Don’t pass go, stop & chop first.
It stands to reason that if we have less stuff in the first place then we have less stuff to organize, clean, schlepp etc. It’s a basic formula but one we tend to forgo.
Based on a recent personal experience of getting my beloved’s side of the bedroom organized (possible for the first time in 28 years) I learned how important it is to purge first, organize second.
But my real ah ha moment was yet to come.
When I was out walking our mutts one lovely Nairobi morning, I realized this principle of decluttering first in order to get organized applies not just to our stuff, but also to our time & our work.
Here are the second batch of tips for uncluttering your life, not just your stuff (see last week’s post for the first 5).
Take a breath, even if it’s cramped at first, because you’re about to create some breathing room, some more space. Ready?
- Create a not-to-do list – I’m obsessed with to-do lists. They help get flotsam & jetsam out of my blender brain so I can contrite. However they can be overwhelming so I also create a not-to do list.
- Delete stuff you’re not using on your phone – quick, take a peek at your phone screen. Is it cluttered & overflowing with apps, clean, mean n’ organized or somewhere in between? A study found the average person touches their phone 2,617 times a day! Note to Self podcast about the Bored & Brilliant project.
- Take 5. Or 10. I’ve recently started using the Simple Habit app to practice meditating. I love the sense of accomplishment I get when it adds up how long I’ve meditated in total, how many days in a row etc. Spiffy, simple.
- Avoid the temptation to fill. When you’ve created that space (on your phone, from your not to do lists etc.) … avoid … the … temptation … to … fill … it.
- Gently remind yourself. Life intrudes – that report is due tomorrow & you haven’t started it, your laundry baskets are only slightly less full than your email inbox, you’re aiming to get up early & exercise tomorrow, the fridge has to be filled & meals cooked etc etc. So make sure you create a reminder of your decluttering strategies.
As a oh-but-I-am-tempted-to-fill-the-space kinda person, I’ve created a simple reminder that I hung on my office wall. Inspired by Lara Wellman I took a 3 panel picture frame (you can use a smaller one or bigger one as you wish), put some nice paper in the frames (as opposed to pictures) & then wrote on the panes of glass with whiteboard markers. See below for a shot of mine.
Annnnnnnd take action:
- Create a not to do list
- Delete stuff you’re not using on your phone & then breathe a sigh of relief
- Take 5; try out something like the simple habit app
- And when you’ve created some space …. Don’t…. fill …. It (this from my partner as I was (still am?) in the habit of creating space only to fill it)
- Create a reminder – make a frame with some pretty paper, & use whiteboard markers to write your reminder
- Let me know how it’s going by leaving a comment via the spiffy workflowy app (seriously, this is an amazing tool- try it out right now)
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