Don't fret, there is hope! It didn't get there overnight and won't disappear overnight, so you need to be realistic about the time it will take to address it. Taking many, many small steps will give you the results you need to reclaim the lost energy, space and time. Before you know it those steps will add up to a massive step in addressing the chaos in your home.
Acknowledging your clutter
Once you acknowledge that all your clutter is having an enormously draining effect on you, you will realise that there is no option but to do something about it. The process of acknowledging and taking action to eliminate the clutter is liberating and freeing. You will be amazed at how de-cluttering one area of your life can positively effects other areas of your life – including your professional life, your relationships with others, the effectiveness of your parenting and so on. So let's get to it!
1. Set a day and time
Set a day and time to make a start, write it down and stick to it. Jot this down on a -to do' list start, together with what you need to make it happen. i.e.- garbage bags, labels, boxes etc. Make sure you have this all ready before the day. Keep this list in a spot you cannot miss such as the fridge. Many of us are such procrastinators that without this -reminder' we find an excuse to put it off again and again.
2. Use positive self-talk
Use positive self-talk and an "I can do it attitude' to mentally prepare for your first job. This helps keep your energy levels up as well as the negative, lazy voice inside our heads at bay. Don't underestimate the power of saying positive things to yourself, such as -It's never as bad as you think', -One step at a time' and so on.
3. Start small
It is a good idea to start with just a drawer here and there before tackling whole cupboards and rooms. Otherwise you risk being swamped with too much mess, which may -scare you off' doing something about the rest. It's also really important to complete one area before starting on another or you will feel overwhelmed. Just remember to -start small' and not to get carried away with the job at hand, and forget to clean up after yourself before going onto the next job.
4. Start with your own areas first
Tackle -your own areas' first rather than your partners or your children's. Otherwise it's too easy to find an excuse not to do it because it's -their' mess, not yours. Whereas if it's -your area' then you know it is your responsibility and it will be harder for you to talk yourself out of tackling the problem.
5. Get your garbage bags ready
Have garbage bags at the ready and psych yourself up to fill them up. You will need a -ruthless attitude' and if you find yourself saying -But I might use it one day"', tell yourself that if you were going to use it, you would have by now. It may help you to focus your attention on each item and say to yourself -Does this make me feel good/positive' or -Does this make me feel bad/negative'. Anything that makes you -umm and ahh' should be thrown. You'll have this -quick assessment' down pat in no time.
6. Have a bag ready for charity
Have a separate bag for Charity items. Whatever you do, once full, make sure you put the bag/s straight into your car and actually take it to the nearest donation bin, charity store ASAP. Otherwise before you know it, it will end up back in the cupboard that it came from, only to collect more dust and cause you more grief and stress.
7. Set yourself time frames
Give yourself a -set amount' of time to complete your job/s. If you need to, break down your tasks on a -to do list' (making sure you write it all down on the one piece of paper!!) Keep it close to you, together with a red pen to tick off the jobs you complete. (I love the feeling off marking off items one by one)
8. Reward yourself
Reward yourself with a regular coffee/tea breaks (every hour or so). Then make sure you get straight back into it. You will find you are soon -on a roll.'
9. Find new homes for things
You may need to find new, more appropriate homes for some of the items you keep. So compile -designated areas', (i.e. boxes and containers of various sizes) for -like objects'. For example a bathroom box for soaps, hair products; makeup etc; a book and magazine box, kitchen box, miscellaneous box and so on.
10. Put it away, straight away!
Make sure you put any new items, that you put it in the appropriate place straight away. Don't listen if you hear yourself saying — -I don't have time', or -I'll do it later' — just do it! You can make time and get into the habit if you want to. It's all about getting into a new routine. Before you know it, you do it without even thinking!