Resolutions are getting a bad rap lately, but setting goals for the new year is not a bad thing. It’s a great thing. The downside of resolutions is the self-shaming from the potential consequence of unmet goals, which leads to discouragement and then abandonment of the original resolution. Some serious drama.
However! If we set more realistic goals or at least footnote the broad, far-reaching goals then we have a greater chance of sticking with our program. For example, our resolution is to become the most organized person in the world and produce a home that rivals Martha’s. Ok, that’s fine. We will either have to staff up Downton style or annotate that goal , “yes, I want to have a home that rivals Martha’s, but I’ll be happy if I organize my mudroom this month” (I don’t have a mudroom but that’s probably the first place I’d tackle if I did).
In my pre-yoga teacher life, I was an organizer/space planner/life coach. I loved helping people release the stagnant energy of their home by eradicating the stuff. A resolution to clear out the clutter in our homes is such a symbolic and cleansing way to start a new year. Strike while the iron is hot and we can tackle a few areas of the home. If motivation starts to wane come february, who cares…we made some major headway. Removing the rummage is a healing action and a motivational tool. It can trigger a sequence of responses such as happiness and healthiness; we all want that!
This is our home detox.
Here are my tips for decluttering homes:
1. Choose a project
Establish how much time you have and how overwhelmed you are feeling. If you have a lot to tackle start small and work up to bigger projects. Allot the appropriate amount of time. If you have 30 minutes, clean out a junk drawer. A few hours in the evening, clear out a closet (you may need the next evening to put it back together), a couple of weekends go for the garage or basement. It’s not uncommon to get so fed up with something and tear it apart then get an hour through and realize it’s time to run to the bus stop and not return to the project for days or weeks. Be realistic about how much time you can dedicate.
This is especially important for the bigger jobs. Make arrangements in advance so you are ready to get started. Get a sitter, clear the calendar, schedule a donation pick-up and dumpster…whatever you need to do to reserve that time.
3. Purge before Purchasing
Before you organize, you must eliminate. In fact, don’t even allow organizing to cross your mind until everything has been cleared out. It’s tempting to dash out to the Container Store when you are excited about the promising results, but be patient. Get a trash bag, recycling bag, and donation bag and start getting rid of stuff: erasers, ratty shoes, goody bag swag, random mementos. Be harsh.
4. Stay Calm
As the saying goes, things get worse before they get better. As you are in the midst of your project, your world may seem to be crumbling. This is a great sign! It means you are making progress. Things truly look chaotic about halfway through because you are taking something apart only to rebuild something much better.
5. Measure & Plan
Once you have cleared out, decide what products you may need to keep the space working well. You may not need anything since you’ve done such a good job with purging or you may have storage items already laying around. Get creative organizing ideas online. If you need to purchase something, measure the space, even if it’s just for a drawer, and head to the store. Avoid making any extra work or using valuable time buying and returning.
6. Install & Enjoy Your New Efficient System
Clearing the clutter eliminates the stale energy in your home and allows room for new vitality. Liberate yourself from stuff.