Declutter Tips

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Decluttering Blueprint: Step 2 - Planning

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Now that you have curtailed new clutter from entering your home as outlined in the Decluttering Blueprint: Step 1, you need to tackle what you already own. To begin, make an assessment of your current situation and then create a decluttering plan using the steps below.

1. Take an inventory of the rooms in your home. Put a check mark beside every space with clutter.

  • Kitchen _____
  • Living Room _____
  • Family Room _____
  • Master Bedroom _____
  • Kids Bedrooms _____
  • Guest Room _____
  • Master Bath _____
  • Other Baths _____
  • Dining Room _____
  • Office _____
  • Laundry _____
  • Basement _____
  • Garage _____
  • Other _____

2. Define the purpose of each room. For example: if your bedroom is exclusively for sleeping and dressing--the papers, photos, and toys belong some place else. If the laundry is for washing clothes and has to double as a mudroom, the tools and dog food need to live elsewhere, etc.

3. Make a list showing the order in which you?ll organize each room. This will help keep you focused on one room at a time. Tip: If you don?t know where to start, begin with the room that causes you the most stress or the place where you spend the bulk of your time.

4. Schedule time on your calendar to organize one room at a time. Your most important appointment is the one you make with yourself. And, for most people, it?s the only way they can take care of personal affairs. So it goes with organizing, if you really intend to start, stick-with, and finish organizing each room, you must plan chunks of time you can devote to each space.

  • In general, you will need approximately 16 ? 24 hours to thoroughly organize a single room. The bigger the room, the more stuff in it, and the greater number of purposes it has, the more time it will take.
  • Schedule blocks of time that fit with your lifestyle. For example: you could devote a weekend to tackle a whole room or you can schedule an hour or two a few evenings each week. Do what makes sense to you but keep your commitment with yourself just as you would with anyone else. You deserve to live in an organized space.
5. Get clear about the reason you?ve decided to get organized now. Reminding yourself of this motive will keep you going when you start to feel your interest waning.
  • What has a lack of organization cost you? Stress, missed deadlines, forgotten appointments, disagreements with family members?
  • Now relate your goal of organization to one of your core values like beauty, pleasure, or feeling a flow of energy in your space. Connecting your goal to an important value will make it easier to honor and achieve.
6. Get the resources you need. List all of the things you anticipate needing to make this goal a reality. For example:
  • Information on how to organize. (Coming in future Decluttering Blueprint steps.)
  • Support from family members to either help you or not interrupt you when you are working on this project.
  • Garbage bags to corral trash and collect items to be donated.
7. Set up a support structure. Who can you share your progress with? Perhaps it?s a friend, a partner, or an extended family member. Ask them to help keep you focused and remind you of your motivation throughout the organizing process.

8. Define your reward. Yes, you get a reward! Any time you go after a big goal it?s important there be an acknowledgement of the time and effort you?ve given; even if it?s acknowledging yourself with an evening out with friends, an afternoon at a spa or what ever you deem important and pleasurable.

9. Determine the next project. Go back to your list, identify the next target of your organizational plan and schedule time in your calendar.

10. Keep going! Organizing is easy but it isn?t effortless. That said, you can do it and you?re worth it.

Check back soon for more steps in the Decluttering Blueprint.

Pam N. Woods is co-author of a bestselling book, Create the Business Breakthrough You Want: Secrets and Strategies from the World's Greatest Mentors; endorsed by Ken Blanchard & Dr. Stephen Covey. She is a respected authority on personal effectiveness who has mentored hundreds of executives, managers and professionals over the last three decades. Now, through her business, Smart WorkLife Solutions, she is helping individuals at home and at work to declutter their space, their schedules and their lives.

Pam?s website is a resource with information and services to help a diverse population of individuals organize their office, home and life. If you want to save time, boost productivity and reduce stress visit the Smart WorkLife Solutions website today.

See or these specific pages: Free how-to articles or Organize your office, home or life.

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