Bette's Quick Start Guide to Declutter

April 21, 2017

In preparing for an upcoming talk that I’m doing for “1 Million Cups” (stay tuned), I had to answer this question: “What is one of the biggest challenges that your clients face and how do you help them?”



After some thought, it was very clear that the biggest challenge is... getting started.


Think about it. Whenever we are faced with seemingly overwhelming and daunting tasks it feels like you will just never get there.


Creighton Abrams said, “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” [I had to Google that quote to learn that it was Mr. Creighton Abrams who said that].


I’ve heard this quote in a few contexts and it’s often meant to inspire people to approach large tasks by doing so slowly and thoughtfully and in “bite size” chunks.


I’ve also heard people say, “Just do something.” That’s my favorite! It’s so simple. “Just do something.”


That "something" can be picking up a trash bag and throwing out anything that is literally trash and taking up space in your home or car.


Or that "something" might be calling a professional organizer such as… oh… I don’t know, maybe Spaces by Bette, LLC.


To help you break it down into “bite size chunks” and also to help you “just do something.” I’ve compiled a “Quick Start Guide.”


Very Simple Starter Guide to De-cluttering:


1.    Time boxing – You know your schedule better than anyone. How much time do you have to focus on this today? Set a timer for that amount of time. It can be 5 minutes; it can be 20 minutes… if you do this every day it will add up to hours.


2.    Get a Box and a Bag ... Start the timer...  and ...… GO!


3.    Anything that is trash goes in the bag.


4.    Anything where you have to ask “Why do I have this?” or “Why would anyone have this?”… goes in the box.


5.    Anything that you are not sure of whether or not you need gets a very quick evaluation: Do I really use this? Do I enjoy it? Does anyone enjoy it? If, answer = no… goes in the box.


6.    Buzzzzzz zzz Timer goes off… throw out the bag and put the box in your car.


7.    The next time you drive by a donation center… bring the box into that center.


8.    Observe how you feel. Admit it… that felt good.


Do this whenever you can fit it into your schedule.


Do it for as short or long of duration as you need.


Want to accelerate even further? Get your family involved!


If a family of 3 sets the timer for 20 minutes and all

3 go at this at the same time… you now have spent 1 hour decluttering.


If that same family of 3 does that 1 time a week for 20 minutes and you have 4 hours of decluttering per month. Do that 2 times per week (as a family) and you have 10 hours of decluttering per month.


Sprinkle in some other fun micro-organizing sessions. For example, when you have the time, grab a basket and fill it with items that need to go back to their home, get filed, get tossed or donated.


It is my experience that as soon as you finish your first session, you will be less focused on the amount that you still need to do, and more focused on how it feels to have started.


You just did it. You decluttered.


Yes, the decisions around ‘toss or donate’ might start to take more time as you weed out the obvious stuff, but keep going.  


You will start to see that the fewer items you own the easier it is to take the next step, which is to find a “home” for everything.


Once you have made progress in de-cluttering you are ready to get organized! You will stop losing items. You will be more efficient and you will enjoy your spaces so much more.


You will also start to see a new beauty in your home.


With all of that clutter gone, things look brighter and you feel a little lighter.


If you need a friend to help call me, message me… I’m happy to provide advice or even give you a hand.


Have a great day and love your spaces.





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