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The Most Valuable Tips for Anyone with Too Many Things at Home

The Most Valuable Tips for Anyone with Too Many Things at Home

Social Headlines: 1. You Can Have 1000+ Things Stuffed in Your Home But It Still Looks Neat. 2. A Quick Guide to Be A Home Decluttering Master 3. Home Decluttering Is A Piece Of Cake If You Know These Tricks 4. You Don’t Need A Maid to Declutter Your Home. Do These Instead. 5. No More Mess Around. Home Decluttering 101.

Most people have at least a little bit of clutter in their homes, those spots that are a little embarrassing, that feel unmanageable and are a consistent source of frustration.

Many others have whole rooms full of stuff they don’t use, things they think they might need someday so they are hesitant to throw it out, leaving whole sections of their home unusable for their intended purposes.

Still others have homes full of so many things they are unwilling to have people over, can’t easily navigate their space and can’t find the things they need when they need them.

Clutter on any level can bring about feelings of overwhelm and stress, with the added burden of not knowing where to start or what to do when they want to declutter.

How to Declutter Once and for All

Whether you have a few problem areas in your house or a building full of stuff that needs to be dealt with, the good news is that you can organize your home once and for all and make it a lot easier to keep it clean and decluttered.

These general suggestions and room-by-room guide offer simple solutions to help you get started right away and keep going with confidence.

Start with a Vision

    No matter which decluttering method you use, from Marie Kondo to the hanger flip method,[1] it’s important to start with a vision of what you want your spaces to look and feel like when you are done.

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    Think back to when you first moved into your house or apartment. What did you want it to look like? How did you want to feel walking in the front door? Let those ideas and feelings guide you as you make decisions when you declutter.

    Another good way to do this is to think of three adjectives you wish could describe an area of your home. Maybe you want the bedroom to be calm, romantic and cool, or the office to be organized, creative and open. Whatever your adjectives are, write them down and go back to those ideas as you go through the process.

    Make a List

    Sometimes when a job feels to overwhelming, it helps to make a list of all the little things you need to do to get to your goal or to finish a project. It’s the same when you declutter.

    Walk around the house or the room you want to start in and write down the things that need to be dealt with. In the bathroom, for instance, you might need to dispose of old makeup and medicine, get a bigger laundry hamper so people stop throwing their dirty clothes on the floor and clean out the linen closet.

    Having a list of smaller jobs is helpful because as you declutter you can mark things off the list, which gives you a sense of accomplishment and momentum.

    Start with the Spot Where It Annoys You Most.

    One of the best things you can do in any room or space you are trying to declutter is to start with a small area that really annoys you.[2] That spot where the junk mail always lands. The chair where people dump everything. Your bedside table piled high with too many books.

    Set a timer for 10 minutes and deal with that space. Step back and notice how much better it looks and how much better you feel.

    Cross it off your list and do something else.

    Remember, too, not to try to do it all at once. Some things are quick fixes,[3] and some will take longer. Depending on the level of clutter, it can take a day to a week or more of consistent work to declutter a space. Slow, consistent improvement is better than making good progress working hard for a day or two then burning out and never finishing the job.

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    Some people like to start decluttering at the door or entryway to a room and work around. Others start with flat surfaces or the floor first, then move to bookshelves and storage pieces.

    Another way to look at that is to start big[4]— kitchen counters, the top of the bed, the floor —and move on to smaller places and inside drawers once the major visible stuff is dealt with.

    Know What to Keep and What to Ditch with Four Bins

    A popular method to declutter any space involves four bins/boxes/bags. One is for trash, one for things you want to give away, one for things to keep in that room and one for things to keep that belong elsewhere. As you work your way around the room, everything goes in one of these bins.

    How do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of? Things that are broken, don’t fit or haven’t been used in the last year are easy choices to toss. Some people like to touch everything and only keep the things that spark joy or make them feel good.

    Moving everything out of a space and only putting back what really fits and what needs to be in that room is another great method. Imagine you are packing to move; would you want to take that thing with you? If not, get rid of it.

