I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed.
My writing to-do list is obscenely long. Every single item on it is overdue. The desk is obscured by clothes and knick-knacks. The laundry basket is overweight. And the dishes in the kitchen sink are like sullen children sat for far too long in a bathtub.
There is clutter everywhere.
If you’re anything like me, clutter causes stress, weighs you down, and makes you even more unproductive — which only makes matters worse. But finding the time to declutter can seem impossible. How do you conquer the mess?
As I am a list-fanatic, my first reaction — after a good ten minutes of lying in bed feeling sorry for myself — was to grab a paper and pen, and start writing a list.
List #1 – What To Declutter:
- The entire house
- Writing commitments
- Editing commitments
The above list only made me feel worse. The problem is that it’s too general, so I didn’t know where to start and felt even more overwhelmed/stressed.
The only item on the list that I could easily tackle — my website — was the only one I managed to fix. (Cue compliments from you readers on the streamlined site design.)
My mistake was focusing on WHAT needed to be done, rather than HOW best to do it. So I started a second list.
List #2 – How To Declutter:
- Start small. Tackle one shelf, one cupboard, or one overflowing email inbox at a time. The mess didn’t happen overnight and it isn’t going to disappear overnight.
- Be unsentimental. If it hasn’t been used in a year and probably won’t be used in the next, throw it away.
- Be charitable. Can’t throw something away that’s still in good condition? Donate it to charity — a guilt-free way to get rid of clutter!
- Make quick decisions. Sorting and re-sorting will take forever. Trash it or keep it!
- The ‘maybe’ box. Anything on the fence gets put in a maybe box with a sell-by date. If that box isn’t opened by the sell-by date, everything inside goes into the bin.
- Create a system. Not having one is like trying to shovel snow while it’s still snowing: the clutter will just keep coming back.
- Celebrate victories. Cue pat on the back for doing the website!
There you go. I’m feeling better already!
What about you? Do you have any suggestions to add?