One of my personal mantras is “Discipline beats motivation every time” because there are just some things in life that we are never going to wake up and say “Wow, I can’t wait to go and do that”. For many of us, decluttering is one of those things. Like any big project, it helps if we break a whole house of decluttering tasks down into more manageable chunks. Take those chunks and tie them to an external trigger to get them on your calendar and build those activities into habits. Some examples of scheduling decluttering efforts are:
Declutter paper files when preparing taxes. Since we are already elbow deep in paper, we might as well identify the unnecessary paper and act on those decisions. Keep a trash, recycle, and shred bin close at hand to sort the unneeded paper into. Many organizations offer free shredding events following Tax Day and it will be easy to take advantage of those opportunities if paper is containerized and ready to go.
The change of seasons serves as a prompt to review items before storing them. In spring, go through winter wear and discard the lonely glove and mitten or donate the coats that have been outgrown or unworn. Fall is the perfect time to eliminate swim wear and active wear that is faded or stretched out.
Start of school
The best time to get kids to declutter and organize is BEFORE back to school shopping. Go through any school papers and school supplies and make decisions to keep or toss. Sometimes parents and kids struggle with what to keep from an entire year’s worth of art and paper, so it helps to create a “boundary“. For example, encourage children to pick 10 favorite things from the school year. By involving kids in the decision-making process, you are teaching them to organize and they may surprise you with what they choose to keep.
Before holidays or birthdays
Anticipate gifts and new purchases that will be coming into the home by making room before the big event. This is an ideal time to sort toys or books and let go of items that are no longer used or useful.
Digital clutter flows in 24-7 and the declutter cycle needs to be more frequent. Schedule time each week to delete/unsubscribe/create rules for emails in your inbox. Schedule a similar block of time to review digital photos and eliminate the duplicates, the blurry and the just plain bad.