Watch this 3-minute video where I share four ways you can act like a professional organizer to step up your de-cluttering efforts.
People always marvel at how much more efficient they are at letting things go when someone from Get Organized Already is with them; how they get so. much. done!
Of course part of this is having an extra set of hands around and having an impartial, objective person with you. To some extent that is impossible to recreate. But if you are struggling and really, really want to kick some clutter to the curb on your own. Here are my best suggestions:
How can you de-clutter like a boss?
1. Find your motivation
Having someone helpful with you is the ultimate motivator. Think about working with a personal trainer at the gym vs trying to do a 45-minute weights session on your own. I don’t know about you… but I try a lot harder when I’m paying someone to make me do the bicep curls.
So you need to find a way to keep yourself motivated when working alone.
What has motivated you to want to de-clutter in the first place? Guests? Shame? Frustration? Embarrassment?
It’s normal to be motivated by negative feelings. I totally get it. But don’t stay too long in negative town.
Take your original motivation and spin it so it’s positive. Write down the positive motivation (or find a motivating photo) and put that on the wall where you are working. Literally tape the page to the wall. Why? Because 2 hours into a pile of papers, or a mound of skinny jeans that don’t fit, and you are going to need every encouragement you can get! An inspiring reminder on the wall can really help at that point.
Make this space usable
Make this room feel welcoming to my guests
Be able to find my past invoices
Make room in this closet for some new shoes
If you are writing goals, stick to only one or two goals per session. Help yourself reach your goals by being realistic when you set them. You feel me?
2. Strive to be objective
Objectivity is a huge key to de-cluttering. Sentimentality and guilt are a big problem for a lot of people.
When you are deciding what to let go of, here are a few things that seem like they matter, but they don’t:
- Who gave it to you
- How much it cost
- I might need it someday
- It could be useful at some point
- It will be wasteful to get rid of it if I never used it
My friend, we all think these thoughts. But that doesn’t mean they are true. These thoughts don’t justify holding on to things that don’t spark joy.
If an item makes you feel bad, fat, stupid, guilty, sad, depressed, angry, or anxious let it go.
A good rule of thumb when keeping things that may one day be useful is to consider how much physical space the item takes up. Do you have that much space to spare for something you may never use?
Do I love this thing?
Do I use this thing?
Keep asking yourself these questions over again–whenever you can’t decide.
There is no wrong answer when it comes to keeping and letting go of stuff. It’s up to you, so you need to trust yourself. And you can’t trust yourself if you keep making excuses and telling yourself lies. Be honest with yourself, please.
3. Get on the clock
Staying on the clock is an easy, straight-forward way to pretend you are a professional organizer. Put a date for a big declutter on your schedule (usually twice as long as you think you’ll need) and stick to it.
In our own homes distractions are endless. Try to minimize your distractions by staying in the room you are working on. If something lives in another room, put the item just outside the door. Don’t go to other rooms to put things away until you are wrapping up your session.
Your phone has an airplane mode. Use it!
Music focuses some people and distracts others. If you are making tough decisions and want music on, use music with no words.
4. Finish the job!
Most of our clients’ favorite part of the session is when we drive away with everything they don’t need anymore. Bye-bye clutter!
As professional organizers, we never leave behind a pile of maybe items still on the floor. When you are working alone, be a boss and make a decision about the maybe items. Your de-cluttering session isn’t over until you take everything you are donating to your car–all the way to your car–maybe even to the donation center.
What if it doesn’t fit in my car?
The quickest way we have found to donate usable bulky items is to list them on Craig’s List for free. If you don’t like that idea, you can always arrange for a donation pick-up for large items.
Whatever you need to do, be like a professional and finish the job.
Now that you are feeling like a boss, what are you going to de-clutter first?