After years of attempting large clutter clearing projects and completing very few, I have developed a system of tackling bite-sized clutter-clearing projects that result in success, saving time, effort and giving a real sense of accomplishment.
Let’s look at a room in your home. Think of one room, one area of the room, then one small space to de-clutter. Let me give you an example. I have a utility drawer in my kitchen which I open daily at least once. I had become irritated every time I opened this drawer Why? Because I had to dig to find what I needed.
My first decision was that I had to change this drawer. I then decided tools I would need (scissors, ruler, shelf paper etc.) and set a timer for 30 minutes.
I totally emptied the drawer, put aside things for Goodwill that I do not need, and then reorganized the drawer for better functionality. I work from home and cook at least one meal a day. Some items I use occasionally, others I use every day. I thought about the time and energy I had wasted during the past year because I had not reorganized the drawer – using 300 days a year, spending 30 seconds each time digging for utensils, cost me 9000 seconds, or 2.5 hours in one year totally wasted. No excuse – fixed now! I took a picture of the before and after and the results were amazing. I spent 30 minutes on this project – and I smile now every time I open that drawer.
Let’s say you have organized piles of work (paper) at your office and you know exactly where everything is. Using your phone, you take a picture of the piles. Let’s say that one pile is 18 inches high. At the end of a work day, you set a timer for 30 minutes, quickly review as much of the pile as you can in 20 minutes, then spend 10 minutes either discarding materials or forwarding to someone else to work with. You do this once a month for a year. Do the math – how much time you spent and the results you achieved. You then take another picture – feel at least a little bit more in control?
How does the interior of your car look? Do you ever have associates from the office ride in your car? What kind of impression do they get? Do you have empty sacks, kids’ toys and equipment lurking in the back seat? One solution – put containers in your trunk (or at the back of your SUV) and place the items in the boxes. This makes it much easier to lift out, sort and discard unneeded items.
I decide on one project each month; you may want to adjust that time frame. Remember the goal is finished – not perfect – but de-cluttering done!