Key Strategies to Dealing with Your Clutter

You have most likely heard the saying, “What one person calls clutter another calls a treasure”. So, the first step is to figure out what qualifies as clutter to you.  And no one can decide this but you.

To learn how clutter or too many treasures affect your health check out my previous blog  Consequences of Clutter on Your Health  This will help you to decide if what you have been living with and accepting as ‘normal’ needs to be reevaluated or not.
There are three ways to change any environment: 
  1. By adding something to it.
  2. To take something out of it.
  3. To modify it in some form.
With this in mind, go through your home and figure out what is irritating and distracting to you. Be sure to take a pen and pad with you and ask yourself these questions:
  • What changes need to be made? A few pictures on those blank sterile walls, clean up the pile of magazines, rearrange the furniture so the walkway is easier to maneuver?
  • What needs to be fixed and how?
  • Who might you be able to delegate all or part of the task to? Does it need to be hired out, do it myself or could someone in my household handle it? A key strategy for getting more done is to master the art of delegation. I use the 80% rule – if another person (this includes children) can do the job 80% as well as I can and it isn’t a personal item like going through old photos or bills, then it is delegated.

 Now it is time to get started with some Key Strategies:  
  • Set a time limit and mark that time as an appointment on the calendar.
  • Start small so you are not overwhelmed and will give you a sense of accomplishment when the time is up. 
  • Tackle one room or even one bookshelf or drawer at a time. By the way if you are cleaning out drawers, don't dump out the whole drawer, it's just too overwhelming. Instead, take out items that can be thrown away, then things you can donate, don’t belong there, etc. 
  • When working on a closet, desktop or corner of a room deciding what makes the cut can be tough. It can really be helpful to make a list of parameters which also makes the process go quicker.  For instance you might decide:
    • to throw out anything stained or torn
    • donate clothing you haven't worn for over a year
  • Make the sorting easier by having boxes ready for sorting items into, labeling them:
    • Throw OUT  
    • Donate
    • Not Sure
    • Belong Somewhere Else
  • Give yourself the 60 second or less decision rule. This key strategy will make a big difference. 
    • You will be going with your gut decision and more likely to make the right choice. 
    • If it takes longer than 60 seconds it goes into the ‘Not Sure’ box to be revisited in 6 months, to be resorted again.
TIP: I find that sometimes it is helpful to have a buddy when sorting. They keep you on your task of moving quickly. Besides most activities are more fun when shared with a friend! (People use to actually pay me to help them through this activity so this is also an option of hiring if you don’t want to share with a friend.)

I’m always up for learning new ways to sort through and organize. Please share in the Comments section below.

Blessings for a Health, Joy and Laughter,

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