the shrink ‘rap: issue 28
In this issue:
Water Cooler Rap
5 Truths About Decluttering
Starting an organizing project involves commitment, and if you’re going to commit to something, you might as well know what’s involved, right?
Here are 5 Truths About Decluttering you should know before you dive into your pile of papers, cluttered attic or exploding closet.
1. Paper is the most time-consuming thing to organize. – If all you have to organize is paper or you need to find a tax document by tomorrow, then you have no choice but to work on organizing your papers. If paper is just one of many things you need to organize, move it out of the way and start on something else – anything else. Your kitchen cabinets, under the bathroom sink or the trunk of your car. Start with something easy to gain the momentum you need to address the more difficult and time-consuming stuff.
2. Your significant other is typically not your best friend when you’re decluttering – I have worked with hundreds of clients in many homes and offices, and the projects that involve help from a significant other typically progress at a slower rate. I don’t know if this is a documented fact. I only know that it’s been my experience. Why? From what I have observed, more arguing occurs about who should keep what, where it should be stored, “why are you keeping things from your ex” etc. The tension builds, frustration grows and the whole process slows down. I have noted that the same thing happens when mothers and daughters work together. That’s why, especially when I’m working with teenagers, it’s best for mom to say what she has to say and then walk the other way.
3. Decluttering is exhausting. – It can be physically exhausting (and also a good substitute for the gym). The mental exhaustion, however, is often not expected. Making rapid fire decisions over and over in a short period of time can leave you mentally drained, and it might just sneak up on you. When I’m working with new clients, this point of I can’t make another decision typically happens around the 2 1/2-3 hour mark. Schedule your decluttering sessions in spurts. All day decluttering marathons aren’t ideal unless you’re up against a deadline.
4. It’s easy to get sidetracked. – You could have every intention of sorting through your entire basement next Saturday. Don’t be surprised, however, if after opening that first box of family photos you find yourself wondering where two hours went. The best way to keep moving is to put on some fast-paced music, schedule a snack break for yourself after the first hour or two, and push boxes that contain “trigger” items (anything that makes you nostalgic) off to the side to review later.
5. Decluttering isn’t a one-time event – You can declutter your entire attic, but don’t be surprised if two years later you have to do it again. Things have a way of piling up, but what’s even more important to realize is that our needs change. Our schedules, hobbies, family size and things we value change. The things we want to keep now may not be relevant to us, for either practical or emotional reasons, in the future. Every area of your home and office should be revisited at least once a year for organizational maintenance.
Don’t let these 5 Truths About Decluttering scare you. The rewards are always worth it in the end. Getting organized saves space, time and money. It reduces stress, improves relationships and gives you more time to focus on doing things you enjoy.
Need more help getting organized? Call Cluttershrink® for more information on receiving hands-on assistance organizing your home, office or relocation. Virtual organizing, customized seminars and gift certificates are also available. Call 215.431.0590 or e-mail Crystal Sabalaske at email@example.com.
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