Taking things one step at a time is truly the natural way of things. Decluttering, like losing weight will last longer if you do it gradually and in waves. Crash diets make you hungry....and then you eat a ton more. The same thing happens with things. When you let too much go, too fast, and it hurts, you take the risk of triggering a new binge of acquisition. Even when your massive decluttering is over, you will still have to let go of more every day to maintain. Just like losing weight, you have to learn to "eat less" and "eliminate more junk" every day.
The Keys to Letting Go Peacefully
Learning to peacefully let go of clutter is the best way to create long lasting change in your relationship with your things.
- Start with the relatively easy stuff
- Let go of a little every day until it gets easier.
- Take breaks. Taking a day or 2 every week off during a big decluttering projects is a great reward for your accomplishments!
- Find adventure and humor in the stuff you find as you go through the "mystery" piles.
- Find something to laugh about. A big belly laugh is a great way to help you relieve the stress and regain your perspective about why you are letting go of this stuff.
- Some days it will be easier to make decisions than on other days. Accept the fact that somedays you will be more productive than others. You will never be perfect and that is more than okay!
- Appreciate yourself for every bit of progress you make along the way. This will help reinforce you to do even more.
- Celebrate and feel good about every item and every bag you let go.
- Find someone or a group to share your successes and to talk through your tougher challenges.My Getting Unstuck Community is one way you can find support. We help members connect with a "clutter clearing partner" . We also have a 24/7 online chat room where you can meet up with someone spontaneously and get inspired to clear clutter together and report back to each other. After our weekly calls, people are so inspired the chat room is buzzing like crazy!
"Joys Shared are Doubled,
Sorrows Shared are Halved"
Your emotional state is critical to making decisions.
Avoid attempting clutter clearing when you haven't slept or are already stressed out. Learning to accept this was a big breakthrough for me personally. Having ADD means each day is a bit unpredictable as to how clear thinking I'll be and how emotionally resilient I'll be. Ive learned that sleep and exercise are the two most important variables. So I take lots of steps to reduce the variability and make sure I get as much regular good sleep and exercise as I can. But difficulties with consistency are still there. Going through menopause significantly impacts hormones and occasionally interferes with my sleep.
Understanding this helps me tolerate the bad days more easily, which lessens the impact. When I'm not "up to it" I've learned to listen to what I really need, give myself a break, relax, take a walk, or just play with my cats and wait for it to pass.
Maintaining is something to be PROUD of!!
Some days it takes everything I have just to get through the day, maintain my home and take care of my cats. And to be honest, I've learned to be grateful for those days of "maintaining". There was a time when I had many days where I just kept making things worse. When I had bad days before, I would get into such a funk over it that some days I could barely even get out of bed. I would cancel everything on my agenda, and make things worse by feel guilty and beating myself up for not being able to "do what I told myself to do". I cried so much over that. But not anymore.
Understanding the role ADHD was playing in my life helped me manage it better and not beat myself up about it.
Now I just tell myself that if I give myself the time off, eventually my clarity, enthusiasm, energy, ideas and ability to make decisions more easily, will all come back. Once I learned to accept and work with my natural ADHD / emotional cycles, the "negative" cycles became much shorter and much less severe. It's like the downward spiral bounces back up again much more quickly. And not having a ton of clutter looming over me really helps a lot.
On my good days, I produce like crazy. Far more than many people do. So I've learned to take the bad with the good...everything has a price and a challenge...that is mine. : )
Stay focused on the awesome progress you are making and don't rush it. You CAN achieve your vision - in your own way and in your own rhythm!