    Declutter Room by Room

    There are different methods that can help you declutter different areas of your home. Here are some things to think about and remember as you go through different parts of the home.

      Kitchen: Get rid of appliances, serving pieces, vases and other items you don’t use (even if someone got it for you as a wedding present). Get rid of plastic containers without lids, or lids without containers. Cull old spices and expired food. Think about how many coffee mugs and other items you really need and can easily store. Try to take everything out of cabinets–do this in sections if you need to–so you can really see what you have, what you use and how to better store it. Try to put things away near where you use them.

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        Bathrooms: Clear out old makeup and medicines, disposing of medicine properly. Get rid of torn or faded towels. Clear counters, cabinets and drawers of things you never use. Only leave things on the counter that you use on a daily basis, and organize them so your morning and evening routines will be easier. Make room for a candle and light it regularly as you’re winding down in the evening.

          Bedroom: Your bedroom should be a sanctuary, but more often it’s a dumping ground. Clear out things that don’t belong. Make spaces as clear as possible. If you store bills and paperwork in the bedroom, at least put them in a pretty box so you don’t have to look at them every night. Think about hotel rooms; that’s how you want your bedroom to feel. Don’t forget to go through drawers and under the bed.

            Kids’ rooms: Kids are hard because they want to keep everything. Do your best to encourage them to get rid of toys and books they no longer use, as well as anything that is broken (that’s good advice throughout the house). Make sure what returns to the space actually fits and is stored in a way that the child can clean up themselves.

              Living rooms: Whether you call it the living room, family room or den, this is a space that should be relaxing as well. Declutter things that don’t belong, accessories you don’t love and toys that aren’t played with or could go elsewhere. Some amount of decorating is fine, but don’t cover every surface with stuff.

                Office: If you have a home office, it’s probably a catch-all for all the random stuff you don’t know what to do with. That makes decluttering easier in a way but harder, too, because this is stuff you think you want to keep but don’t really have a place for. Be relentless and only keep things you love or really need.

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                  Guest room: Much like your bedroom, the guest room should be as hotel-like as possible. It’s often seen as an extra storage space, but you don’t want your guests to feel like that.

                  Decluttering Is Only the Beginning, Maintaining Tidiness Is the Key

                    Doing a major declutter is a great step, but maintenance will have to be done regularly to keep it up. The good news is it never takes as long as that first time, and you’ll be really motivated to keep your space in good shape once you’ve seen what it can look like.

                    It ‘s a good idea to go through clothes, books, toys and other items at least once a year to get rid of the things you aren’t using.

                    A one-in, one-out rule can help keep clutter under control because you aren’t adding things to your home without taking other things away.

                    Keep track of items you still tend to lose by having dedicated spaces for them or using a device like TrackR .

                    And spending some time each week resetting your problem areas should keep your house looking and feeling great for the long term, which is why you wanted to declutter in the first place.

                    Reference

                    More by this author

                    Sarah White

                    Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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                    Last Updated on April 23, 2019

                    How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

                    How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

                    Stretch goals are a lot like physical fitness. When you adopt a physical sport such as running, continual practice leads to increased stamina, growth and progress.

                    While commitment to the sport improves performance, true growth happens when you are stretched beyond your comfort zone. I know this from personal experience.

                    For years, I was an avid runner. I ran with a variety of running groups in the Washington, D.C., area and in Columbus, Ohio, where I lived prior to moving to the nation’s capital in 2011.

                    While I was initially fearful about slacking off on my exercise habit when I moved to D.C., running enthusiasts in the area provided continual motivation, inspiring me to lace up my shoes day after day. Much to my surprise, many of the area’s running stores (including Pacers and Potomac River Running) boasted running groups that met in the mornings and evenings. So, it was relatively easy for a newcomer like me to connect with like-minded peers.

