Tips for Busy People to Clear Clutter
Clear the Clutter!
I’m a died-in-the-wool pack rat and naturally tend to keep things rather than toss them with the result that I must constantly edit my own life. (In case you don’t know what a pack rat is, they are rodents that live in the desert and collect junk and trash to make their dens. If you spot a pile of trash under a creosote tree, it is most likely the cozy home of a pack rat.) In fact, before I could write this tip with any sort of integrity, I spent a good hour tidying up my office. That in fact is a useful tip: people who have tidy spaces do spend time regularly tidying them. I always seem to find something more exciting or interesting to do and then wonder why my desk is a mess!
If I could shed any light on the subject it would be this: our brains really are hard-wired up to be one way or the other – either a pack rat with the natural tendency to save stuff or a minimalist with the natural tendency to discard stuff. (We can even test for this on a computerized assessment!) If you are struggling with clutter it is because you are wired up that way. It is unlikely that you’ll ever find it easy to get rid of stuff. Consequently, the fastest and easiest way to get rid of the clutter is to find someone who is naturally wired up to discard stuff to come over to your home and/or office and help you. Your natural tendency will be to shift things around, not toss. Ask a tidy/organized friend to come over and help you eliminate the excess. Most people who are tidy love to clear out messes and can do it in a fraction of the time that you can. So why not let them have a whack at your stuff (obviously with your supervision and help)? If you don’t have any friends or neighbors of this stripe, you can hire a professional organizer. The most difficult strategy is to do it alone as you are likely to get bogged down quickly.
That being said, if you insist on doing it yourself, you could start with one small pocket of clutter. Decide to clear out one dresser drawer or the kitchen junk drawer. Don’t go crazy and tear through the whole house or you may end up completely overwhelmed. This week just pick one small area to declutter to get started. Set a timer for 15 minutes and spend that time sorting one area. Or try the 21 Items Must Go technique and put 21 random items in a bag and donate it to charity. Do this every week and you’ll gradually start seeing improvement. Or, get even more radical and use Marie Kondo’s joy filter for clearing clutter.
P.S. Clearing clutter is a great way to make room for new and better people and opportunities. If you want some support you might want to join the community of people working to improve their lives in our Coach Yourself to Success online course.