Clutter, Clutter everywhere and no spot for a tree. Anyone else have this problem? It’s the holiday season, and it’s time to put up the tree. The only thing is, I have nowhere TO put up the tree. My house is a disaster, the clutter is once again out of control and I can’t for the world of me figure out how I’m going to get this place ready for Christmas decorating. And I’m not the only one. I spoke to a few friends and discovered that they feel the same way. We are all trying to figure out how to stash to stuff to make room for the tree, while secretly wishing that the stuff would just unjunk itself, leaving us only with the things we use and love. A few agreed hiring a maid would make things easier, but most of us acknowledged that before the maid could clean, we’d have to pick up everything and put it away. Does this sound familiar? If so, you need to de-clutter, too.
Don’t expect a miracle before Christmas – this isn’t a movie, you know. But you CAN make headway even as you are heading into one of the busiest season’s of the year. And I’ll help a little with it, too. I had this brilliant idea that I needed to set up another declutter challenge (one that wasn’t marred by foot surgery, making my efforts impossible as I was either too drugged up or in too much pain to be mobile). This time around my goal is to give you weekly tasks, culminating in a finale in May. And just in time for Christmas, I’ll also share tips on my facebook page, as well as on this blog.
Step 1: Put your goal in writing.
My May finale is going to be a garage sale, and all of the money made there is going to go towards something fun for our family. This way I can get the kids on board, as well as my husband. Plus I’m going to challenge my friends to do this and then come over to join in the garage sale if they want. This is key – you need to have an end-game goal. It can be a garage sale, a swap with your friends, a big charity donation, a certain number of bags out of the house by then, or a vision of what your home will look like. I think that I would like to put the money towards a trailer for camping with our family. I had a sucky year due to the car accident I was in, and next year I’m determined to turn that around. Camping is a great affordable family activity, but chances are my tenting days are now over. This goal will allow me to be out with family and friends next summer, instead of at home on my own like this past year. So I’m motivated to make some money – and the more I let go of, the more I might make. Figure out what works for you, put that goal in writing and put it somewhere visible like your refrigerator door or your bathroom mirror. If you want to take it a step further, include a picture or a collage to help you visualize why de-cluttering is important to you.
Step 2: Make a Plan – a room by room approach.
With Christmas fast approaching and the clutter being more than overwhelming, you need a plan. People who come to your home are there to see you, not your stuff. But even still, we want our stuff to at least look tidy. My advice for starting this process is to list the rooms that people will see – the more public places of your home – and focus on these. In our home that is our front room (the worst of the lot as it’s currently a playroom/dumping ground for stuff I don’t know what to do with even though it’s the first thing people see when they come to my home), then the kitchen, the main bathroom and lastly our back room. Rate these room in order of which needs the most help. Start with number one. For me that will be my disaster of a front room. I know that it’s often said to do the smallest, easiest room first, but I tend to put off what I don’t want to do and I know I’d put this off until it was too late. Besides, after I tackle this baby, the rest will be easy-peasy.
Given that there isn’t much time to get things done before Christmas, you need to keep it simple. Clear the surfaces, wash the surfaces, put back only that which you know you need. You can check here for a post on questions to ask yourself when you declutter. Leave the hidden clutter in the rooms until after the holidays. We will get to that stuff. I promise. And if you have stuff that needs organizing/extra sorting, I’m giving you permission to put it in a box, hide it in a closet and we’ll get to it in January. I promise.
Step 3: Prepare Your Declutter tools.
Have a system set up to help you move quickly. Setting up a declutter area, complete with boxes is really helpful, as is having a cleaning solution and a bunch of rags handy so you can easily wipe down surfaces. You can read my post about this here.
Step 4 – Create a Block of Time to Declutter.
You can do this on your calendar, your online scheduler or however you want. The important thing is that your write down times you will work on this project so that you actually do it. Once you’ve got everything ready, and you have a plan in place, things will come together. You want it to be time you can focus. No tv, nobody to get in your way, nothing to hold you back. You would be amazed at how much you can do in an hour ( ore even just fifteen minutes) when you are focused.
So, are you ready to get going? Are your sorting boxes labeled? What will be your area of first focus and did you block out down time to get to it? I’d love for you to share in the comments to help get everyone motivated.