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How I Declutter

how I declutter guide

Decluttering for the win! I have implemented a 2-Minute anti-procrastination challenge for myself every Tuesday (2-Minute Tuesday). For this challenge, I choose one small thing that I need to do and have been putting off. Then, I work on it for about 2 minutes. It is amazing what I can accomplish in 2 minutes, but I think the bigger thing is that I shift my mindset.

One recent 2-Minute Tuesday involved decluttering one single desk drawer. Imagine my surprise when I found a $50 check in the drawer! A few weeks prior, I had rearranged my office and stored the check and a few papers in a drawer for safekeeping. Imagine what you could find or do with your own 2-Minute Tuesday. My 2-Minute Tuesdays have been devoted to decluttering (office, digital files, clothes, etc.)

Now, I'm about to get really real and share with you what I like to call "Kitchen Drawer #4". When I looked at the drawer, I felt this sense of overwhelm because there was just so much junk in there. That's the beauty of a 2-Minute anti-procrastination exercise. There isn't a lot of time to think about it - it is just 2 minutes of action. Last week, I shared how I am making use of some of the extra time I have during these days of social distancing and Gretchen Ruben’s mantra for decluttering. One of my lovely commenters asked how I used my Decluttering Guide. This is such a good idea! I am sharing my process (and the messy pictures). Plus, I figured if I like to see how others declutter, you might like to see how I am doing it, too!

I have found that I de-clutter best when I have a running list of things that need to be decluttered. I sit and brainstorm ideas. I keep this list because I find that when my time is unstructured, I can become really unstructured with what I do and get done (and that is okay for me sometimes, just not all of the time). I refer to my list when I need a little break or want to accomplish something quickly. This is where my guide comes in: it provides a place for you to record your own running list with some categories to serve as prompts for you. (You can get my decluttering guide here). For instance, under the "Other Items" category, I have the following groups of things I want to declutter:

  • Gardening items

  • Books

  • Makeup

  • Hair products

I will use the general categories of my list as a general guide for what needs to be decluttered. I then narrow it down further by placing a specific item or area on mini post-it notes. For instance, one of my “Other” categories is makeup. My mini post-it item is fingernail polish. One of my “Hobby or Craft Supplies” category is music. I have a lot of music since I play the piano. My mini post-it says “left side of music shelf”. Some of my other mini post-its for this day are location-based: kitchen drawer #4. Once the task is completed, I throw the post-it into my recycling bin. NOTE: I know that using all of this paper is not environmentally friendly; I have an extraordinary amount of post-it notes, so I am using what I have.

Decluttering is a personal endeavor because it can open up memories when you see pictures of loved ones or the items they purchased for you. It can also signal a simpler time - high school trophies, 5th-grade biographies. It can also bring up things you have moved on from or need to let go of - keeping/buying old furniture with the intention of repurposing it. I have learned that I need to keep my tasks small. Most of them will only take between 1 and 5 minutes. The “kitchen drawer #4” task seems a little more daunting because it’s the left-over drawer - lids to coffee mugs that have probably long disappeared, lids to other things, grilling supplies, and other random things. I keep the daunting items to a minimum each day because it helps me with overwhelm.

And now, I am sharing a video of my messy drawer (a.k.a., Kitchen Drawer #4) as well as the de-cluttered drawer. And who doesn't love a good before and after?

Additional tips that work for me:

  • Through all of this, I keep asking myself Gretchen's criteria: “Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it?”

  • I work on a very specific place or item (kitchen drawer #4 or fingernail polish). This helps me from feeling overwhelmed.

  • I throw away, recycle, or place the item I want to donate in my car immediately! I have been known to make a pile of stuff to do something with later :).

This process has worked well for me. I keep doing a little bit every day. I know that some people do better with decluttering things all at once. Try approaching decluttering with a curious mind - if this process doesn’t work, try something else. There isn’t one single way or approach that works for everyone!

Click here for the new and improved declutter checklist.



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