Clearing clutter? Where to start can be one of the most difficult decisions to make when you’re feeling overwhelmed. I know, I’ve been there.
It’s as much an emotional process as it is a physical act and that can mean dealing with a lot of emotional baggage and negative energy. Learn how clearing clutter can immediately unlock a better, more productive, less stressful life.
Clearing Clutter: Where to Start
1 – Take a Deep Breath
Decluttering is an overwhelming process no matter if you have a lot of stuff that has to go or just a few things. It takes a lot of emotional energy and motivation. Our minds love to protect us from things that we perceive as harmful or stressful and decluttering can most certainly be one of those things.
So, before going any further, take a deep breath. If you practice yoga you know that a good, deep, long, slow breath in through your nostrils and then out again can immediately lower your heart rate and reset your mind. Try it. I know it sounds all woo-woo (is there a technical term for that?), but just trust me.
Take a slow, deep breath in through your nostrils and then let it out slowly.
Ready? Let’s go.
Clearing Clutter – Where to Start Step 2 – Start Small
Tackling the entire room feels too overwhelming, doesn’t it? Of course, it does. That room is filled with stuff that makes you feel icky and out of control. If it didn’t you wouldn’t want to declutter.
So, start small. When clearing clutter where to start is with the room or closet that makes you feel the ickiest.
Imagine the room is divided into sections – maybe quarters or thirds – halves if you feel up to it. Now pick the section that catches your eye first. You know, that area of the room that you see first every time that makes you get that pit in the middle of your stomach.
That’s where we’re going to start first.
Clearing Clutter – Where to Start Step 3 – Sort
Next, get three large moving boxes. On the first box write “Keep”, on the second write “Donate”, and on the third write “Trash”. You’ve probably heard of this sorting technique before and for good reason – it works!
Now that your boxes are ready, let’s start sorting in the section of the room we’re tackling first.
Every object in that space needs to go in one of those boxes. Old papers that you no longer need? Put them in the trash box. Clothes that no longer fit or went out of fashion a decade ago? Donate them. The small music box that plays Eidelweiss and brings back happy memories from your childhood? Feel free to put it in the keep box.
Now, if you find that you’re putting just about everything in the keep box, have a stern conversation with yourself. Remember I said that your mind likes to protect you? Well, it’s probably trying to do that right now by making you feel afraid and telling you something like, “Well, those jeans haven’t fit for 10 years but if I keep them I won’t have to buy a new pair when I lose the 20 pounds I’ve been trying to lose for 9 years so I’ll be saving money and saving money is a good thing so I should definitely keep them.”
Sweet friend, no. Take a deep breath and let them go. Those jeans are holding you back by being a constant reminder of what was and not allowing you to enjoy what is right now. Donate those suckers. 😉
Clearing Clutter – Where to Start Step 4 – Get Rid of the Boxes Immediately
You’ve finished sorting and that area of the room looks amazing! CONGRATULATIONS! Seriously, that is a HUGE step forward and you should be feeling pretty darn proud of yourself at the moment. Sure, it was hard a couple of times when you weren’t sure what to do with something, but you made a decision and you cleared out that clutter. Great job!
Now let’s get rid of those boxes.
- Load up the Donate box in your car and go drop it off immediately. Don’t wait to do it tomorrow, go do it now.
- Put the Trash box out by the trashcans until it’s trash pick-up day.
- Take that Keep box and stack it in the corner. Once you finish the rest of the room, you can re-sort through all of the things you wanted to keep and decide what can be stored out of sight in the attic or basement and what you want to have displayed in your space. I’ve often found that when I go through the Keep boxes again, I find more things I want to donate or trash, so don’t be surprised if that happens to you too.
Unlocking a Better Life
You’re feeling a bit lighter already, aren’t you? That’s the good energy sweeping in and dusting out the cobwebs where the negative energy used to reside.
Soak it in, sweet friend, you deserve it. That right there is the beginning of a better life.
You see, a lot of what keeps us stuck is holding on to things that no longer suit us. Those things, even though we may have loved them when we acquired them, have outgrown a place in our lives and instead of bringing positive energy into our lives, they make us feel a bit grouchy and unhappy.
You can’t move forward when you’re surrounded by things that make you feel stuck and unhappy. Let them go.The Organization House
Clearing clutter is the first step. You can do this!