Pick Your Pile! Jennifer Shares Tip #1 for Eliminating Clutter
I have a lifelong dream of being clutter free, but I have yet to create a schedule that gives me the time to accomplish that dream. Instead, I have been searching out ways to help alleviate clutter in my home without sacrificing time with my family, church, and other obligations. This year I plan to regiment myself into a realistic, doable clutter clean up plan. I invite you to join me! My first tip to creating a realistic less-clutter lifestyle is to: pick your pile.
Pick Your Pile
Step #1 Pick your first pile! This is the pile you will eliminate first.
One? Just one pile? But there are so many! At least that’s the case in my home. There’s no shortage of piles to clean up in my home! However, there is a shortage of time to get it all done.
I*dream* of a nearly organized home and office, but to date, I’ve never had a schedule that provides the necessary time needed to accomplish such. 1) I’m busy (and I bet you are too. 2) I decided long ago that family time and relationship building are two very important things, which inevitably cut into time to de-clutter a house.
There are some great step by step clean-up methods, but none ever worked with my schedule. I had to discover a different method, a slower method that in the end, meant slower results, but still progress.
The First Step
The first step to making that slow but steady progress is to pick your pile, but only one!
How do you pick your pile? Here’s my tip: Walk through your house or office, and look for every area with items out of place, or piles of “things”. As you do this, certain areas are going to stand out to you more emotionally than others- perhaps you’ll sense this in an entry way location, your bedroom, or as in my case, the steps and an upstairs foyer. Try to find the areas that cause you to feel frustrated- uneasy- anxious, and then imagine those areas clean, pristine, and organized.
Out of all of these areas, think about what area seems to emotionally bug you the most. Once you have located this spot, you’ve landed on your “first pile.”
In my home, I have three distinct places that really give me the heebie-jeebies – our back staircase, my home office, and the entry way to my office. Here’s a sad but honest admission: my back staircase has contained the same box of “stuff” for about 3 years….and the entry way to my home office still has my 2017 tax files sitting in front of the door.
Why?? Why have I allowed these things to remain “sitting out” for so long? One big reason is the fact that, in each case, these are items that don’t have a natural home…. meaning I have to mentally figure out where to store them. Up until now, it’s always been easier to walk away from them, then to deal with them. However, not dealing with them really doesn’t help the big picture!
So, my first target pile is going to be the one area that bothers me the most: the entry way to my home office. Once you choose your “first pile”, the next task is to create a realistic deadline.
A Realistic Deadline
If you look at my picture of my target choice (see above), you might agree that it’s not a huge area to clean. One would think I could knock this out in an hour or less. But, my schedule is limited and is hard to adjust. So, I am giving myself a deadline that is realistic according to my daily life. I encourage you to do the same. If you have little kids at home, your time is going to be strained. If you have work, family, or medical issues, again, you’re time is not your own. In an ideal world I *could* clean up this corner in an hour or less, but I need to allow myself to live in the real.
My target deadline for this first pile is: January 31.
I’ve given myself 3 weeks to complete the first task! (Yes, 3 weeks to accomplish a 1 hour task.” Why am I being so liberal with my time deadline? Because I know that I can meet or exceed this goal, and of course, my desire is to exceed it. I’m creating a plan that isn’t intended to add stress to my life or mess up my schedule any further. None of us need more stress in life!
So, just to review:
#1 Pick your pile
#2 Pick a realistic target deadline to de-clutter that area
#3 Focus only on that one pile.
It can be so easy to start looking at everything else that needs to be cleaned, and become overwhelmed by a lack of time or ability to make it happen. Focus only on your one pile….and as soon as you’ve achieved a clean success there, you can be ready to move on to another pile!