Declutter your life
Picture of By: Mary Sommer

By: Mary Sommer

Declutter your space, time and mind

This time of year is perfect to tackle decluttering  many aspects of our lives.  The days are short and the weather is frequently unpleasant in most parts of the country.  Being productive while staying inside is a win-win.

Decide on the “why” of your decluttering.  Use this as momentum and inspiration when you are getting frustrated.  The “why” can be anything as long as it makes sense to you.

The “how” of decluttering is outlined below and might surprise you in some area.  Remember!!! Decluttering is NOT Organizing but a huge necessary step towards organizing. 

Lastly decluttering is not a one-and-done event.  Decluttering must be repeated in all your areas.  The more frequently you declutter the less items/events etc you will need to declutter.

Why declutter?
Space “why’s” may include:
  • need to downsize/move
  • tired of tripping over items
  • can’t find what I’m looking for
  • no one has used (name here) in a long time
  • I have too many (fill in the blank)
  • my space causes me stress

Time “why’s” may include:
  • I hate running late
  • I want to spend more time (fill in the blank)
  • I never get to (fill in the blank) anymore
  • I need a more balanced life
  • I don’t get to spend enough with my family/friends 

Mind ‘why’s” may include
  • I can’t focus
  • I have too many things to remember
  • I am responsible for everything
  • I don’t know what to do next
  • I can’t get anything accomplished
  • I’m not a finisher

How to declutter

Start small; don’t try to tackle a whole room.  Start with a smaller area or even a drawer.  

  • Grab a trash bag
  • Empty the area
  • Toss the garbage
  • Box items to donate 
  • Return items that belong elsewhere to that area
  • Put like-items together
  • Do you have duplicates?  donate the extras
  • Do you have items you need longer need/use/want/out of date?  trash or donate
  • Clean the area and return items
  • Take out trash
  • Donate items
  • Congratulate yourself

  • Busy is NOT productive
  • Focus on the IMPORTANT : which will lead to achieving your goals;  versus the URGENT which frequently leads to achieving other’s goals
  • Tackle the Important first and don’t allow the Urgent to rule your calendar/time
  • Conduct a time audit on yourself
    • Spend a week recording how your spend your time – BE HONEST
      • include productive time, work/appts, fun time, social, spiritual, personal development, family time  and unproductive time
      • This helps give a clear picture of how your time is being burned 
      • Rebalance your schedule to include all of the above aspects but in healthier proportions
  • Audit your calendar for activities that are there “just because I’ve always done it”.  
  • Give yourself permission to eliminate events.  
  • Schedule  in down-time just like any other appointment
  • Make sure you build in travel time, prep time, etc between events.
    • It is unhealthy to  continually be running from thing to thing
  • Practice saying “NO”.  A great trick is to stall….  “ I need to check my calendar/talk to my spouse/check on my other commitments….. this gives you time to really think about the request and if it properly fits into your plans/goals etc.  
  • Delegate!!!  Family is quite capable of stepping up and taking over areas

  • Practice brain dumping weekly or even more frequently
  • Grab a pen and paper and write down everything you need to do, to remember, is worrying you, dates, events  etc
  •  Sort it into different lists, get dates on calendar,  eliminate the fluff, delegate when possible, defer if necessary
  • Practice planned ignoring. Choose to not address/think about certain items.
    • They may naturally fall off the grid or it will become evident you need a plan to address it. 
  • Use a project planner to map out how you will accomplish a project whether big or small 
  • Establish a ritual to mentally relax through tough times: baths, reading, exercise, mediation etc.