Oh Bother– Clutter!

In truth, clutter is a mountain of procrastination … putting off decisions and fears and emotional issues and shopping addictions and more.~Leo Babauta.

Spring gets painted as the season of clean– spring cleaning, open windows airing out homes, spring-time fresh. However, I have a hunch that many people reflect on cleaning and tackling clutter during Fall as well. We’re spending more time indoors, the kids are back to school and the holidays are just around the corner. Having a clean, clutter-free home to enjoy with family and friends feels good, reduces stress and helps us stay more organized.

I love the quote above by Leo Barbauta, from his blog Zen Habits. It takes something abstract, clutter, and gives it structure. I struggle with clutter. However, when I remind myself what I’m wrestling with is not so much the physical items needing to be organized, but the issues that prompted me to let it build up, then I am much more prepared, and motivated, to tackle the hot spot in my home.

With procrastination, getting started is the biggest hurdle you have to clear. Leo also offers the best procrastination tip ever, “Identify the most important thing you have to do today.Decide to do just the first little part of it — just the first minute, or even 30 seconds of it. Getting started is the only thing in the world that matters.” This tip marries nicely to the advice Flylady, Marla Cilley, offers to people who are seeking to reduce clutter and procrastination in their lives. If you subscribe to her Flylady emails, she includes in almost every email the following phrase “You are not behind, jump in where you are.”

Sometimes taking a few minutes to create the appearance of order can go a long way to eliminating clutter. Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project, discussed on her blog how outer appearance contributes to inner calm. She illustrated her point by describing how she wanted to tackle her closet clutter. She felt like her t-shirts, because of how they were folded, created the look of clutter. Gretchen asked a friend who used to work in the retail industry how to neatly fold a t-shirt. She even went so far as to bring over a t-shirt to practice with. By taking a few minutes to ask someone who had the skill she was seeking, and using what she learned to reduce the look of clutter in her closet, Gretchen was well on her way to having a neater closet.

Flylady also offers workable advice regarding quick decluttering sessions that last 15 minutes or less. A few “Hot Spot fire drills” can help a lot when striving to create the appearance of order. If you have an area that needs more attention, even 5 minutes a day helps. Working a “5 minute room rescue” into a daily schedule is very do-able.

Now if you have a larger-scale project to tackle– for example, recycling old appliances from a recent remodel– finding an organization locally like 1 Green Planet is a huge help. 1 Green Planet will recycles appliances for free for people in located in the Puget Sound area. They offer free drop-off recycling for the general public and free pick-up & removal for local businesses. They even team up with local businesses, like Windermere R.E. / Mercer Island, to put on free recycle events.

What do you see as your biggest challenge to tackling clutter? Do find that Fall is as much a “spring cleaning” season as Spring is? Are you seeking a more zen, minimalist approach to your home and lifestyle? I’d love to discuss this topic with you– please take a moment to leave a comment.

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