At the time of writing here in England we are in the middle of our third national lockdown.
It’s also the beginning of February, the weather is cold and grey, and it all just feels a little bit flat.
We noticed last year during the first lockdown that there was a bit of a craze for decluttering – along with other worthy projects like getting fit and baking bread. This time, not so much. It’s as if we have all just run out of enthusiasm.
Now one of our core beliefs is that clutter in your home is connected to clutter in your mind. If you’re feeling muddled or stuck, lacking focus, or unable to move forward, it could be that a really good decluttering session is exactly what you need. But we totally understand that when you are feeling a bit flat, it’s quite hard to summon up the energy.
The problem is that the longer you leave it, the harder it gets to sort it out. What started out as just a small decluttering problem can soon become overwhelming.
It’s a bit like going to the gym when you are unfit – although you know it will be good for you, in the short term it just feels like hard work!
So if you’re struggling to get started with decluttering, or you have already started but somehow got stuck along the way, how you can you break out of this negative mindset and start to move forward?
1. Visualise success – decluttering is easier when you can see that it will make a positive difference, so have a good think about what you are really doing it for, and why. The goal is to create a vivid image in your mind of what success looks like – how will it feel to sit and relax in your calm, tidy living room? How much time and stress will it save you in the morning to know where everything is? How much more in control and productive will you feel sitting down to work in your well organised home office? Being clear about your end game and the benefits that decluttering can bring can be very motivating as you are moving towards something positive rather than moving away from something negative.
2. Set some clear, measurable goals – being vague about your desired outcome is a common reason for procrastinating. We suggest you write a list of the key areas in your home that you want to declutter and then prioritise them. You might start with the room in which you spend the most amount of time, or the one that is annoying you the most. Once you have identified your priorities, break each one down into manageable chunks. If you have to make these chunks as small as an individual drawer, or shelf – so be it.
3. Just do something – we find that thinking about starting is always worse than actually starting. Taking action, no matter how small, creates a sense of momentum and makes it more likely that you will go on to take more action. If it helps, set yourself a timer, even 5 minutes will do. Or tell yourself you will sort just one box, just one drawer, even throw away just one thing. We can guarantee that just doing “something” will help get things started and create a sense of forward motion.
4. Make it fun. Invite a friend to work with you, put on some motivating music, throw open the windows – put some energy into it and you will be surprised to find how quickly you make progress. Before and after photos can be a great way to keep track of what you have achieved.
5. Create some accountability – sharing your intentions with others can be a great way to create a sense of purpose. Seeing how other people are doing with their decluttering projects can also be a fun and interesting way of motivating yourself. We have created our own online community “Decluttering for Life” for this exact purpose and it is free for anyone to join. Just head to Facebook here and request to join.
We guarantee that if you can put these simple steps into action and just do some decluttering, you will feel much better as a result. Clearer, lighter, calmer, freer, happier – these are all words that clients have used to tell us how they felt after a good decluttering session. In fact, we often find that our clients enjoy the feeling so much that they are motivated to continue decluttering and sorting once we have gone.
However if you’re really struggling, and especially if you suffer from anxiety or depression, then we would urge you to seek supportive help from a suitably qualified mental health practitioner. If you are local to us we can certainly recommend some suitable people, or you can speak to your GP for a referral.
Especially in the current situation, many people are experiencing struggles with their mental health, and there is no stigma attached to finding appropriate support.
And of course, if we can help in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
We can come to you either in person or virtually, and we also offer free support and advice via Decluttering for Life, our fabulous Facebook community.
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us via Facebook or Instagram.
Take care, and happy decluttering!