I know it sounds weird right? How is that even possible?!
One of the problems with “Decluttering” is that it’s a Thing You Must Do.
It’s a special event. A Job. A Task. A process you’re avoiding. You’re hard-out procrasti-clutter-nating! It even has a capital-D.
So here are some suggestions to make “Decluttering” become simple old decluttering. And so easy it’s automatic… You know what it’s like to drive somewhere and forget how you got there? You’ll be like “How did my house get so tidy?”, “Where did all that crap go?”.
Do it first.
This is the trick for getting all sorts of stuff done, like exercise first thing in the morning. It sets you up for success. It’s a bit like Pre-decluttering, or Clutter Avoidance Techniques:
Do it now. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you do this. You become super woman, things just happen as you move around the world. All the little bitty annoying things seem to magically get done in your wake.
Don’t put it down, put it away. You stagger into the house with your kids after school and EVERYTHING gets dumped. Everyone has other stuff they’d much rather do than boring old “Putting stuff away”. Tough bikkies. Do it. This is just what your family team does now.
Put things away as you go. If it’s in your hand and you’re finished with it, back it goes. If you’re still in the same building as a thing you just finished using, back it goes. It’s all part of using that thing. This is a great mantra for kids too! (Pib-Wib it!)
Bring less stuff into your house. (This is where you hear your decluttering Angel singing a glorious song of joy and happiness, or me, though my singing isn’t exactly angelic…)
It’s pretty self explanatory. Look in your bin and under the kids beds, what do you see? Crap that’s come into your house that’s just going to go straight into landfill someday. Pause before you accept or buy anything. Think about landfill, rubbish dumps and your cluttered spaces. UGH!
Do it in tiny little bits.
Every time you do something in a room, or walk around your house, grab a thing or two. If they don’t belong in that room take them where they belong. If you can’t be bothered… then do you really need or love them them at all? So why not just declutter them right out of your house? You’ll never have to deal with them ever again!
Tackle one space or type of thing at a time:
- The coffee table.
- The top layer on your kids dresser.
- Just the shoes by the door.
- Just the old takeaway containers that might-come-in-handy but you haven’t used in years.
- Fold that single load of washing as soon as it’s dry and put it away before you start the next.
Break it into small blocks of time:
- 5 minutes under the sink.
- Two minutes while you wait for the kettle to boil.
- During the ads or boring bits on TV.
- As you walk around the house scan for things out of place.
- Hang up stuff as you take it off or bring it in straight from the washing line or dryer.
Make it easy.
Declutter your cupboards and drawers. Don’t pack your cupboards so full you have to poke things into little gaps like a squirrel hiding nuts. If it’s difficult to find a spot for something it’s going to be left around on the floor or in steadily growing piles on top of things.
Make Smart Spots around you house so everyone knows where stuff goes. Label them. Most people in a house are not purposely trying to make a mess, just to drive you crazy. If they know where to put things they’ll do the right thing. They’ll probably forget though, so you’ll have to remind each other.
Easy wins. Grab easy things to declutter. It’s usually best NOT to start with tough things. Even if your family keepsakes are covering every inch in your home. Or your folks photo albums, tea sets and books are squatting in your garage making you feel bad.
Group similar stuff together as you go. It’s much easier to declutter when you can see how many of a thing you own. You might realise, as you put away your clean washing, that you don’t need 9 pairs of black pants, especially if a few of them make you feel bad about your bum.
Make it a permanent habit.
It’s so easy to simply forget some of the stuff you really want to get done. Changing things that you do automatically will change your life. This applies to SO many things! Like not automatically eating from your kids plates as you clear them away to keep your calorie intake down. In this case you could try these:
See it? Do it! “Ooh I must pick that up”, “That doesn’t belong there…” You saw it. You do it. Unless you have a screaming baby or a bleeding child in your arms. If it lands on the floor pick it up. If you’ve plonked something down in the wrong place, move it.
The floor is not storage. If you’re looking for somewhere to put something, be smart. Think carefully about its value to you. Work out the best place for it in your home. If it’s on the floor for a while, how much is it loved, really?
Pack-rat-itis. If it’s hard to pack stuff into your cupboards and drawers, you have too much. 1 in 1 out is a fabulous habit. But if you struggle to fit things in you might want to try 1 in 3 out as an automatic-decluttering habit.
Remember…. There’s only so much one human can do. This little and often way of turning “Decluttering” into decluttering will help you make slow, steady and permanent progress to a decluttered, tidy home.
Making space for your life and your truly precious and needful things is more important than keeping everything just-in-case or just because it-cost-good-money. Doing tiny decluttering and clutter-avoiding things will help you stop clutter build-up for good.
Slowly and surely you’ll see a wonderful change.
The Tidy Lady,
Declutter & Life Coach | Tidyness Expert.