No matter where you are at today, or what day it is when you read this post, we hope you’ll enjoy this as you look for you own Declutter Motivation. It can be hard to stay motivated for lots of reasons. If you are the only one working on the project, you can get tired or discouraged. Maybe you like it when someone cheers you on, and right now it’s just you. Fear not! Here are some excellent tips and information to help you stay motivated while you declutter.
Declutter and Spruce up your Space
Okay, maybe things aren’t drastic but you feel like it’s messy, or maybe you’re falling over things. If you are tripping your own things, then it’s possible that a good decluttering could save you from injury. If you’ve got rubbish or simply too much stuff in your home, you create tripping hazards, and those are dangerous.
There aren’t too many people who want a cluttered space. But while many have the urge to declutter, it can be a hard thing to accomplish. Decluttering can be time consuming, overwhelming, and emotionally draining.
If you’ve tried to declutter or organize your home before, or you don’t know where to start, stop for a moment. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you can do it. It might not be easy, and it might not all be done in the next 15 days, but it is possible. The hardest part might be taking the first step. Your feet might feel heavy, and you might find yourself updating Facebook. Remember, nothing is getting done until you do it, so talk nicely to yourself, stick to the tasks we are outlining for the challenge on our Facebook page, and just start! As you get a little done, pat yourself on the back, and use encouraging words to keep yourself going.
Why is it hard?
If decluttering was easy, everyone would do it. The truth is that it can be really hard. You might find yourself feeling like lots of our clients start out. There are sometimes emotional hurdles to overcome for they let go of things. For others, it’s a lack of skill (how do I declutter, where’s the best place to start, or not making the time needed to get the work done).
Whatever excuse you are giving yourself for not getting the decluttering done, you need to understand why you are having so much trouble. Take a few moments, and a deep breath. Ask yourself why you are decluttering (perhaps you just feel like you should, or maybe a family member raised the issue, or maybe you want to moved to a new place where you can hang out with seniors in Edmonton or the surrounding area). Think about what’s standing in your way. Take a deep breath again, and visualize how you’d like your place to look. Finally, you need to believe that you can overcome the paralysis. Believe in yourself, visualize the future, and then go do it.
There are many reasons we hang on to excuses. Here are a few of my favourites that interfere with my own decluttering. You might have different reasons, but maybe some of these will sound familiar.
I’m much better at this now, but I used to suffer with a lot of guilt. If something was given to me by a family member and I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, or I had spent a lot of money on something, I felt guilty about getting rid of it. Even though I needed room in my closet, I’d tuck those things in the back somewhere or in a box in the basement, but I didn’t end up feeling any better. Instead, now I get rid of things and get rid of the guilt!
Being Beautiful…or Pinterest Pressure
We are so bombarded with images of colour coordinated, perfectly arranged shelving, and bookcases that have an uneven number of figurines and no more than six books. The pictures on Pinterest are beautiful, but they can also mean that we go off collecting items and ideas to create this perfect space, only to never get it quite the way they do on the internet. Remember that organizing is not the same as creating something to someone else’s standard of, “Oh, that’s perfect.” It’s about creating a space that feels good to you and that is safe. You can always change things later – add a splash of colour or a different picture, but you need to start somewhere. Let go of the idea of only starting on a project if it can be perfect.
Items Pretending to be Yours
Do you have a tote box of scrapbooking supplies, or a collection of fabric that have been sitting in your garage for years? They were probably a great idea when you bought them, and maybe you wanted to be someone with a beautiful scrapbook collection, of you were going to make each of the grandkids a quilt, but it just never happened. Be honest with yourself and decide what you really want to do with your time. Keeping things around that remind you of what you aren’t doing will not help you get happy about them. Instead, every time you see those items they have the potential to make you feel bad about yourself, but they are just pretending to be yours. If you are hanging on to this kind of stuff, it’s important to let it go.
This can be a big issue for any of us. It is hard to get rid of things that we have an attachment to, and I had a really hard time getting rid of some of my grandmother’s things, as well as some of my kids books and toys. But I did it without regret, even though some of those things made me a little sad for a few moments.
The key to letting go is to remind yourself that you are getting rid of a thing, not the person or the memories attached to it. Allowing yourself to detach from things doesn’t mean you have to give every single item away. There may be a few favourite treasures if you have some room for them; you just need to make sure you have the space for them. Discipline yourself so that you have no more than one tote for those items. Remember you can take pictures of things and then write your feelings alongside a caption for the picture, or journal about it.
Saving it for Another Day
It’s a rule of decluttering that if you haven’t used something in the past year, you probably don’t need it. Don’t save it for another day! One beautiful side effect of decluttering people hardly ever mention is that things we give away are things we rarely think of ever again. On the off chance that you do need a rare gadget again, you can probably modify something or even borrow it from someone who uses it on a more regular basis. This goes for things like clothes we think we might fit again, or the bicycle that’s rusting out on the balcony and hasn’t been ridden in two years.
Most younger people and adult children tell us there is very little that they want from someone’s estate. By estate, this includes their parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles. There are a few things – sometimes a special teacup, or a chisel set, but these are rare. In our society where we can acquire so many things inexpensively, most people tell us they do not want mom’s china set or the spoon collection, and they also don’t have space for it in their small, efficient apartments. Speak with your heirs and have an honest conversation about what, if anything, they would like to have from you. Get yourself ready to share those things with them now while you are decluttering, rather than waiting. And, for the things they don’t want, prepare to let them go.
No Time or Motivation
Having a lack of time or motivation is one of the big barriers to decluttering. We are all busy, and some of us are excruciatingly tired. But, we have to start before we can finish, and one way around this is to just jump in and get started. The other is to work in small chunks of time. Decluttering is as much about emotional decisions as it is a time commitment. It doesn’t matter is you want to spend an hour a week decluttering, or you choose to do it 20-minutes per day. Any time that you devote to the process helps get things done. Set a goal for what you can fit into your life, and commit to it.
If you have trouble sticking with it (and most of us do or we would have decluttered already), you may need to set up some small rewards to help you keep going. And, of course, you can always hire a professional organizer, move coordinators, and people who are accustomed to working with the chronically disorganized as well as special groups like our aging and aged seniors, the frail, and anyone who has been moved out of their home to long term care or hospice and has a home that needs packing up and emptying.
Make the choice to get things done, and join us in our household decluttering challenge starting October 9 to create some extra space, eliminate the overwhelm of having too much stuff, and celebrate a tidy home.
If you’d like to take part in the 15-day declutter challenge, stop by our Facebook page for daily exercises, motivation, and to get in on the fun!