Whether you’re trying to simplify your life, down-size into a smaller home, prep your current home for sale or get ready to move to a new location, the task of getting rid of your extra belongings and clutter can feel overwhelming. The realization of the sheer number of belongings you need to process can boggle the mind, making you feel tired before you even begin. Here’s what you should know and do to get the job done faster.
- Realize that it isn’t the number of belongings to go through that make you tired, but the amount of time you take making decisions about what to do with each item that drains your energy. Having a way to sort your items FAST is key! Author and businessman, Don Aslett (known for years as the world’s #1 cleaning expert) suggests doing the following:
- Get four boxes (or have four categories) in which to sort all your clutter. Label the boxes: “Junk,” “Sort,” “Charity” and “Emotional Withdrawal.” (Note: The “Emotional Withdrawal” box is for items you can’t figure out if you want to get rid of or keep.)
- Put on some fast music and get busy. Go through your stuff quickly. Don’t think about it for long…At…All. The goal is to toss each item in a box as fast as possible. If you can’t quickly decide what to do with item, then either put it into the “Sort” box, or the “Emotional Withdrawal” box.
- Once you’ve gone through your pile, then toss the “Junk” in the trash, donate the “Charity” items right away, and set the “Sort” box aside to go through a second time a little later. Tape the “Emotional Withdrawal” box shut and put a date on it for six months from now. By the end of that time, if you haven’t opened the box to get anything out, then take the entire box—still sealed shut—and donate it to charity. “You won’t even remember what is in it,” says Aslett.[i]
- Now go back to your “Sort” box and decide what to do with each item. By this time, you’ll probably be much clearer on what you really want to keep or get rid of, so the second round of sorting should go much faster.
- Realize that getting sidetracked slows everything down. To keep from getting sidetracked, stay focused on the reason why you are sorting through all the clutter and how good you will feel once the task is done. Don’t start thinking about all the memories and emotions you might have attached to an item. Again, your job is to sort…and sort fast!
- Keep a clipboard with a yellow legal pad and pen nearby while you’re working. Why? Because, in the middle of sorting, your brain will come up with all kinds of other things you need to do or remember. If you don’t write the ideas down when they pop into your head, you’ll be tempted to stop sorting and take care of those other tasks. Making notes for yourself on an easy-to-find yellow legal pad will help you stay on track and get the sorting process done faster.
Regardless of your reason for doing it, sorting through belongings and reducing clutter doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task or take forever. With a few simple tools and a focused mindset, it’s absolutely possible to sort your clutter…fast!
by Beverly Pogue