When decluttering – how do you know where to start? From my experience in the work I do with my clients I know where to start in helping them to declutter and get organised. The reason being is that I have been doing this for many years and with asking questions and looking around their houses or offices usually one or two places in particular stand out. Naturally it is still the clients decision but usually they are happy to go with my recommendations on where to start.
Recently though it got me thinking that it would be good to share this information so others know where they could start if decluttering or getting organised is something they have been trying to do. Often it can be too overwhelming and difficult to know where to begin. Do you feel like this? Well here are questions to ask yourself which hopefully might give you greater clarity and assist you to know where to start.
Questions to ask yourself
- what space annoys you the most? – by this I mean which space is not functioning the way you would like, is it a space you don’t really use as it makes you angry or it isn’t pleasant to be in or look at? There may well be multiple spaces but usually one will bother you more. One of my clients originally got me in to assist with paperwork however after discussion and a look around the house it was actually the kitchen that was really annoying her the most so that is where we started.
- what is it that you’d like to be able to do but can’t? Is there something you would like to be able to do in a particular space but don’t have the room or space because of clutter? For one of my clients this was using the spare room as a place to study however in order to do that we had to actually clear the space leading to the desk as well as the clutter on the desk itself before she could regain and use the space for her intended purposes.
- what is the space you look at in the morning that says to you I just need to find time to get you organised? Usually there is a space that keeps coming up time and time again and it is its way of saying to you that it needs help.
- what is the space you look at last thing every night and it just sends you reminders that you need to get it organised? Very similar to the point above though this happens to you at night when you are about to go to bed instead. Maybe it is the same space that you think about morning and night or it could be different?
- what is that one area you regularly go to start but don’t as it just becomes too hard? Is there a space in your home that you think right I am going to tackle this today but when it comes around to it you usually find excuses to do something else? Is there a space in your home or office that you’d really like to tackle but just don’t know how? Maybe this has been something you have been thinking about but hit a stumbling block each time. My advice here is to start small with a shelf or drawer or small space and gradually build up to larger spaces or areas.
- Do you regularly find yourself saying you will do something later? Peter Walsh, a well known organiser, regularly states that procrastination always leads to clutter. So his one bit of advice would be to replace the word “later” with the word “now”. Whenever you’re tempted to just throw the dirty dishes in the sink or leave the clothes in the dryer unfolded, catch yourself. Realise that it’s the small steps that need to be done to stay on top of the clutter. Or as I regularly say maintenance is the key to being organised.
Continuing on with this theme of getting started – ‘the best way to get something done is actually just to start‘. You also don’t need to feel that you have to achieve it all in one go. One thing you can do is to break what you want to declutter or get organised into small steps and don’t let it continue to overwhelm you any more. My advice is to start with one small space ie a junk drawer, one shelf, one small space, and build from there. Click here to find out how to organise a junk drawer in 5 easy steps and get started.
If you are still having trouble working out where to start then think about the highest traffic area in your home ie kitchen, living room, bathroom or laundry maybe and start there.
There really isn’t a right or wrong place to start, simply making an effort is a step in the right direction. You’ll be surprised at how satisfied you feel the next time you look at this space clutter free.
If you give it a go and it just still isn’t working then get in touch – not only can I assist you to get it organised but offer you tips and strategies so that you can maintain the space/s too!