Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard phrases like “downsizing,” “decluttering” and “minimalism.” The one thing that's not minimalist is that number of blogs and books available on the topic.
When I sold my house and moved last year, I released about 50 percent of what I owned (not including the house, of course). I can’t tell you what I got rid of because, after nearly a year, I haven’t even missed it.
In that time, I’ve learned how little I need to be content. I enjoy having a peaceful, harmonious home. It brings me joy. It makes me happy. Too much clutter distracts me and destroys my peace-of-mind so now, I banish it as often as possible.
The hardest part of decluttering is starting. In the past, I'd wait for the Magical Decluttering Fairies to show up. Since they disappointed me over and over again, I was forced to make a decision.
I decided to make decluttering a priority, so I committed 30 minutes a day to doing something—anything—to move me forward in my quest to have fewer things that didn’t bring value to me.
I called it my “30 Minutes to Freedom Campaign.” Don’t ask me why. Sometimes, I like naming my projects so I feel like I’m marching toward something in the name of truth, justice and the American way. Well, maybe not that, but my little project names help me focus and be disciplined in my activities.
My daily campaign ranged from 30 minutes to a few hours at a time. Once I got started I thought, “Oh, I’ve got a little extra time, I can finish this” or “That didn’t take long, I’ll start another area.”
Clutter started to disappear from my life, and I started feeling more peaceful. Calming down this part of my life seemed to help me deal with everything better.
At this point, I’d love to say “I did it, and you can do it too” with a lot of exclamation points. But this post isn’t about the doing. It’s about the three steps needed before you even lift a finger.
Before diving in, consider three things:
1. Decide. How important is this? Why do you want to do it? If you’ve become unhappy with having so much stuff or because you feel disorganized, your level of unhappiness will help define the level of importance you have for clearing out. If you don’t do this at the beginning, you’ll be fighting the process from day one and that’s never any fun, is it?
2. Prioritize. Once you know it’s important, you have to make it a priority. Otherwise, it will never get done. Period. Because here’s a secret:
We all make time for the things that are important to us.
You can argue this point, but it’s true whether you’re cleaning your garage, cheering on your favorite sports team or spending quality time with your loved ones.
Sure, we all have busy times in life. But if you find yourself consistently procrastinating and blaming it on your busyness, it’s time to take a good look at where you’re spending your time.
The reality is: if you can’t find time for it, it’s not truly a priority.
I grow weary of hearing people say, "My schedule has no bandwidth.” These people will tell you how crazy busy they are with work and kids and church and school and blah, blah, blah… They say they’d love to declutter BUT…
Look, I believe they want it. They just don’t want it badly enough. And though I may be polite on the outside, I’m rolling my eyes on the inside. Because I know that once they make it a priority, it’ll happen whether it’s through baby steps or through gigantic sweeps. The how doesn’t matter. Priorities always get completed.
3. Commit. If you decide decluttering is important and you make it a priority, this one should be a no-brainer. Get it on your schedule and do it.
If you’re still not sure, then go back to the first two items for a review. Decluttering may not be as important to you as you thought, and that’s okay.
Maybe you’re in a busy season of life. Maybe you have work or family priorities that prevent you from taking action right now. Don’t worry about it. If it’s important, it’ll come up again in the future and you can address it then.
Decide. Prioritize. Commit. It works for decluttering, but can work for other projects too. I’ve also used it for getting back on the exercise track, drinking more water, selling my house and more.
Is decluttering an issue for you? If so, can you take the first step to deciding how important it is? Or can you go further and get moving? Once you get started, you'll be surprised how easy it becomes! Let me know how it goes on my Facebook page—I'd love to support you in your efforts.
Be #True, and have a Refreshing and Productive Day!