I love a good clear out. When done properly, it is a great stress-relieving activity. I also find it incredibly peaceful to have a tidier home at the end of the process. But tackle the task without any strategy and you might find yourself overwhelmed, tired, and sitting in a big pile of stuff, wondering why you did this to yourself. Does that sound familiar? Here are five of the biggest decluttering mistakes that we all make.
1. We overdo things
The biggest mistake that I have come across is when people embrace a clear out so enthusiastically that they go from bursting at the seams to barren in the space of a day. Extremes are unsettling. Remember that the point of decluttering is to help you feel more organized and at ease, not to punish yourself.
2. We do not pace ourselves
Rome was not built in a day. If you try to blitz the whole house is one afternoon you will be exhausted. That tiredness leads to bad decisions and sloppy work. Pace yourself over a weekend, or however long you need to do it. Rope in a friend if you can.
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3. We lack a system
Once you start pulling stuff out of closets and draws, the mess can get overwhelming. You can find yourself swimming in your belongings with no idea where to start. Deciding on a system before you open up the closets is a sensible way to go.
The three-box system is a nice one. You take three big boxes; labeling them keep, store and let go. The keep box is for everyday stuff that you want to have in easy reach, so just the things that you actually use. The store box is for things that you want, but do not use every day. They can ultimately go into the attic when you run out of cupboard space. And the let go box speaks for itself.
4. We approach the task with the wrong intention
Sometimes, clearing out old possessions is a way of getting rid of bad memories or heartbreak. If what your decluttering session really amounts to is a denial of a previous partner by eliminating all trace of him, then you are actually bringing more negative energy into your living space.
When you declutter, try not to do so when you are angry or upset. Try planning it first; taking a little inventory of things to keep and things to let go of. Then do your declutter in a calm and considered way. I promise the end result will be better and you will feel more at peace.
5. We forget other spaces
Finally, do not forget the spaces outside of your immediate home environment. Your car, garden shed, and desk at work all get cluttered too. The relaxing and restoring effects of decluttering can be undone by stepping out of a calm house into a crazy-full car. Just remember to keep up the good work and extend your decluttering efforts to anywhere that you frequent.
Now that you have a good idea of how not to do it, I hope that you find a decluttering strategy that works for you, and enjoy the results of your next clear out. Do you have any decluttering tips or a special strategy of your own? Please leave me a comment below.