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declutter

Overcoming Barriers

  • “I don’t even know where to start.” By starting small with a single surface or contained area, you give yourself permission to be done after that area is clutter free. There’s no pressure to keep going. Even if you start with your wallet, purse or trunk of your car, you’ve created some momentum. Find a tiny five-minute space and start there.
  • “There’s no obvious home for the items that are creating clutter.” If they are worth keeping, they deserve a home. Try storing items nearest to where they’re used. For instance, instead of putting the phone book in the front closet, tuck it in the kitchen cupboard or shelf that’s closest to your phone. Rather than tossing your keys haphazardly on the entry table, place them in a pretty decorative bowl. If large quantities of stuff have simply overflowed their available storage space, it’s time to sort and toss or give some stuff away. Enlist help if necessary.

Willingness Affirmations

  • I am willing to take 10 to 20 minutes each day this week to clear out some cluttered spaces.
  • I am willing to finally let go of items that I’ve been holding on to for no good reason or that take up more space than they deserve in my life.
  • I am willing to acknowledge that tolerating excessive clutter costs me.
  • I am willing to start where I am and declutter one small space at a time.
  • I am willing to develop new skills and attitudes that help me avoid accumulating clutter in the future.

Check-In

Potential Roadblocks

  • “I have so much clutter! I’ll never be able to get through all of it!” Remind yourself that doing even 10 to 15 minutes a day in your chosen area will help with the decluttering process. It doesn’t all need to be done in one afternoon or day.
  • “Clutter keeps creeping into my cleaned surfaces.” You may need to develop a few strategies to keep your spaces clutter free. For example: Put a pretty vase in the middle of the dining room table to discourage mindless dumping; communicate to offending family members that shoes, jackets, and other items need to be properly stored upon arriving home; place a waste basket or recycling bin in the area for incoming junk mail; set out pretty bowls or trays where you and family members can deposit keys, change, cell phones, and other small, commonly misplaced items.
  • “I panic when I think about letting anything go.” If you’re resisting decluttering or really struggling to let go of unneeded stuff, it may be time to ask yourself a few probing questions. For example: “Is this stuff helping or hindering me in leading a fulfilling life? Am I trying to avoid facing an uncomfortable reality that might become clear if that cluttered space were suddenly empty? Would I truly miss this stuff if it were no longer here? Am I trying to hold on to old memories or past relationships in a way that is interfering with my present reality and future happiness?”
  • If you uncover fear, anxiety, grief, confusion or mental blocks you don’t know what to do with, consider seeking some help from a professional who can help you explore and resolve them. Your stubborn clutter problem may be a helper of sorts — a signal pointing you in the direction of a deeper issue that’s ready to be healed.
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