Too Busy to Declutter? I Think Not!
Time is valuable. We treasure it. We crave more. We need more. There isn’t enough time in a day to do everything we need to get done. That’s what they all said.
How is this possible? We have machines that do work for us (dishwasher, instant coffee maker, email/instant messaging, remote car starters) and help save us time yet we still complain of not having enough time.
I get it. People lead busy lives. Children, work, sports, chores, media, etc. There’s no getting away from it all to do what we should be doing – decluttering!
We don’t HAVE to declutter. But, if not having enough time is your excuse to not declutter, I’d like to challenge that.
If you’re one of the many who want to purge the household of items that serve no purpose but can’t seem to make the time, I hope this post helps.
But First, Why?
I think the first challenge is to ask yourself why do you want to declutter in the first place? If you have no reason to declutter and minimize, then the process is going to be that much more difficult because you will see no reason to get rid of things. Dig deep. Knowing why you’re decluttering in the first place will always be a good reminder and help you keep motivated!
Before anything, ask yourself a few questions:
- Does seeing clutter give you anxiety?
- Are you constantly distracted by your things?
- Do you want more time for yourself?
- Do you think you will feel better having less things?
- Do you want your house more livable without giving you a headache?
If you’ve mentioned yes to any of these questions, read on.
Words of Encouragement
As you begin to declutter, you’re going to feel a weight lifted off your shoulders and you’ll find more time in your schedule to do things you thought you never had time for.
Initially, the time investment of minimizing may seem a little painful and you may feel you’re not getting much done. But, pushing through and getting over that hump will result in such a clearer mind and the process will become easier and faster.
You can do this. Little by little, you can get through this.
There’s no rush or pressure. If you want to take a break, take a break. It’s really up to you what you want to take away from this experience!
**If you’re ready to start, make sure you have a few boxes or bags close by and separated by trash/donate/trade/sell**
Possessions are more of a distraction. They are a drain on our time and than most people realize. What does this mean? As alluded to before, they can be a cause of anxiety. Things are piled up and there never seems to be an end in sight of all the mess. When trying to concentrate on one task, you’re disrupted by the sight of everything around you wanting your attention. You grow impatient trying to find a bottle opener in your junk filled drawer which then makes you snap at the people around you. If this has never happened to you I would say you were a liar. Clutter (and mess) has gotten the best of all of us and you’re not alone on this one!
Finding Extra Time in the Day to Declutter
Before starting – have a plan of attack but make sure it is not too ambitious. For example: let’s say you want to go through all your books – perhaps don’t include magazines just yet. If you’re wanting to thin out your wardrobe, wait to do jackets and shoes another day.
Just know, you have to be willing to make sacrifices but no worries, this is not a forever thing)
1. Capitalize on the Day
Wake up 15 minutes earlier or stay up 15 minutes later and use this time to go through your sock drawer or the pile of papers on the kitchen table. Just start small since you only have 15 minutes.
2. Turn off all Distractions
Put your phone on silent mode, turn off the tv and computer and maybe just play some music for a set amount of time. This is your time to concentrate on what you want to do. Reclaim control of your life and don’t like distractions get the best of you.
3. Involve the Family
Sometimes it is difficult to be productive when children demand our attention. Instead of doing things on your own, it could be a great idea to get the family involved. Including your kids in the process can help them develop the minimizing skills at an early age (I went over to my sister’s to help her declutter a few things and we started off in my niece’s room. My niece was excited at first but later played on her own but, it was a start).
If you’re going to involve children in the process, they have to understand that once it’s out of the house, they will never be able to play with the toy again and this puts things in perspective for them. They should also learn that sharing is caring and that their things will go to someone who will cherish it as much as they did!
Enlisting the entire family to help will probably be the most beneficial during the organizing phase because everyone will know where things go!
On the flip side, you can send the kids away for a short time (playdate or to the grandparents!). Removing the parenting responsibilities for a brief period would allow you to accomplish much towards purging the house.
4. Declutter a Little Every Day and Throughout the Day
A little adds up! The opportunities are there. Think about sorting the washroom cabinet while your kids are taking a bath. While you’re waiting for timer on the oven to go off, quickly scan your junk drawer. Take 15 min right when you walk through your door after work to scan the shoes hidden in the closet.
5. Focus on One Small Task at a Time
Avoid feeling overwhelmed and start small. This kind of goes with finding those opportunities. In the end, celebrate those small wins!
6. Mark it in your Calendar
The positive effects of making this project/process a priority can only lead to good things. I love lists and I love checking things off once the task is completed so if this floats your boat as well, ink it in!
7. Focus on Efficiency
Make the decluttering process as quick as possible – this allows you to accomplish more and feel better about yourself. Don’t think about cleaning or organizing just yet. That will come in time and will be much easier when you have less to organize. Trust the process!
Sometimes while watching tv or walking through the house, I find myself scanning the shelves and drawers and I think about what can be removed from the house! It’s kind of a problem because sometimes I get consumed by it and it’s all I can think about. As much as I recommend doing this, please don’t obsess over it!
8. Create More Opportunities
If there is something you want, you will make time for it. This is no different from decluttering. Perhaps you can order takeout instead of preparing food, order groceries online and have it delivered, or skip a gym class (decluttering can be a workout especially if you have to go up and down stairs, carry bags/boxes, move things around etc.) The time you would have spent doing these activities can be spend decluttering instead!
It Is What It Is
If you still feel like you don’t have enough time to declutter and don’t seem to be making any progress, don’t stress over it. You will get there. This is your journey and your home so, you do you! If you ever get stuck and feel hopeless, just go back and remind yourself of your intentions and motivation of what got you here in the first place! Write it out if you have to! At the end of the day, whether you’ve decluttered a shelf or an entire room, it is all still decluttering
Decluttering gains momentum as you go along. The first step is to just get rid of something…anything. Unless you are forced to purge your home, there is no rush. If you want to make decluttering an enjoyable process, try slowing down. You are less likely to make mistakes you will regret later. Again, trust the process and know that the end result will be worth the effort!
Remember that any movement towards a goal will get you there eventually!