Are there things you do to sabotage your de-cluttering goals?
I got the idea for this post after reading “No More Clutter” by Sue Kay. She suggests the following as ways we undermine our decluttering efforts:
- Do you focus on how much there is left to do rather than how much you have achieved?
- Do you find your self apologising a lot to others and calling yourself lazy and other derogatory names rather than defining yourself in more positive language and a ‘work in progress’.
- Do you throw away essential things that then prove how risky decluttering is?
- Do you create such a mess when decluttering that you give up half way through a task and have made everything worse.
- Does being a perfectionist stop you from doing small 15 minute tasks; one drawer or one shelf at a time. Is it all or nothing; an entire room or it’s not worth it…but you can never bring yourself to face a whole room?
- Are you easily distracted, starting off one task in the kitchen, wondering off to the bedroom to put something away and start sorting the laundry on your floor which leads you to the bathroom to put dirty clothes in the laundry bin when you spot the sink needs a clean…
- Over complex or unrealistic plans of where or how you might get rid of stuff
I have definitely at some point done all of these except for 3) The good news is,from my experience, that once you bring these behaviours from your unconscious to conscious level, all these traits you can train out of yourself and create new habits.
When working on my own stuff, I now consciously choose to tackle decluttering in small bite size chunks. If I am in the mood for a few hours sorting, I finish one bit before starting the next session, because I know how my energy for the task can suddenly go.
Of course, when working with clients, I work differently because we know we are going to be keeping going for 3-4 hours per session: I’m there as the energiser and motivator, attuning to each clients individual needs, so we won’t be giving up after 20 minutes. This does mean I can empty whole wardrobes and larders at the start rather than doing small chunks. In this instance, it is down to me to ensure the pace we work at balances with the time I allow at the end to leave the area we are working in a far better state than when we started.
We create piles on the floor for things that need to be put away elsewhere in the house. Then we do that all at the end, rather than lots of too-ing and fro-ing distracting us from the task in hand.
A significant proportion of my clients apologise a lot and feel bad about themselves with regard to their clutter. I always gently challenge that view of themselves, because there are always life reasons why things have become too much and now they are taking steps to change: they deserve to praise themselves and believe this is the start of change.
In my own home, I find it very helpful to set an alarm/kitchen timer for 15 minutes to tackle an area I just can’t face: it means I make a little breakthrough and am then rewarded by being allowed to stop. Occasionally of course, it gets me going and I keep going long past the 15 minutes. But it is ok to stop at 15 minutes. It’s a technique I pass on to clients too.
Do you recognise yourself in any of the above 1-7 list? If you recognise any of them as the way you used to do things, how have you changed?
Today’s Mini Mission
Declutter something from a bathroom in your home.
Eco Tip for the Day
Here’s one way to save paper. Write your grocery list on the fridge with a whiteboard marker and then photograph it with your cell phone and take that with you when you go shopping.
For a full list of my eco tips so far click here
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow
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