The answers to this question could be anything from “I don’t even know where to start”, “I can’t find the time” or “I’m much too attached to the things I own”. None of those are insurmountable, but I can see that it can be daunting to get started, find the time or deal with internal doubts. Each of these reasons is valid, but can be overcome with proper assistance. While I’d be happy to help with either or all of the above, in this instance I’m extending a 60 minute challenge to you!
What is this about and how does it work? Simple: you have 1 hour to find 60 items you can do without. Anything counts, a pair of socks or a night gown, a book or a flyer, a tin of paint or a gab of frozen mystery meat from the freezer. The only point of importance is that you reach the number 60 within the hour. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?
Once you have started the timer, go ahead and look around. There is no need to cover every room or choosing very different items, it’s the number that counts, nothing else. You may want to keep track of the number, or you could just keep going for an hour and count at the end.
Go! Start picking up stuff and make quick decisions: there isn’t all that much time.
One hour later…
Once your alarm goes off, take stock. You may or may not have reached 60 items. Or you may have hit the number 60 very quickly and gone overboard. No matter, because either way, you’ll have experienced the pressure and given yourself leave to take quick decisions. As mentioned earlier, making decisions is often the reason why decluttering fails: once you have let go of worrying too much over your decisions, things fall into place very quickly, if you let them.
Also, you have taken 60 minutes to focus on decluttering things that you were not certain need to stay in your home. Clearly, this helps you find the time, make the time!
Furthermore, the exercise may have helped you understand that not everything you were having trouble letting go is really difficult because you are emotionally attached to it: sometimes it’s just the habit of seeing it in its place, or that you kept second-guessing your decisions over and over again.
The next and most important step is to ensure that the items you have selected leave you home as soon as possible. Take them to a charity shop, take them to the dumpster, organise a garage sale or sell them. Obviously, some of those options cannot be achieved on that day itself. If you really have to store things for a while, make sure to do so out of sight, but not out of mind.
Warning: if you have stored these items away for more than a week or so without taking any further action, maybe it’s time to simply ditch them! I dare you!
Give it a go: it’s amazing how much you can learn from this exercise. You may even end up doing this repeatedly, or even regularly.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.