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You have tried a thousand times before to get rid of the clutter in the house, but it keeps coming back. How on earth do you not just get rid of it–but keep the clutter gone for good?
Honestly I am still working on this problem too, but I am getting closer to the “livable” clutter free home I keep as a goal in my head. I emphasize livable because I am not aiming for zero clutter, instead I guess I would say an 85% clutter free home.
I can’t see my family ever not having a small pile of clutter here and there–it just doesn’t suit our creative personalities. I can, however, see a day when the thought of a guest opening up the attic door no longer fills us with fear. In fact, each day we get a little closer to that happening.
How To Stay Motivated And Kick Clutter To The Curb For Good
Have A Clear Vision
Did you see those important words in the opening paragraphs? Let me repeat them: “but I am getting closer to the “livable” clutter free home I keep as a goal in my head.”
You can easily swap the word “goal” for “vision” in that sentence–especially since the goal is extremely visual, at least it is for me. When I close my eyes I can see what I desire my home to look like when I reach my goal level of clutter removal.
The kitchen counters will be clear of all but a few daily essentials, the cupboards will have space in them. The attic, oh that dreaded attic, will be clear of all but a few bins full of Christmas decorations and camping gear. You will be able to walk into our shed, see exactly what you want, grab it and exit without stepping over things or fear of things falling on you.
As I said, my family isn’t there yet, but we get closer every day because I know what the finish line looks like and when you know the direction you are racing towards it makes it easier to race it.
Keep The Vision Alive
Life is busy! Decluttering is time consuming and sometimes very emotionally draining. There are so many other things that we could be doing than attacking our clutter so why bother?
Don’t give in to this train of thought. You are worth it! A decluttered home is a haven at the end of the day, a cluttered one just adds stress.
Stay motivated to reach your clutter free vision by talking to friends in the trenches (my decluttering Facebook group is a great place to find some). Read all you can get your hands on about decluttering (find more about that at the bottom of this post). Make a vision board of your ideal home on Pinterest. Not your dream home necessarily, but pictures of rooms with just the right amount of clutter for your life. Rooms that you look at and go, “Oh, I could so relax there,” “Wow, I would love to serve my loved ones a meal in that room.”
Create A Plan And Stick To It–Or Change It To One You Can Stick To
With a vision in hand and a way to keep it alive you now need to do the work. This is the hardest part. As I have said before, decluttering isn’t fun. It is often mind numbing. Items can tug at our hearts in much more powerful ways than they should and sometimes what we find under the clutter or in it can be downright nasty.
This is where having a plan can help. A plan can give us the discipline we need to touch the hard and boring stuff.
There are so many ways to declutter, here are a few to get your mind whirling about what would be the best plan for you:
- Clean one area a week for 52 weeks. You decided how big or small the area
- Get rid of a certain number of items each and every day. Could be as small as 1 item to as much as 20 or more.
- Attack one room of your home every Saturday until you are done.
- Clear an entire week in your schedule and attack all the public areas of your home so you can stop being embarrassed by your home and open it up to friends and family again. Do the private areas a little at a time.
Keep Attacking It For The Rest Of Your Life
I am sure I am not the only one with chronic health problems and here is the thing that hit me one day: clutter is a chronic HOUSE problem.
One of my chronic health problems is low iron. Doesn’t sound like a big problem, but when I stop taking my daily iron pill I slowly spiral to the point where I live my day in a fog and can’t concentrate on a thing. That is a problem!
Sometime in my 30s I finally learned that when my iron levels reach healthy levels I can’t say, “Well that problem is taken care of,” and stop my iron supplements. I can cut them back to a lower level, but I can’t stop. When I do I lose weeks of precious time to brain fog.
Clutter is the same. It isn’t ever really gone for good. We are constantly accumulating new things. Things are constantly wearing out or we lose our need for them.
Treat clutter like a chronic health problem; create a plan to keep it at bay for the rest of your life.
For me that means committing to filling a box full of items to give to a local thrift store each and every month. It also means taking one month a year to go through our home from top to bottom to gather things to sell and then what doesn’t sell goes to the thrift store.
So you need two decluttering plans, one to beat it back to acceptable levels and another to keep it that way. When you develop those two plans you will achieve your vision of a clutter free home and you will have kicked clutter to the curb for good!
Some Great Books To Help Keep You Motivated
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing