Now that we’ve covered how to get over ourselves and start cleaning, it’s time to pick a place to start. But how do you pick one place when your whole house is on the verge of being featured on Hoarders? The biggest step to decluttering: one thing at a time. You can’t go from 0 to 100 on one day, week,month, or even year.
Take this article for example. I posted it the other day in a rush to “get it out on time” and ended up taking it down for a bit. Why? Because I need to take it one step at a time.
The blog’s not disappearing, and my hope is that you don’t either. So I want to make sure I’m writing the best I can to really help you improve your life.
Here are some major things that can get in the way of our efforts:
We have ATTENTION DEFICIT CLEANING DISORDER.
We start in one room but move stuff to another room… Then start in that room but find something for another room.. before you know it you have a bunch of half cleaned rooms with nothing accomplished.
Want to hear something funny? My boyfriend was proofreading this post for me, and pointed out that I actually trailed off from this section on my own(did I mention I have ADHD?).
I proved my own point, in my own post, without even realizing it. That leads me to my next point:
We get DISTRACTED.
Attention Cleaning Deficit Disorder focuses on internal things: our own thoughts and minds. This section refers to getting distracted by external things, such as a pile of dishes or dirt on the floor.
As part of my mental health journey (more on that another day) I participated in a program called Dialectical Behavior Therapy. A big part of this program is to learn and use new skills to increase our ability to deal with life.
One of my favorite skills is rooted in staying focused. I’ve found it really helps me declutter my mind. It’s called , “One Mindfully”. This is where you make a conscious effort to focus on only one thing at a time. I do this by concentrating all my energy on that one thing I’m doing, and when my mind starts to wander I pull myself back.
Challenge: don’t think about a pink elephant.
What did you do? Exactly. This is how I pull myself back. I compare my distractions to a pink elephant. When my mind tells me to think about something else, I remember that elephant. That reminds me that I’m getting off track.
You will get to that pink elephant eventually. Just stay focused on the task you’re trying to achieve.
We feel like we’re fighting a losing battle.
The monotony of decluttering never goes away. There will always be dishes, laundry and random things to deal with. For us moms, it’s a fact of life and can easily leave us feeling overwhelmed. This triggers feelings of hopelessness and we get lost. We don’t know how to handle it.
According to Feng Shui, our homes are a mirror of what’s happening inside us. In order to clean house in our minds, we need to first declutter what’s around us.
Picking your poison
A messy house is a big contributor to the vicious cycle of depression and anxiety. We get stuck in our own thoughts and don’t know what to do.
There are many reasons behind picking ONE room (or area) to start with. Not only does it make things easier, it helps you feel more accomplished. You will actually see your progress. This will help break the cycle.
List it. Sit down and make a list of all the rooms in your house. Rate how they make you feel from 1 to 10, with 1 being happy, 5 being indifferent, and 10 being stressed to the max.
Now narrow it down. Pick 3 rooms that stress you out the most and then rate them again. I suggest looking at the one you want declutter most. If you’re struggling to pick one, write out the pros and cons of each.
If there’s a particular room that overwhelms you, pick one area of that room. Still don’t know where to start? Here are a few examples to get your gears turning.
Common problem areas
I’m guessing one of the rooms you picked is either the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room or entrance way. That’s because these are the most common places clutter accumulates. They’re lived in. We spend a lot of time there.
But we don’t have to clean the whole room right now. Just part of it. This may seem counter-productive, but it’s about breaking our problems down to bite sized pieces.
Now that you have a room picked out, zero in on the area you want to tackle first. Is it the sink? The stove? How about the counters, closets or dressers?
I am personally picking our command center>. This is something I found on Pinterest that keeps all your mail and papers in one spot. It’s supposed to be an organized system to prevent clutter. My favorite one is from Jenna Burger Design:
There’s a huge catch all bin full of papers and files for me to “get to later”. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m going to declutter it.
For me this means going through all the papers, taking the ones to file down into the basement(a lot of work in itself) and actually filing them.
I picked this area because I really don’t want to do it. Once I tackle it, I’ll feel better and more inclined to move on to the next spot.
Go through this list with your pros and cons and decide which spot you’re going to tackle. We’ll devise a plan to get to it tomorrow.