Tips for de-cluttering when you’re buried under a HUGE pile of crap

declutter exclamation – word in vintage letterpress wood type printing blocks stained by color inks

Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the clutter that surrounds you? This has been a hot topic in my house lately because with everything that has been going on the past few months, I couldn’t keep my usual organization routines (rightfully so, I just published a book!). But it’s at a point where it’s become unmanageable and I’m causing myself unreasonable stress. So for the past week, I’ve been on a de-clutter rampage, and while I have quite a ways to go, I’ve made some significant progress.

Since clutter build-up is almost a never-ending process, I figured this week I’d share my tips on some ways to get started on a massive clean-up project, by sharing how I do it. Now, of course there’s no right or wrong way, but it is a strategy that can get you moving if you need some inspiration:

Step 1: Assess

I’m a fan of making lists first for all the things I think I need to do. I am the type of person who will easily get distracted and will divert my attention to something else as it arises, and because I’m a visual person, not having things on a list cause my brain to hurt because then I am forced to keep a mental note (which in most cases is never successful). I also usually need a “warm up” before diving into a big project, so this is a great way to get things moving. So first, take some time to furiously write down everything you can think of that needs to be decluttered. If you’re a more visual person, you might want utilize post-it notes, or a big whiteboard. I used my project management software that I also use for my business, Asana, to jot everything down.

Step 2: Chunk it Down and Organize

Once you have the overwhelming list of all the things that need to be cleaned up, start breaking them down into smaller tasks that can be completed in reasonable time chunks (anything under 3 hours, ideally 1 hour). Then organize your list in order of priority. Bonus steps: if you’re a planner, you could further categorize if some projects). And you can potentially add target dates as well!

Step 3: Execute

When you commit to executing, I highly recommend to NOT be overambitious and pack your daily to-do list to anything more than three things to complete in a day. We all know unexpected things arise every day that might require immediate attention, and taking on too much will set you up for failure. If you completed step 2, you know what your priorities are and if you can complete those three tasks, you have the option to move onto the next. Also, as you execute, if a new task arises that isn’t extremely important, take a minute to add it to your big list and take some time to throw it into the priority order when you have time.

Hope that helps – have a fantastic weekend!

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The Cheerful Mind