Can you believe that we’re nearly at the end of the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge! How the time has flown by. With 3 days left of the challenge, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on what I have learnt along the way. So here are my 5 top tips when decluttering … for the final week of the challenge.
1. Set yourself a Specific goal
Set a specific goal when decluttering. Remember to keep it realistic and achievable … it’s all about setting yourself up for success! Write your goal down and put it somewhere you can see it – like on the fridge. It will be a reminder of what you’re working towards.
For this declutter challenge the goal was “40 Bags in 40 Days“
Other examples might include … reducing the toy boxes from 3 down to 2 or getting rid of 20 books you no longer read. You’re more likely to achieve a specific goal, plus it’ll give you a real sense of accomplishment.
2. Set yourself a deadline
Wow … this sounds harsh, but actually having a deadline is great motivation. Your end date might be a particular event such as guests arriving, or the annual council rubbish collection … it’s all about having an end in sight!
The deadline for this declutter challenge was Easter. Yep … 40 days leading up too and finishing on Easter Saturday. Of course it doesn’t have to be Easter, you can pick any time during the year … just write down a definite start and finish date. Trust me, I have been counting down the days to April 4th!
3. Write down your action plan
Write down an action plan for decluttering and put it somewhere prominent … mine is on the fridge (of course). Putting your action plan in writing will help you accomplish it. In your plan list each specific area you want to declutter, for example … my daughter’s wardrobe or the filing cabinet, and a specific date or day to declutter.
Again be realistic as to what can be accomplished when. I left the bigger tasks, such as the wardrobe or sections of the garage to the weekend or my day off. During the week after work I set myself smaller areas like a kitchen cupboard or junk draw.
Which leads me nicely into my next tip …
4. Break large tasks up into smaller “bite size” pieces
This tip applies to the overall challenge of decluttering your house. Your action plan above should break up rooms, etc into manageable chunks. Don’t try and declutter the whole kitchen at once. Rather break it up over a week … one cupboard a night.
I broke our garage up into sections and tackled one each Saturday. I was much more thorough than if I had tried to do the whole lot in one go, which was my usual approach.
This principle also applies when decluttering a section on your task list. This approach worked a treat when I decluttered my wardrobe (see here). The whole warbrobe was overwhelming, but by breaking it down into one shelf at a time, I was able to achieve my goal of organising (and decluttering) my wardrobe.
5. Don’t get the decluttering become the clutter
What I mean by this is … try and get rid of rubbish, recycling, donations etc as quickly as you can. When decluttering one area, put everything into their respective piles (or bags) … such as “keep”, “donate”, “sell”, or “throw”. As soon as you have finished, take the pile (or bag/box) to where they belong rather than letting it stay and become clutter.
If you’re like me, you may wish to wait until the end of the challenge before paying someone to remove all your rubbish. We had a large pile in the garage of things too big to fit into our normal dust-bin … but I just shut the door on it!
With the charitable donations, I did have a large pile in our corridor at the start of the challenge which sat there for a few weeks until it was taken away. Now, my husband Paul very kindly takes the donations bags and drops them off each Saturday after the gym. Out of the house and gone to someone who can use it … much better!
So there you have it … my 5 top tips when decluttering that I have learnt over the last month. I hope you find them helpful when starting your own decluttering. As always … how did I go this week?
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