1. Don’t take on too much, start small
The single biggest reason why people keep putting off decluttering their lives is because of feeling overwhelmed. The moment you start thinking about all your stuff that needs to be taken care of, you instantly think of it as a huge project. And what do we humans tend to do with huge projects? We put them off until the situation is critical.
So how to go about organizing and decluterring that huge pile of stuff sitting around your house?
Here are some quick and simple ways just to get started and get the momentum going:
- Clean up your desk
- Clean up your computer desktop
- Clean one room in your house
- Wash and vacuum your car
- Organize one drawer
- Organize your computer files and go through your inbox
- Re-arrange one closet shelf
- If you have many piles of documents, just put them all into one pile and start processing each document one-by-one
- Tackle one small area of the garage
- If you’re using TaskLabels, go through a few to-dos
2. Make use of every day
Because we always tend to think of the decluttering process as a huge project, we instinctively think of it as a one-time event rather than an ongoing process. This is a serious mind trap. Since cluttering takes place every day, you need to realize that daily decluttering is the only way to get ahead.
Keep this in mind: Things always tend to pile up. This is true for e-mails, sticky notes, documents on your desk, things in your trunk, stuff in your closet, everything.
So given this, wouldn’t it be a good idea to take advantage of small breaks your day to declutter your life?
If waiting for someone takes longer than usual, use that time productively by possibly zeroing out your e-mail Inbox. All ready to leave home, but still have 10 minutes before you need to go? Make sure your desk is clean of any unnecessary stuff.
The more you break the whole decluttering process into smaller chunks and the more often you take proactive steps towards keeping your life organized, the less decluttering you’ll actually need to do.
Think about this: what seems like more work: Doing just a little cleaning in your house every day or doing one mega-cleanup once a month? Even if the amount of work you had to do was equal, in the first scenario you’d have a clean house all the time, while in the second scenario you’d only have it cleaned up for the first week, maybe.
In other words, the more often you declutter, the less work you actually need to do.
3. Commit to a weekly review to keep your clutter in check
Once you’ve successfully decluttered a part of your life – whether that be your home, computer, information or relationships – you need to make sure you stay on top of the game and maintain that hugely liberating clutter-free life!
The best way of doing that is by establishing a weekly or bi-weekly review.
Here are some exemplary steps you may go through during your review:
- Go through things in your house and ask yourself these questions: Do I still use this? How often do I wear it? Can I donate it, or put it for sell during my next yard sale?
- Throw out 5 things every Sunday (For those with especially cluttered houses. I know, it’s tough!).
- Go through your to-do app. Delete items no longer relevant, set new due dates, labels and priorities for tasks floating around.
- Zero out your Inbox. Unsubscribe from any e-mail updates that are unnecessary.
- Go through your browser bookmarks and organize them into folders and delete those that are no longer needed.
- Go through all your receipts, get rid of those you no longer need.
- Go through all your paper documents. Take pictures and upload them to the cloud using services like Evernote or Dropbox. Then throw the paper away.
- Go through your old paper photos and upload them to the cloud as well.
Before you know it, you’ll establish a good system and become a decluttering machine! If you need a little extra help, be sure to download TaskLabels and start organizing your life.