New Year’s is a classic time for a fresh start. And the act of decluttering your space and schedule can help you make room for change. It clears space to think, energy to explore, and insight as to where to go from here. Yet, we all know how hard it is to get rid of things…
Most people who desperately want to get organized are held back by hidden obstacles they don’t understand. Too often, people are convinced that their clutter is the result of their own sloppiness, laziness, or incompetence. Not true! Thinking that way inaccurately puts the blame and shame on you- and prevents you from finding the right solution...
I am about to move, and it’s been an emotional journey. I love the apartment I am leaving. It’s the first place I ever bought. I purchased it when I became an empty-nester, as a platform for the next chapter of my life. My goal was to expand my social life, enrich my work-life balance, and give more space to romance than I had as a single parent.
When it comes to making time to get organized, let’s face it, it can be hard to get motivated. As much as we crave order, there always seem to be much more valuable uses of our time. Digging through piles, closets and shelves filled with old stuff you haven’t looked at (or used) in years takes time, energy and focus.
You know what’s great about summer? Time. The days stretch, the kids don’t have homework, and the sun stays out till 9:00pm. We’re more relaxed, have more energy and more time to spare.
This summer think about using the extra time on your hands to finally declutter — to rid yourself of all the stuff weighing you down, getting in your way, and stealing your energy. Tackle just one category at a time- papers, email, supplies, books and digital files, and don’t feel obliged to do everything. Decluttering even ONE category of items will pay huge dividends is freed up space, time and energy.
Here are 4 steps to successfully decluttering:
First, define your treasures. Before getting rid of anything, consider your work goals and roles to assess what items will help you and those that won’t. When facingintimidating piles and drawers., ask yourself—if all this were gone tomorrow, what would I miss? Write down the list that comes to mind (e.g. original signed contracts, key contact info, handwritten notes) on a big sticky note, and post that on the wall of the area you are about to declutter. This will guide you in separating treasure from trash.
Create a No-Brainer Toss List. Minimize the number of decisions you have to make by creating guidelines for stuff you don’t have to think twice before shedding. Immediately chuck old manuals & reports that have since been updated, documents that someone else has the original of, and you can replace if necessary, printouts from the web, out of date information, duplicates, etc.
Check retention guidelines. Going through your legal files? Call your lawyer. Old payroll? Ring the accountant. Remember that 80% of what we file we never look at again. So be sure that it’s necessary for you to keep anything and everything that will take up valuable space in your file drawer. Don’t save things you “might” need someday if they are easily replaced.
Aim for a radical release. Once you’ve separated the treasures from trash…get the trash OUT. If you have objects to donate, arrange delivery to a charity. If you have large volumes of papers to shred, don’t let them sit around for months cluttering up your space (and messing with your mental clarity). You should be able to measure the space gained in pounds (removed 100 pounds of excess supplies from the storage closet)—or inches (removed 50 inches of files…).
The ultimate payoff? Clarity, “lightness of being,” and an energized space that brings out your most authentic, engaged, professional self.