One reader wrote in and asked:
How do I keep motivated when decluttering feels so overwhelming and not fun at all?
Just about no matter what the task at hand is, we all go through phases of feeling motivated and then feeling discouraged.
Depending on how much clutter you have, it may take a month or months or even years to get through it all.
It may seem exasperating to look at the total length of time it may take, but this is where persistence, determination, and taking it one step at a time come into place.
1. Create a Really Compelling Vision. Just wanting “to get organized” is not enough to continue to propel you forward.
Ask yourself what is it REALLY that you want to gain by clearing your clutter?
What is it you want to be able to do in your space that you cannot do right now?
Painting a very clear picture of how you want to feel, how you want to move, and how you want to be in your space is a foundational piece of clearing your clutter.
If you don’t have a Vision for your space that you can keep coming back to and remind yourself of why you’re doing this in the first place, it’s easy for motivation to turn into discouragement.
(If you need further help creating your Vision, check out the Reclaim Your Space Home Study Course, it walks you through all the steps you need to create this foundational motivation tool, and, BONUS, it’s currently 50% off. Go here: http://bit.ly/RYSRYL4W to learn more).
2. Create a Reward System. Some people feel that seeing the progress they have made in their decluttering efforts is enough to keep them moving forward.
But that isn’t the case for everyone – plus sometimes when it comes to clearing your clutter, things are going to get messier before they get better, so it’s hard to see the progress. For these people, consider setting up a reward system.
You can reward yourself with a hot bath with you favorite essential oils, or perhaps dinner out at your favorite restaurant, or even spending an extra 10 minutes really enjoying your cup of tea.
A key component is picking a reward that is consistent with how much work you’ve actually done. For example, you probably don’t want to take yourself out to a really fancy restaurant as a reward for doing 30 minutes of clutter clearing. Something like enjoying reading your favorite magazine for 15 minutes without guilt might be a more appropriate reward.
Pick rewards that you really want but don’t often give to yourself, pick nice things that you don’t always do for yourself, pick rewards that motivate you.
3. Work in Smaller Chunks. Often we get overwhelmed with how much clutter there really is to deal with.
Thinking about decluttering whole room seems very unsettling, and for some people it’s hard to see the smaller components of what needs to be done.
Instead of looking at the whole room, work on just one box, work on just clearing off the coffee table, work on just on shelf of the bookcase. And after those areas are clear resolving to keep them that way. The trick is being consistent about it.
It can feel a lot easier to get up the motivation to work on a small area rather than thinking about what it’s going to take to finish the whole room. Try it and see what you think.
4. Keep A Journal. Sometimes we don’t see how much we’ve done because we’re only seeing how much there is LEFT to be done.
This is where keeping a journal can come in really handy.
Write down and celebrate the decluttering progress you HAVE made and the way you felt when you were done.
If you get to those points of feeling discouraged, come back to your journal and remind yourself of how far you’ve come and how great it felt when you followed through with your decluttering tasks.
5. Get Support. This might be something as simple as having a Decluttering Buddy, or you might find a Clutter Support Group in your area.
Often times people with clutter feel as if they are the only ones struggling with the overwhelm and other issues that come along with the clutter.
Sometimes connecting with others so you don’t feel so alone, so you can openly talk about you clutter clearing challenges can bring about the spark of motivation you need to keep moving forward.
If you’re on Facebook, I’ve created a community for fellow clutter clearers for this purpose. If you’d like to get some extra support, I’d love it if you’d come and join us.
and request that I add you to the group. We’d love to hear from you!
What keeps you motivated to keep moving forward with clearing your clutter? I’d love to hear what’s working for you in the comment below!