Did you include “decluttering” in your 2019 resolution list? Maybe it’s some variation on that, such as “get organized” or “get rid of stuff”. Either way, the bottom line is, you want to clear space in your home. Fantastic!
What’s your motivation? I can almost hear you say, “Wait, what: why are you asking this, isn’t it obvious?” Well, not exactly… folks have all kinds of personal reasons why they want to declutter. Certainly, the end goal is the same: less stuff, more space. But our “whys” are quite unique to us. They represent the motivation we have to achieve a decluttering goal.
So today, I’m chatting about the importance of creating a personal charter for decluttering because this motivational tool will keep you going when you don’t feel like it. (and trust me, that’s gonna happen)
Inertia is a standard show stopper…even before you get started!
If decluttering was easy, we’d all be minimalists by now! Sadly, this is not the case. Like other universal goals, such as losing weight, exercising regularly or eating clean, we start a new year with these desires in mind. But getting started is often the biggest obstacle for us. Overcoming inertia is a real ordeal because it’s one thing to talk about what we want to achieve but an entirely different thing to actually do it. Consequently, this is where crafting a written motivation statement for yourself is key.
When you’ve done things a certain way for a while, creating a new habit is going to take determination. This is why you want to paint a picture of what you are yearning for. Start with the basic goal of decluttering. What does it mean to you? When you look around your home with fresh eyes, what is it that you want to accomplish? What is it that you’d like to change…and most importantly, why? The answers to these questions will form the basis of your personal decluttering manifesto!
Motivation to keep everything in its place
For example, consider Janet who is habitually late for everything. She struggles to get out the door because she’s never quite sure where to find her keys, her phone or her sunglasses. She rarely entertains because her house is in a perpetual state of disarray.
Her motivation to declutter is organization. The statement she may jot down sounds something like “I want to declutter because I’m stressed out every day, trying to find things. I’d like to have friends over more often but I’m embarrassed to let them see how chaotic my house is.”
When Janet glances at her decluttering statement daily, this incentivizes her to get going. It fortifies her to keep going. In other words, it breaks the general goal down into deeply personal, specific desires which resonate with her. That’s the power of Janet’s motivational manifesto!
Moving out of our comfort zone takes effort!
Setting aside dedicated time in our day to declutter means disrupting our regular routine. We tend to be creatures of habit. Shaking up the status quo is not easy, particularly when it will possibly involve minor (let alone major) discomfort. We may be able to start with the best of intentions. But are we still going at the end of January? Is decluttering occurring in February? How about July? Hence, documented motivation is a critical element to insure we consistently form and develop a decluttering practice.
If we are honest with ourselves, we can definitely carve out 15 minutes a day for a focused decluttering session. This translates into zeroing in one a small area like a counter, a drawer or a cabinet. 15 minutes may not sound like much time to accomplish something but you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you start to see things shaping up in your home after a couple weeks. Short but focused sessions are a great way to ease into restructuring our day.
And when you have that occasional (or frequent) urge to skip a session? Refer back to your motivation manifesto to remind yourself why you’re doing this. In fact, track your completed sessions on a calendar. You’ll see in black & white (or with colored stars?) the days you decluttered. You won’t want to stop now!
Detaching from irrational attachments is hard!
Sentimental belongings are among the hardest things to declutter! Letting go of things we received from our loved ones, acquired on epic travels or earned during a long-term career are just a few examples. Releasing these items feels like we are rejecting the value of their source. Of course, we know this is not the case. But separating the item from the memory takes time and effort. Once again, this is where your motivational charter comes to the rescue!
Motivation to keep only the best
Consider Stephanie’s tendency to cling to boxes crammed with every piece of art created by her now adult children. Tossing any feels sacrilegious! How does she manage to make sorting decisions that support her decluttering goal? She starts with referencing her decluttering manifesto for some much needed motivation.
In her case, she is decluttering in advance of a downsizing move. Aha! Knowing that she will have limited space helps guide her towards selecting a finite number of pieces to display in her new den. Stephanie selects the “keepers’ based upon the sizes and colors that will coordinate with her new layout. In other words, she focuses on what to retain versus agonizing over what to let go.
Now understand, this is a simplistic summary of her process. The point is, she reminds herself of why she needs to pare down. Stephanie continues to declutter knowing she has to honor a set timeline for her future move. Instead of getting bogged down with sentiment, she is able to keep moving ahead. The favorite keepsakes make the cut.
I applaud your commitment to a decluttering goal this year! I’m here to support you and encourage your progress along the way. It’s my firm belief that to ensure your goal takes shape, you need to take time and capture why you’re doing it. Capture your thoughts on paper. Keep a small journal or calendar because physical reminders are valuable tools when our motivation falters. Otherwise, your goal without a plan may end up just being an unfulfilled wish.
Here are two more resources:
- Refer back to this post when you need additional motivation with your decluttering goal: https://downsize365.com/mindset-reboot-when-stuck/
- Listen to this earthy-but-to-the-point 3 minute video on motivation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDVXxN8YDWM
What’s your reason to declutter this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…and thanks for stopping by!