by Kerri Richardson, author, lifestyle designer, and coach
Clutter clearing can seem like a never-ending battle. How do you get started? Where do you even begin?
Clutter is so much more than piles of things around your home. It’s an energy drain, a constant nuisance interrupting your productivity, and a physical representation of what’s not working in your life.
When you consider how much is tied up in your clutter, it’s no wonder you can quickly feel like you’re drowning. The fastest way to feel relief is to get going on the physical clutter that is bothering you the most.
Once you’ve identified what that is, use these five strategies to get back in charge of your stuff and stop letting it rule you:
- Set realistic expectations. Instead of waiting until you have a free day to clean out your bedroom, find a window of time to go through one dresser drawer. Your resistance will always win if you expect yourself to do a large project all at once.
- Use a focusing tool to keep your eye on the prize. My favorite is the Pomodoro Technique. It’s a simple strategy: First, eliminate any distractions. Shut down your email. Silence your phone. Let your family know you’re busy. Then sit down to the task at hand and set a timer for 25 minutes. Begin your sort and stay the course for the full 25 minutes. When you find yourself distracted (and you will), come back and remind yourself that a break is coming as soon as the timer goes off.
- Have a journal or notebook handy. Often, the first clutter you need to handle is your monkey mind. Your resistance will chime in and tell you all the reasons you should be doing something else. Jot this noise down. Get it up and out of your body. This might be how you spend the first 10 minutes of your Pomodoro round or it might end up being how you spend the whole round. It’s all good. You’re still clearing clutter.
- Sort into three piles. When you begin going through items, don’t get caught up on finding homes for things. Just sort. Put items in one of three piles: Keep, Maybe, Donate. By using just these piles, your sort will go much more quickly and you’ll soon experience the satisfaction of progress. With clutter, the success is in the action, not the outcome, so starting in this way fuels your fire to keep going.
- Get rid of the Donate pile asap. After your sorting (whether just one round or more), send your donation pile off as soon as possible. Put it in your car to drop off somewhere, schedule a pickup, or ask someone who might be interested in the items to come get them by a certain day. The sooner you get these items out of your house, the sooner you open up the channels for abundance to pour in, in all its forms.
If you struggle to clear clutter using the strategies above, consider how you might be benefitting from keeping it. There must be a payout otherwise it would be gone.
Here are just some examples of the role clutter might be playing in your life:
- Is it helping you to avoid playing bigger in the world?
- Is it validating the negative beliefs you have about yourself?
- Is it a handy excuse to not take action on something that feels scary?
It’s these deeper questions that will help you get to the real reason for your stubborn clutter and can actually help you heal areas of your life you’ve likely long struggled with.
So pick that area, set that timer, and dig in!
About the author: Kerri Richardson is a lifestyle designer, trained coach, and author of the new book, What Your Clutter Is Trying to Tell You. She has worked with thousands of people throughout her career, helping them identify and eliminate the clutter in their lives and challenging them to play bigger, shatter expectations, and fulfil their vision. You can find her online at www.kerririchardson.com