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How to Declutter, One Bite at a Time!
Do you feel cramped in your home?
Have your possessions taken over?
Do you want to get back in control?
If you’ve tried getting organized before and have given up because it just seemed like you weren’t making any progress, you’re not alone.
Brenda (not her real name) called me in a state of frustration, hoping that I could help her declutter in Bothell, Washington. She had all kinds of shelving, all kinds of storage baskets and all kinds of things needing to be stored, but somehow the project just wouldn’t come together.
This is not uncommon!!! When Brenda called me at Moving Forward for help decluttering, she expressed her frustration this way:
“Every time I start sorting my paper, I get distracted and start reading the articles I saved.“
“It seems like all I am doing is moving things from one pile to another.”
“It seems like my sorting projects always end when I get to stuff that I just can’t figure out what to do with it. “
Do any of these decluttering challenges sound familiar?
One of the most common reasons people get frustrated and overwhelmed is that they have taken on too large a project to complete in a single session. That certainly seemed to ring true for Brenda when she tried to declutter her office.
One of the fundamental rules of organizing is to choose a bite-sized project. Break a big project down into small pieces – very, very small pieces; something you can complete in 20 minutes.
Brenda burst out laughing when I suggested this. I know that such a tiny project seems ridiculous. But if you haven’t had success doing it your way, you might want to try a drastically different approach.
The decluttering plan…
We chose to work on the piles of paper on one end of her desk. We made a deal. We would set a timer for 20 minutes and she would focus on sorting papers into four categories: to do, to file, recycle, and shred with no reading allowed.
And it worked! After we shredded and put the recycle paper in the bin, Brenda had only two small piles of paper on that end of the desk.
And then we completed The Most Important Step of every organizing project. We took a moment to celebrate Brenda’s decluttering victory. We did a silly little dance and then Brenda dusted off her favorite paperweight and planted it, just like a flag on the beach. She stood up and declared, “I claim this desk space for me!”.
Silly? You bet!
Not only did this work for decluttering in Brenda’s office in Bothell, Washington, but it will work in your office too.
If you have a place in your life that needs decluttering, and it seems to be getting the best of you…Contact Moving Forward, we’ll help you get the job done and reclaim your space!
***originally published 10/18/11