If clutter is causing you stress, you are not alone. According to a 2009 UCLA study, women who described their homes as cluttered were more inclined to have unhealthy patterns of cortisol levels. Unlike some of our other stressors, the great news about clutter is that you have the power to move it out of your home. However, this can be easier said than done. Making a commitment and having a plan are the first steps to pushing through the lack of time and lack of energy that many of us encounter when taking on this task.
How about using the natural cycles of Mother Nature to motivate you? Spring is right around the corner and is a great time to commit to some spring cleaning and decluttering to reduce the stress in your life. Clearing away clutter is not always fun, so grab a friend or a family member to be your accountability partner through this process. You can either work together in the same room or over the phone in your own homes. Either way, housework is more fun when you do it with someone else. Here are some other tips to help the decluttering process:
1. Get the most bang for your buck by grabbing a trash bag and throwing away the obvious trash. We feel more motivated when we see immediate results, so this will help your momentum.
2. Commit to a short amount of time that you feel comfortable with to declutter. It can be as little as 15 minutes followed by the same amount of time doing something that you enjoy. That might not seem like a lot, but we have to start somewhere and 15 minutes is better than things continuing to sit around for years. If you struggle with perfectionism, then you are probably familiar with the cycle of procrastination and paralysis. These small chunks of time lower the bar of entry to manageable bite sizes. Once we get past the initial struggle of starting, many of us work past the time frame we’ve set.
3. Work through the mindset roadblocks that prevent you from letting things go. Depending on which generation you grew up in, you may be holding onto some beliefs that no longer serve you today. It’s okay to let go of the cardboard boxes that you are saving. It’s okay to let go of the expensive item that you paid for but don’t use. You are actually using up brain space keeping it around. Seek the support of a professional organizer if this is a tough one for you.
4. There are many ways to pay it forward by finding new homes for your unwanted items. Imagine the joy that you can bring into someone’s life by passing along your old painting supplies or your children’s well-loved toys. Since our natural resources are limited, it’s more important than ever to think of sustainability to extend the lives of our unwanted things by donating or selling them.
5. Similar to a cleaning schedule, set up a decluttering schedule. Our homes have a maximum amount of space and will continue to fill up if we don’t actively let things go.
If you’d like a bit more support in your spring cleaning and decluttering efforts, consider coordinating a yard sale to set a self-imposed timeline. Next month, I’ll be helping my fellow Osage area residents do just this by coordinating a neighborhood yard sale on Saturday, April 15 to find new homes for their unwanted items. A donation pick-up from Vietnam Veterans of America has been scheduled for Monday, April 17 to take away smaller unsold items. Since die-hard yard sale shoppers plan their routes in advance, I’ll be posting signs and promoting the sale to attract shoppers who like the convenience of multi-family yard sales. If you’d like to join and want your home included on the sale map, or want tips on how to host your own neighborhood yard sale in Westchester, visit clutterfreeserenity.com/yard-sale.
Westchester’s Thuy Kudsi has more than 20 years of experience supporting families as a former teacher. She became a professional organizer/productivity consultant and founded Clutter-Free Serenity in 2020 to support fellow moms with all that’s on their plates, so they can lovingly show up for their children. She integrates coaching skills to co-create the best systems and routines for each of her client’s unique needs.
Article by Thuy Kudsi.