One of the biggest challenges to decluttering is knowing where to begin. If you are facing a whole-house declutter, it can be overwhelming. The advice to “just pick something and start” is not bad, and it is certainly better than nothing.
However, if you just jump in anywhere and start, you may find yourself coming back to the same area again. Or you may find you are decluttering separate areas, but because you can have the same item in multiple locations throughout your home, you may still have clutter.
Add to that the numerous excuses we can all give to postpone getting started on any task we do not want to do. I know my apartment was never as clean as when I had an exam or paper due. Clutter and dust didn’t bother me until I needed to focus on studying, and I felt I “had” to take care of it first or I couldn’t concentrate.
No matter what excuses you tell yourself, you can get yourself going by following these 6 tips:
- Do not begin with anything sentimental. These are the hardest items to choose to release, and you need to save them for later, after your declutter “muscles” are better developed.
- Do not begin with any area that has an overwhelming amount of items in it. If your closet is packed, your book shelves are groaning with books or your desk overflowing with papers that may be too much to start with. Pick a smaller area.
- Your kitchen or bathroom may be a good place to start, depending on your preferences. If you like to cook, the kitchen won’t work. But go bigger than one drawer in your dresser or desk. Tackle the entire dresser or desk!
- Don’t wait until everything is “perfect” to begin. Yes, you’ll need trash bags and boxes to sort out the trash and get rid of items, but don’t think you have to have the perfect storage solution in place for the remaining items. Work with what you have to get started. You WILL find excuses not to begin, so pick a day and a time, write it on your calendar and begin.
- If you have a partner, do not begin with areas that are used by both of you, especially if they are resistant to decluttering. Pick an area that is yours.
- Add in things that make you happy: music that energizes you, a favorite beverage to sip on, a small snack to keep you going. Make the experience more pleasant so you don’t dread getting started.
The thought of decluttering can be overwhelming, especially if you need to go through your entire house. Don’t let that thought stop you. Use the tips that help you decide where to start and then just BEGIN.