Few people prefer to live in a mess. Even those who actually live in a mess would choose organization over clutter if no effort is required on their part.
If you watched the movie Limitless starring Bradley Cooper, you might have noticed that one of the first things he did when under the spell of the “superman pill” was to… clear the clutter in his house and organize everything neatly in place.
In our minds, it would be nice to have the house spick and span at all times. The problems is the effort required and the time needed to do it consistently.
Well everything starts with the first step.
Here are some ways to motivate and force yourself to start packing up and make the home a great conducive place to do anything you want in.
1) Clock it into your schedule
When you insert tasks to be done in your personal calendar, there is a much higher chance that you will do it.
It is something like how successful people tend to attain their goals when they write them down on a piece of paper. The world works in strange ways.
Pull out your calendar. Or use the one you refer to everyday on your smart phone. Then pick a “free” day and slot in your clutter clearing appointment at home.
Since you have already identified this day as a free day, or a couple of free hours, why not make good use of it?
I found myself starting to really pack on those guilt-ridden pounds in 2016. And I realized that I’m spending a lot of time on the computer at home even when I’m not working on work-related stuff. So I decided to use an hour of these idle time usually doing useless stuff for exercise. EVERYDAY.
Now I’m proud to be getting into shape.
You can use the same strategy to rationalize with your mind to do something productive with your personal time… like clearing that clutter!
2) Put yourself on the spot
A concept of motivation in regular exercise and getting fit is the idea of accountability.
This basically means that if you get an exercise partner or buddy to join you on your workouts, this social dynamic alone can be a powerful motivator to be consistent in training.
This is because your buddy is holding you accountable.
The same concept can be applied into clutter management 😀
Invite friends and relatives to a house party in a week. Get as many people as you like to attend it. It would be ideal if there are people whose opinion of you matters… like your boss, your in-laws, or even the neighbors.
As the date draws closer, you would start to feel the urge to pack up the place so that they don’t perceive you as a pig living under breeding-farm conditions.
Putting yourself on the spot this way can easily force yourself to take action and pull out the vacuum cleaner that has been left untouched for years.
3) Draw up a 3-pronged attack plan
Alright. Taking on the whole house can be a daunting task for anyone. And this HUGE challenge can be enough for you to surrender to the God of clutter.
A good idea is to segment the WHOLE task into smaller tasks.
Make it a 3-stage decluttering project. Two still looks daunting. And 4 just seems too much. A 3-pronged plan just sounds like such a sweet spot.
How you decide to segment the whole project into 3 stages depends on you. Here are some suggestions.
- Segment by rooms
- Segment by directions
- Segment from the most clutterest to the least
Once you identify the 3 stages, you can even go back to point #1 and schedule it into 3 appointments.
4) Jump in
There a lot of wisdom that went into the profound phrase of “Jumping into the deep end of the pool”.
Sometimes you just need to jump in to get your engine started. And once that is achieved, everything just comes naturally.
For example, let me go back to talking about exercise. I know how tiring it can get with all the workouts. Yet I know that if I can just drag my butt into the gym for weight training or to the park for calisthenics, I would be going at it like a machine.
Sometimes all you need is to put the key into ignition. And you will get going once the engine starts.
5) Convince yourself why you need to declutter
If you can nail this down, a neat looking house is already on it’s way.
The very reason why we are willing to live under such conditions is because we can accept it and the drawbacks don’t really outweigh the benefits in our minds.
If we can somehow convince ourselves that the benefits of decluttering overwhelmingly outweighs the pitfalls of clutter, motivation would come from within.
Here are some thoughts to consider:
- Do you really want you next girlfriend to see you living in such a slump?
- Does it really not bother you even a tiny bit to see all the mess?
- Wouldn’t you like to know exactly where some of your stuff is and never misplace them again?
- Do you want your home to be a theme park for pest?
I rest my case.
A key point that you must remember when kickstarting your decluterring journey, is not to fall victim to the negative thoughts of discouragement. The whole process could take days. So do not expect instant gratification in your undertaking.