                    I was never a particularly fast runner, but I enjoyed the afterglow of the sport: being completely drained but feeling a sense of accomplishment; setting and reaching goals; buying and wearing out new tennis shoes. The sound of throngs of feet pounding the pavement in semi-unison is still enough to bring tears to my eyes. Yes, I sometimes tear up at the start of races.

                    Of all the groups I ran with, the Pacers Store group that met on Monday nights in Logan Circle boasted the fastest runners. I met up with the group week after week only to be the slowest runner. It was difficult to muster the courage to get up every week and meet the group knowing what was waiting for me: sweating and watching the backs of fellow runners.

                    Each time I joined the group, I was stretching myself without even realizing it. Instead of feeling like I was transitioning into a better running, for a long time I felt I was torturing myself.

                    Then something remarkable happened. I went for a run with a different set of runners and noticed my time had improved. I was running at a faster pace and doing so with ease. What was once uncomfortable for me I now handled with ease.

                    The reason I was becoming a better runner was because I was taking myself out of my comfort zone and challenging myself physically and mentally. This example illustrates the process of growth.

                    Fortunately, we can create situations that stretch us in our personal and professional lives.

                    What Is a Stretch Goal?

                    A stretch goal – as authors Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller and Kelly E. See detail an article “The Stretch Goal Paradox” in Harvard Business Review[1] – is something that is extremely difficult and novel. It is something that not everyone does, and it’s sometimes considered impossible.

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                    In general, you establish stretch goals by doing things that are difficult or temporarily challenging.

                    For instance, when I was first promoted to a senior communications management role, I knew I needed to beef up my relationships with media personalities. I set a goal to once a month book a day of media interviews in New York City – which is home to many media outlets, including SiriusXM radio, CNN, NBC News, HuffPost, VIBE.

                    This was a huge goal because it meant not only identifying the right people to meet with but convincing them to meet with me and my team. While I didn’t end up meeting the goal of doing a full day of media interviews in New York City, I met more people than I would have met had I not established the goal and instead stayed in the comfort of my D.C. office.

                    It is important to note that just because you establish a stretch goal doesn’t mean you’ll achieve the goal each time. However, the process of trying is guaranteed to provide some level of growth.

                    The Importance of Creating Stretch Goals

                    The beginning of the year is a perfect time to assess where you are excelling and where there is room for you to grow. I typically start the year by creating a yearlong strategic plan for myself.

                    I think about the things that are necessary to do and things that would be cool to do. I assess the people I should know and think through how to meet them. Then I ask myself if the goals are realistic and what would need to happen for me to achieve them.

                    Over time, I have learned that there are five things I can do to set stretch goals:

                    1. Get Outside of Your Head

                    If I exist within the confines of my imagination, I imperil my own growth and creativity.

                    If I examine my accomplishments and celebrate them in isolation of others’ accomplishments, my vantage point is limited.

                    I want to be comfortable with what I accomplish, but I also want to be motivated by watching others. In some respects, stretching is about expanding your network of friends, associates and mentors. These are the people who will propel or slow your growth and development.

                    Since two are better than one, I always value being able to share my progress with others, seek feedback and then map a plan for success.

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                    2. Focus on a Couple Areas at a Time

                    When setting goals, it is important to focus on a couple of areas at a time. Most of us are only able to focus on a few things at a time, and if you feel you are unable to tackle all that is before you, you may simply disengage.

                    I see this in so many areas of life:

                    When people get in debt, if they believe the debt is insurmountable, they refuse to look at incoming bills for fear of facing down the debt. Unfortunately, many businesses go awry when setting stretch goals.

                    In “The Stretch Goal Paradox,” Sitkin, Miller and See note:

                    “Our research suggests that though the use of stretch goals is quite common, successful use is not. And many executives set far too many stretch goals. In the past five years, for example, Tesla failed to meet more than 20 of founder Elon Musk’s ambitious projections and missed half of them by nearly a year, according to the Wall Street Journal.”

                    Goal-setting is like a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t all need to happen at the same time, and pacing is extremely important if you want to get to the finish line. It is better to focus on a couple goals at a time, master them and then move on to the next thing.

