One of the main reasons for that dramatic rebound of accumulation is a simple one: most of us are tired of maintaining situations the way they are after a huge effort to sort them out.
Imagine this: you have spent an awful lot of energy and time on taking care of a particularly troubled area – a room, a home office, the garage, etc. No matter how big or small that space was, it feels like you have just spent too much of your free time doing something that you would think of as a chore.
You will now consider this matter closed and things “should” simply stay the way they are because you have dealt with them. Think again: even if that pile of paperwork is now sorted, more paperwork will come. Even after sifting through loads of boxes in your garage, new stuff will undoubtedly end up in there.
There is no such thing as the ultimate cleaning and clearing! Life has a habit of bringing new ideas and things into our homes, and that stuff ends up somewhere. It is important to understand that nothing in our world will stay organised: things fall off shelves, piles of paper start to shift, things get dirty or they break. Nothing ever stays the same and at first sight you’ll probably now think “why do I even try?”.
There is hope, though: once you have finished the big declutter it’s necessary to shift your mindset from decluttering mode to maintenance mode. Rather than doing a big job and then forgetting about it, why not nudge it along and regularly take a minute to tidy things up a little. Not only will doing this take only a moment to finish, but it will also keep your mind at ease about large looming projects: there simply won’t be that many left after a while!
It’s just like any other good habit you may take on: once you get used to doing something regularly, it turns into something you know will ultimately help you, even if it’s not the most pleasant of tasks. What’s required is a change in perception, that you would rather give it a bit of time regularly than ending up with a large piece of work that will take a long time to sort out.
Just imagine what it would be like to only have a couple of small things to do once a week, and then move to thinking about a big job that seemingly will take forever. Doing things regularly will hone your ability to make decisions, and keep you from second guessing those decisions. In the end it will be much simpler to take bigger decisions, too.
Big projects are also prone to procrastination. Compare how you would feel about clearing out your loft (a large job) and tidying up the living room table (a quick one): you are much more likely to jump start the living room table because it’s the kind of job you have a pretty good idea how long it will take. A loft, on the other hand, offers hundreds of opportunities to prolong the work with interruptions, strange finds, emotional upheaval, etc.
If you have a choice which job to do first, you will obviously choose the smaller one. The trick is to make all jobs into small ones!
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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.