HOW TO DECLUTTER WHEN IT FEELS OVERWHELMING
Welcome to part two of my decluttering deep dive! In part 1, I shared practical tips to make decluttering faster and easier. Today, I’m addressing what to do if you feel overwhelmed by the thought of decluttering and don’t know where to start. My simple tips and strategies will help you overcome this common decluttering hurdle and achieve decluttering success.
Break A Big Project Down Into Small Tasks
For some people, just the thought of decluttering is overwhelming and causes stress and anxiety. Often, this is because they’re looking at the project as a whole. But the key to tackling any major organizing project is to realize it’s just the sum of several small tasks.
Break a big project down into small, manageable tasks, and then begin on the first task, only focusing on it. When it’s done, begin on the second task, only focusing on it, and so on.
In stressful situations emotions take over, making it hard to focus and think. Creating small, manageable tasks to complete one at a time gives a sense of control and calm. It also provides lots of successes that build momentum and motivate you to keep going. It’s a simple strategy that transforms a project from overwhelming to achievable.
So, how do you break down large organizing tasks? I’m glad you asked!
5 Ways To Break Down A Large Organizing Project
1) Begin with a single drawer, cupboard, shelf or surface you use every day. It’s a project you can finish quickly that provides a daily reminder of how a decluttered space makes life easier. You’ll feel successful, gain momentum, and be motivated to take on larger tasks.
2) Tackle one type of item at a time. In a closet, focus on long-sleeved shirts one day, pants another, short-sleeved shirts another, until you’re done. In a bathroom, focus on hair products one day, skin products another, makeup another, until you’re done.
3) Declutter for a set period of time. Work on a space for 60, 30 or 15 minutes, whatever you think you can handle. Knowing there’s a set endpoint can make working through any stress and anxiety manageable.
4) Divide a room into sections. Focus on just one section for the day, for example, the northwest corner.
5) Start with the easiest items to declutter. Socks with no mates, broken toys and expired food. This strengthens your “letting go” muscle and gets you ready for bigger decisions and projects. For a free 1-page room-by-room guide of 65 items that are easy to declutter, click here.
Ask For Help Decluttering
Like most things, decluttering is easier when you have help! You’re more likely to follow through with a decluttering session you’ve planned to do with someone else. And having someone to provide support and motivation makes decluttering easier and less stressful. It can also make the time go faster!
Additionally, input from someone with no attachment to your possessions can help you see them more objectively. Being gently challenged on why you want to keep something forces you to think about what it means and how you use (or don’t use) it. This often results in letting go of many items your initial impulse was to keep.
Finally, the sense of touch is very powerful. The mere act of holding one of your possessions when deciding whether to let it go can cause you to become more emotionally attached to it. So having someone else do all the physical handling of your possessions, can increase the amount you declutter.
You can use a family member, friend or hire a professional organizer. Whoever you choose, make sure they understand your goals and will keep you focused and accountable.
Feeling overwhelmed is normal; the whole of most projects is overwhelming. Just remember, you achieve your decluttering goal one small, manageable task at a time, and a little help can make a big difference!
How do you deal with feeling overwhelmed when decluttering? Let me know in the comments below. Be sure to check back in two weeks when I’ll be sharing tips and strategies for dealing with guilt when decluttering. And if you like this post, please share it.