You might think you've decluttered but don't fool yourself and tell yourself you might not have done the most critical step.
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What you'll discover in this episode:
- The step in the decluttering process that a lot of people miss!
- Why missing this step actually leads to more clutter
- How to prevent falling into this trap.
Recently I was on a coaching call with a potential client and she virtually walked me through her apartment so I could see what she needed help with.
At one point, when we walked through the hallway she pointed to a pile of stuff and said "this has been decluttered" and she continued walking.
So this is the inspiration for this podcast episode, because I want to talk about when is an item actually decluttered.
Words are powerful and we need to make sure we use them correctly. So to make it short
- if an item is only in your head decluttered meaning you know you are ready to let it go, but it's still laying or stored where it has always been it's not decluttered - pretty obvious right?
- if an item is singled out to be let go, put in a bag or box but that bag or box is still stored in your home, laying around in the hallway, even if it's stored right next to your in your entrance, it is not decluttered.
- if the item is in your car, driving around with you other than you driving it straight to charity or the dump, it's not decluttered
This is not to mock this person I was talking to, we all do that, I do it, we start something whether it's decluttering or something else, but then don't finish it completely, we stop at about 80 or 90% and either get side-tracked, or it gets hard, or we lose interest and so we don't finish what we started -
but that is clutter too my friend.
Unfinished Projects are clutter too
Now you have even more clutter in your life than before, please don't do that.
I wrote another blog post about this type of clutter, after you finished reading this one, you can go check out Unfinished business is Clutter too
And now that I think of it, I actually wrote another post on How To Finish (things), the inspiration was the book Finish by Jon Acuff.
The process of decluttering is only finished and you will only reap the rewards of feeling lighter and clearer and at peace when the item is out of your home and out of your life, when it has moved on and is gone.
Remember unfinished projects is clutter and items in boxes, bags destined to go to charity or the dump, even when they are in your car already, is still clutter in your life.
You've Paid When The Money Is Out Of Your Account
Think of it this way, an invoice or a bill is only really paid once you've mailed the check (if you are still mailing checks - I hope you're not) or once you have made the online payment.
It is not paid yet when you are just writing the check, it's not paid yet when it's in an addressed enveope still in your handbag. It's not paid if you have it only entered into your online banking but the money hasn't been taken out of your account.
Don't fool yourself and tell yourself you have decluttered something when it's still in your home, business or life. A few minutes a day keep the chaos away
Let's look at the process of decluttering through the lense of a few minutes a day keeps the chaos away
Making The Decision
You start with a few minutes by going through your stuff and making decisions to keep or letting go. The things you're ready to let go you collect in a box or bag in a specific place. If you have two kinds of things, things to go to charity and things to go to the dump you keep them in separate boxes or bags.
You have not decluttered yet, you have only made decisions so far.
Plan For And Schedule The Next Step
My suggestion is to get the things out of your house as quick as possible and as quick as it makes sense.
You could do one trip and bring everything to charity, to the dump and to recycling. Or if those places are far apart, you go one day to one place and another day to the other place.
But if it doesn't make sense to get the items out of your life right away after every decision-session you do, then plan and schedule a day and time for it. Just don't wait too long, this leads to procrastination and unfinished business...
We are all busy, you will lose track of your decluttering project and leave it half finished and again actually created more clutter in your life than you had before you started the process.
A bit of foresight and planning often helps, when you have, for example, lunch plans with a friend next week and the charity you love to donate to is on the way to the place you'll meet your friend, or only a small detour away, plan some time and do it then
But again, don't wait too long for such an opportunity to come up. To reap the benefits of decluttering you need to get the things out of your house. You might have to plan and take a separate trip just for decluttering. You will be relieved you did.
Something is only decluttered when it's out of your house, out of your life, out of your business. DONE, anything else is still clutter in your life, holding you back, keeping you stuck, wasting your energy whether you are consciously aware of it or not.
The life you want is beyond all the clutter in your life and clearing your clutter is self-love.
Have you things laying around in your home or office that you considered decluttered but you just learned they are actually still clutter and unfinished business?
I would love to know, let me know in the comments below (or email me).
- If you want to know more about my background check out my about page
- Check out the eBook From Chaos to Peace - a simple program to clear your clutter and change your life that I co-authored with my friend Vicki McLeod