Myth: Decluttering or getting organized takes a brief time.
Reality: A major decluttering effort takes a lot of hours – most likely days.
We don’t collect piles of mail, stacks of magazines, wads of receipts, a variety of files folder, heaps of papers, towers of reports, and other clutter in just a few days. In most spaces it is years of accumulation that pile up resulting in clutter that is unsightly, distracting, a hazard, an obstacle or guilt-generating. Thus, undoing the jumble will probably be more than a few hours.
Let’s dwell on the decluttering and organizing rather than rehash the downside of clutter. If your space is cluttered or if you are around others who are cluttered, you know the downside vividly.
Decluttering then organizing takes time because many decisions have to be made about what’s worth keeping and how to dispose of the things ‘going away’. The good news is that you will create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for maintaining a clutter-free and organized environment as you declutter in a mass effort. This SOP will help you maintain a streamlined handling habit for the long term.
Some of the time devoted to decluttering then organizing is rooted in handling most of the things in the room. Simply picking every item up and moving it to its appropriate place takes a lot of time when there are masses of stuff.
Prepare for your decluttering project by having:
Here are some guidelines to help you develop your own SOP toward decluttering.
The process is:
Note: I have worked on some of the t.v. organizing shows (HGTV Mission: Organization), talked to others who have done episodes, participated in t.v. specials locally and can accurately report there is a large team of people or long time dedicated to making the transformations that take 30-60 minutes on the shows. Furthermore, often the homeowners are cleaning up, not creating SOPs that will allow them to handle stuff in a streamlined way resulting in a clutter-free space for the future.
Finally, organizing and decluttering is a continual action. Like eating healthfully to maintain your weight and exercising regularly to keep fitness, organizing is a part of every day. Every time you check your email, buy things, and receive paper mail you will benefit by keeping only what is vital.
Susan Sabo is an intrepid traveler who has organized her life to be out of the country for months at a time. Antarctica is the only unvisited continent (so far). She’s the author at www.productivitycafe.com
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