                    3. Set Aside Time Each Year to Focus on Goal-Setting

                    When I was a managing director for communications for the Advancement Project, I spent the first part of every year facilitating a communications planning meeting.

                    The planning meeting began with the team members assessing the goals the team had established in the preceding year, and whether those goals were realistic or not. If we failed to meet certain goals, we broke down why that happened. From there, we brainstormed about possibilities for the current year.

                    For instance, one year we set a goal of pitching and getting 24 opinion essays published. This was audacious because no one on the eight-person team had the luxury of focusing exclusively on editing and pitching opinion essays to publications around the world. We would need to focus on pitching in between the rest of our work.

                    We hit this goal within the first eight months of the year. Remarkably, in total, we ended up getting 40 opinion essays published that year, which was an indication that our original goal was too low. We upped the goal to 41 the next year, and amazingly, we hit 42 published opinion essays or guest columns.

                    From this experience, we not only learned what was feasible, we also learned the power of focus.

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                    When we focused as a team on getting the commentary on our issues out in the public domain, we were successful. The key in all of this is that there was a ton of discussion around which goal we’d pursue and why.

                    Equally important, as a manager, I didn’t set the goals alone; the team members and I established the goals collaboratively. This ensured buy-in from each individual.

                    4. Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Model to Set Realistic Goals

                    S.M.A.R.T.

                    is a synonym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. For the sake of this article, the realistic portion of the acronym is most important.

                    While you want to set audacious goals, you want to ensure that they are realistic as well. No one is served by setting a goal that is impossible to accomplish.

                    Failing to meet goals can be demoralizing for teams, so it’s important to be sober-eyed about what is possible. Additionally, the purpose of setting goals is to advance and grow, not depress morale.

                    For instance, my team would have been discouraged had I begun the year asking it to pitch and place 40 opinion essays if we didn’t already have a track record of placing close to two dozen essays.

                    By using the S.M.A.R.T. formula, we were able to achieve all that we set out to do.

                    5. Break the Goal up into Small Digestible Parts

                    I am a recovering perfectionist. As a writer, being a perfectionist can be counterproductive because I can fail to start if I don’t see a clear pathway to victory.

                    The same is true with goal-setting. That’s why I join Lifehack’s fellow contributor Deb Knobelman, Ph.D., in noting that it is critically important to break goals into bite-sized chunks.

                    When I had a goal of doing daylong media meetings in New York City, I had to think through all the barriers to achieving that goal and all the steps required to meet the goal.

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                    One step was identifying which reporters, producers and hosts to engage. Another step was writing a pitch or meeting invitation that would capture their attention. Another step was thinking through the program areas I wanted to highlight and the new angles I could offer to different reporters.

                    Since reporters want to cover stories that no one else has written, I needed to come up with fresh angles for each of the reporters I was engaging. An additional step was thinking through who from my team I’d take with me to the various meetings.

                    I was clear that, as a talking head, as public relations reps are sometimes called, I needed the right spokesperson in order to land repeated meetings with different outlets.

                    A final step was thinking through what I needed to bring to each meeting and which reports, videos and testimonials would buttress our claims and be of interest to media figures.

                    As I walked through what was needed to bring my goal of doing daylong meetings to reality, I realized that not only was the idea within reach, but I was excited to tackle the challenge.

                    From that point until now, I have learned to break down goals into smaller parts and tackle the smaller parts on the path to knocking the goal out of the park.

                    The Bottom Line

                    These are my recommendations for setting stretch goals, and there are a ton of other resources to support you in the workplace and in your community.

                    For instance, LinkedIn’s Lynda.com platform has a wonderful suite of leadership development videos, including ones on establishing stretch goals. This is a paid resource but may be worth the investment if you lead a team or want to invest in tools for your own growth and development.

                    Featured photo credit: Avatar of user Isaac Smith Isaac Smith @isaacmsmith Isaac Smith via unsplash.com

                    Reference

                    [1] Harvard Business Review: The Stretch Goal Paradox

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