H is for Habits
Develop a habit to tackle any of those large cumbersome clutter projects that you think you'll never conquer.
I'm thinking about my digital photos.
My Person has a set of 13 bins he needs to pare down and organize.
Maybe you have boxes of files or a closet that's overflowing? Too many gadgets? A craft room for numerous hobbies? A play room for kids overflowing with toys? Storage shed of tools?
Whatever pile of stuff that clutters your home and fills you with dread, commit to reducing that nightmare by determining an appropriate habit.
1. Evaluate the size of your clutter project and determine a reasonable time frame for tackling it.
For example, my digital photos collection has been growing with minimal editing since 2013, the year I acquired an iPhone. Until the iPhone, I kept my digital pictures pretty well organized, but with Cloud convenience I got lazy about editing.
The habit I've been trying out is a ten-minute weekly cut.
For ten minutes each week, I go through Photos on my desktop and delete the obvious. Even though I start with many screenshots that I only needed temporarily, I've been gradually getting into holiday and vacation photos. During this first cut, I'm deleting blurry pictures and anything that's just a terrible shot by any quality meter.
To tackle your project you may need an hour. Once a week? Once a month? What can you reasonably commit to?
2. State your goal.
I didn't write my goal down (until now), but I want to have all of my digital photos completely pared down before the end of the summer.
Just know what you want to accomplish and within what time frame.
3. Figure out your staging and steps for the stuffs.
My digital clutter doesn't pose a big problem here, but if you're trying to clean out a closet or a room, then where do you begin?
- What do you see that you can immediately donate, recycle, or trash? Do it. This process may take up one session of time for your new habit.
- Divide the space into sections that you can tackle in more depth one session at a time. Depending on your organizational preferences maybe you tackle a shelf. Maybe the entire bookcase. Just pick something.
- Recognize that the space where this clutter project is being overhauled will be messy. That's okay. Consider it motivational.
4. Stick to your plan. Develop the habit for this one bear of a project.
Just like trying to lose weight, you're not going to see results overnight. Be patient and keep at it.
Depending on how much time you're dedicating and how often you've committed to taming your clutter project, you will see results...eventually.
5. Decide on milestones and reward yourself.
When I reach the point where every blurry and terrible photo has been deleted from the Cloud, I've decided my reward will be a digital frame. I've been wanting a digital frame for a while, so I'm motivated to move through my photos.
I have one more photo milestone with this project, but I know cutting the worst photos is the easier task.
My next step will be to determine which shot or two out of the gazillion I took truly capture the moment the best. This process will take longer and I'm sure I'll overthink which photos I'm really okay with deleting forever! I haven't decided on a reward for this part of my clutter project...yet.
Whatever your milestones may be, pick a reward that truly motivates you.
6. If you find yourself doing well with this process, start thinking about the next big project you could apply this process to.
Maybe it's another seemingly overwhelming project. Maybe it's a dream project that you need or want to get moving on.
You could makes excuses...
I don't have time for a project like this...because I do not have any time at all during my week to commit to one project that's driving me nuts. I am so busy I can't even take ten minutes to try to clear out or organize a small part of this project.
I don't want to live with a half-finished project...because I prefer the massive clutter bomb.
I prefer to tackle a project of this size over a long weekend...yeah, how's that working out? Are you really the person who can do this? How many long weekends have come and gone where you've set the goal, but accomplished little or nothing? Now if you're the person who can discipline yourself to get the project done over a few intense days, then great! Most people I know get distracted.