend to join you. Take and share before/after photos.
5. Don’t be a perfectionist.
Many of us procrastinators also suffer from perfectionism. Remember, perfect is the enemy of done. And, any amount of decluttering is better than none!
TRY THIS: Now that you have a plan, remind yourself that it can be executed over time. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to do it all on a Saturday. And, if you don’t finish in the time you have scheduled, oh well! Schedule time later to finish.
6. Reward yourself. Often!
As a procrastinator myself, I find it motivating to reward myself for any decluttering victory, no matter how small. (Hey, anything that gets me out of inertia mode and into action!) Our Neat & Tidy motto is to “make space for what you love”. What you love may be activities like reading, going for a walk or watching a movie. Or spending time with friends and family. It can even mean buying new things (just as long as they are things you love/need and can afford).
TRY THIS: Set decluttering goals with a specific reward. Some examples: Declutter your workout clothes and reward yourself with a new pair of yoga pants. Or, declutter your shoes and reward yourself with a pedicure. Or, declutter under your bathroom sink and reward yourself with a long hot bath.
Hope this helps you to stop procrastinating and to start making space for what you love!
Next week: What to do it you’re a “Dreamer” or a “Fixer”.