Simple Tips to Lighten Your Load

posted by Andrea | 04/12/2011

Do you crave a simple, more organized home and life?

Do you dread the process of getting there?

Simplifying and organizing is a challenge for most people, but it is TOTALLY worth it in the end…I promise!! And letting go of excess “weight” {clothes, shoes, unused gifts, unneeded supplies, anything you don’t LOVE, etc.} is the first step to creating a simple, more organized life.


So how do you do it?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for any organizing project, but the steps below will hopefully motivate you to keep moving towards a simple, more organized home and life.

1. Visualize the end results.

Yes, sometimes this is difficult to do, but the more clearly you visualize your clutter free home, the easier it will be to get started. It is also helpful to remind yourself how great it will feel once you’ve “lightened your load” and have all kinds of extra space for the things you DO use, need, want, and love.

2. Prioritize.

Ask yourself what area of your home is MOST stressful for you…and then start in that room. Once you start purging, continue to ask yourself what things are most important to you.

3. Eliminate obstacles.

Here are some common obstacles I see when working with clients

Obstacle #1: Emotional Clutter

Purging anything with emotional ties is very difficult. If you find yourself in this situation, you might want to read my post about dealing with Keepsakes and Family Heirlooms or this one about dealing with Inner and Outer Clutter.

Obstacle #2: I want to sell it.

Unless you are super organized and have experience with hosting a garage sale or selling items on Craigslist, I can almost guarantee that you won’t ever get around to actually selling your things. They will simply sit in your basement or garage until you get sick of them and donate them.

My advice is to save a bunch of time and just donate everything now. Yes, you might lose out on a few bucks, but you’ll be done with it and have all that extra space.

Obstacle #3: What if I need it someday?

Odds are you probably WON’T need it someday! However, if you are seriously worried about needing it “someday”, then put the items in a box and label that box with a date 6 months from now. If you still haven’t used anything in the box in 6 months, then donate it.

4: Work quickly.

I always like to start with the quickest and easiest projects…just to get myself moving in the right direction.

For example, I might simply take out the trash, bring the recycling away, or load up the dishwasher. None of these jobs will totally declutter my home, but they make it instantly look better — which is key.

Another thing I often do with clients is to grab a laundry basket and fill it with everything on the floor in one room. Even though we still have to empty the laundry basket, it makes the room LOOK so much cleaner.

5: Build on your success.

I’ve said it a thousand times before, but I’ll say it again…

Set a timer for 15-20 minutes a day to tackle one small area of your home. Keep doing this day after day and you’ll be surprised how much you accomplish. Little by little you’ll lighten your load and create YOUR simple, organized life!

So what are you going to purge today?

 

{Top Image Credit}

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8 comments

  1. Anne

    04/12/2011

    I love the note you ended on: build on your successes. That’s great encouragement!

    [Reply]

  2. Damsel

    04/13/2011

    I agree about putting stuff in a box for six months… the trick is to NOT open the box after six months! Just haul it off and donate it!

    We are in the midst of decluttering in preparation for an overseas move. Thanks for the tips!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, definitely do NOT look in the box…just donate it! Good reminder — and good luck with your big move :)

    [Reply]

  3. judee@glutenfreeA-Z

    04/13/2011

    I love the timer idea. I could do 15 minutes.
    I think I’ll use it for lots of tasks I want to do but keep putting off like meditating, cleaning my car, even exercising. Who doesn’t have 15 minutes!
    Thanks for a great idea.

    [Reply]

  4. mom2fur (aka Clare)

    04/14/2011

    Great ideas! I’ve been working on clearing out our attic. I do a little at a time and donate quite a lot to the Salvation Army store. I’d rather be rid of it than deal with a garage sale! I’m working on a section at a time and try to donate holiday items in season. I’m just about done with the biggest section: Christmas stuff. And it’s finally starting to look like ‘something’ up there! I can see expanses of floor space! It really is a good feeling.
    Around the regular house, though, I’d say paper clutter is the worst. I try to stop at the recycle bin before I even take the mail into the house now.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Sounds like you’re making excellent progress Clare! I’m with you — I too would rather donate now then try to save it for a garage sale. It just feels so good to get rid of it and have all the extra space.

    And I always dump the junk mail before I walk into the house. It’s amazing how that has cut down on our paper clutter!

    keep up the great work!!

    [Reply]

  5. mom2fur (aka Clare)

    04/18/2011

    Thanks! A little at a time gets the job done!

    [Reply]

  6. Marie

    11/25/2011

    Great ideas! I just wanted to tell you how much you and your site has inspired me since I started reading a few weeks ago. So far I’ve cleaned out and organized my medicine cabinet, bathroom cabinet and today (this is a big one) cleaning out our master walk in closet. As I’m going through things that we moved from our apartment two years ago that I haven’t even seen in those two years, my former pack rat self is thinking “I like this, maybe well use it ONE DAY”. Then I remember what you always say about “if you don’t love it or use it, get rid of it.” so I’ve thrown away and donated so much today. Still a long way To go on my house but I’m so excited to see the results and not feel a sense of stress every time I open a closet or cabinet door. Thanks for providing such a wonderful site!

    [Reply]

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