How to Get Started: Part 2


This is…
How to Get Started
Part 2: Get Mentally Prepared

Ok, so if you’ve read part 1 of this series, you have already gathered your supplies. You have the physical tools. Now, let’s get you prepped mentally. After years of working with clients, I’ve learned that most of us struggle with the same types of thoughts as we face our own clutter. Here are the most common comments I hear and what I encourage people to consider instead.

It’s too much

I’m gonna keep it real with this one. Sometimes even I feel this way. Honestly, there are moments in every single sort I work on where I feel slightly overwhelmed and I’ve had YEARS of practice. Here’s what I do in these moments, I look at small parts of the job. I break it up into little chunks of jobs. I just look at socks for a minute and forget the rest of the closet. Once I finish the socks, I get a small sense of accomplishment. That gives me the momentum to move on to t-shirts.

I don’t know how I let it get this bad

Honestly, this one doesn’t matter all that much. This is just a negative message you are telling yourself while you are TRYING to do something different. There are a lot of valid reasons that people gather clutter.

We can get too busy.
We can get too attached to belongings
We can get overwhelmed
We can experience trauma
We can lack skills
We can never have been taught

But, none of that matters today. Today is about starting. So, it doesn’t matter how it got this bad. Today you are brave enough to take the next step. Don’t waste energy looking back at the past. Toss, sort, and let go until your room looks like your dream for the future.

If I can’t do it RIGHT, I don’t want to do it at ALL

Perfection is the enemy of done. You don’t have to get this perfect. Honestly, it took me 3 sessions to really de-clutter my kitchen. It took me a full year to acknowledge I wasn’t really going to use my grandmother’s china at any holiday dinners. It took me a year to figure out that my pots and pans needed to be more accessible. It took me a year to label my spices. You don’t have to get it all perfect the first time through. You can refine it later, but start now.

I’m going to de-clutter this WHOLE closet in one day

Unrealistic expectations will crush your momentum. Don’t do it to yourself. De-cluttering quickly takes practice. When you first start, some decisions will overwhelm you. This is totally and wonderfully normal. If you set reasonable expectations, you will be more likely to see yourself as successful.
Here are some examples of reasonable timing:

3-5 hours to de-clutter a kitchen
2-3 hours per closet or dresser
3 hours for kid toys
2-3 hours for a medicine cabinet
2-3 hours for a filing system

I’m the only person who lives like this

Nope. Not true at all. Many people struggle with clutter. We live in a consumer focused society and most of us have too much. Heck, I still have too much. It’s more common than you think. However, it’s also completely possible that you can learn to live with just the right amount and that you can be excited about coming home again.

I hope knowing that other people struggle with negative thinking helps you feel less alone and more empowered. If you notice these thought patterns while you work, you now have the tools to challenge them.

In my next post, I’ll share my tactical steps to the de-cluttering process.