All or Nothing? Start with something!
My clients often tell me that one of the hardest things about clearing clutter is just getting started. One of the reasons for this is that if you have clutter, you are probably a perfectionist and one of the trademarks of perfectionism is all or nothing thinking.
Have you ever had this thought?
"If I could just take 3 weeks off work, I could clear all my clutter at once! Make that a month. If I really dedicate myself for a whole month I could really do it right."
So either we clear all the clutter, right now, perfectly, or not at all. The reality is that most of us opt for the not at all. I mean, who wants to take 3 weeks of their precious holidays to clear clutter? That's why we need to start small! Small is mighty, small is powerful and small is HUGE.
So, this is what you're going to do, you're going to use a tool that will change your life! This tool can be used for any task you have been procrastinating whether it's doing the dishes, doing your taxes or clearing some clutter. This tool is the...
- Set a timer for 5-15 minutes
- Clear clutter until the timer goes off
There are a few important things to remember about using the time container. First of all, as you set your time container you also want to set your expectation container. You are not going to clear your entire closet in 15 minutes, but you can go through one drawer, or the top of your bedside table or a stack of junk mail.
You also have to stop. The reason we stop is to honour ourselves and to avoid slipping into "doing it all" and staying up all night trying to get it right. Remember that one of the trademarks of perfectionism is all or nothing thinking, so once we get started our instinct may be to do it all and to do it perfectly. This can be a punishing path to go down, as those of us who have stayed up into the wee hours clearing clutter know very well.
Celebrating is also important. The reason that we celebrate is to acknowledge that we accomplished our task. So many big things in life pass us by without notice, but when we start to celebrate the little things, we're more likely to start celebrating the big things too. We're also more likely to try clearing clutter again if we make it fun and easy.
Here are some great ways to celebrate:
- Make a nice cup of tea
- Go for a walk around the block
- Call a supportive friend
- Pat yourself on the back
- Shake your booty!
However you decide to celebrate, make sure that it's healthy and supportive. If the clutter on your butt is getting you down, celebrating with food may not end up feeling like a celebration, so shake that butt to your favorite tune instead.
Now, go forth, clear clutter and most importantly, have FUN! When you clear clutter, you start making space for what you really want in your life and that is definitively worth celebrating!