That said, the scale of the project is not the only thing to take into account when it comes to decluttering. Of course there is a sheer practical element to any kind of reorganisation or downsizing project: How and where will store whatever you decide to keep? How can you get things out of the house in an efficient manner? What do you need to get things going, keep them going, bring them to a good end?
All those questions are relevant, of course, but they don’t actually touch the most important element of a successful organising or decluttering project: first and foremost you will have to find a good enough reason to get started! Don’t get me wrong: any reason will do to get a project started (I call those ‘good enough’), and that may well work for small or medium projects that can be finished in a short time. However, it always takes a GOOD reason to keep you going, especially if the project has epic proportions.
A ‘good enough’ reason could be “it’s impossible to clean around here”, “I can’t stand the sight of my kitchen” or “social services are getting on my case”. There is a level of pressure from within or from outside that makes you do things, but is it really something you WANT to do? It feels to me that you couldn’t really be bothered with that project, and you only do it because you HAVE to. As I said: it’s good enough for small projects, because you can get some stuff done before you start feeling put upon and forced to do something you are not really interested in.
What is a really ‘good’ reason, then?
All of the above have one thing in common: they are based on the situation that you find yourself in currently. It’s all about changing away from there, and the final destination doesn’t really play a role in your considerations. That makes for a mediocre or weak reason to do anything, don’t you agree?
A good reason is one that is based on a vision of the future, where things are better than they are right now, but in a very specific way. You want to find a goal that goes beyond the actual organising or decluttering project. If you manage to replace “I can’t stand the sight of my kitchen” with “I want my kitchen to be clean and empty so I can invite my friends over for dinner and be able to cook without a problem”, THAT is a ‘good’ reason. It not only has a clear goal beyond the actual work that needs doing (being able to entertain your friends at home), but it also has some inherent benefits (a clean kitchen that is easier to maintain).
The goal is always to find the vision of a future that is different and better in a very specific way. It’s no good thinking “it’s all going to be better” because what does that mean? Is it ‘cleaner in general’ or ‘I will be happier’, ‘I’ll save money that I would otherwise spend in a restaurant’. Be specific in your goal! The clearer you are in your mind about the reasons you embark on this particular journey, the more likely you will be to succeed.
Have you tried to deal with clutter on your own in the past? Maybe revisit one such instance and find out if your motivation was sufficient. If you realise that you didn’t have a really good reason, maybe try again and find the right reason and get motivated for long enough to finish this time around…
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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.