The two *FREE* things you need to be successful at decluttering

clutter busting bootcamp decluttering tips free advice Jun 29, 2021
Two pink heart-shaped balloons float against a greeny-blue sky.

I spend a lot of time with my clients and it can be intimate, vulnerable work at times. It is not uncommon for me to care for my clients through tears and breakthroughs; but as the "to go" pile ​​grows, so do my clients' smiles and confidence. Often they wonder aloud why they haven't been able to make this change happen for themselves, and I want to share the answer with you.

The two “M”s

The reason decluttering plans often come unstuck is because the two Ms (Momentum and Maintenance) are left out of the equation. These two elements work hand-in-hand to create long term success; but they are entirely co-dependent. Momentum will get the job done, but without Maintenance your efforts will be in vain. Or you can attempt Maintenance and try to stay on top of what you already have, but without any Momentum behind you, you will find yourself shuffling the same stuff around, without making any progress. (I call this the Clutter Shuffle, by the way.) So how exactly do these two decluttering BFFs team up to make your efforts unstoppable, and long lasting?

Let’s start with Momentum. To be successful in your decluttering projects, you’re going to need to take regular and consistent action over a period of time. One thing I absolutely know to be true when it comes to decluttering is that “30 minutes once a month” is not going to help you achieve your goals. So we need Momentum - I’d recommend a minimum of 60 minutes per week. Once you have some momentum, interesting things start to happen:

  1. Your confidence grows. Every time you make the decision to let something go, you are providing yourself with evidence that you can do this decluttering thing. Evidence is an important tool in your decluttering toolkit; every time you think “I can’t do this, it’s too hard”, you can call upon your recent evidence that actually, yes you can do this.

  2. You become faster and more efficient. As your confidence grows, the decisions become easier. You spend less time deliberating over every item, so you find yourself working through your 60 minutes of decluttering with greater efficiency.

  3. You start to enjoy the process. Us humans are hard-wired to move towards things that we enjoy, and move away from things that are hard, scary, or boring. The two changes above are whirring away in your brain to create a positive association with decluttering - this is a game changer. Once you start to enjoy decluttering, you’ll know that you’ve achieved Momentum and can shift the focus to Maintenance.

You can supercharge your momentum ... Read to the bottom for  more tips!

As with any skill, once you have mastered decluttering and achieved your goals, you must keep practising to remain proficient. Enter Maintenance; I’ll walk you through an example. Let’s say you set a goal of decluttering and organising your garage. You do this by spending 60 minutes every week for 5 months. By the end of that time, your garage looks amazing and you’re delighted the job is done. 12 months later, to your horror, the garage is overflowing again. How did that happen? Where did all that stuff come from? Waaaaahhh! Boom - there goes the positive association with decluttering and there goes the confidence. You have to start from scratch.

Or here’s an alternative reality: you finish the garage and it looks amazing. You’re proud and delighted. You also recognise that the empty workbench will be irresistible to everyone in your home and that the newly-cleared floor is now a dumping ground waiting to happen. So you resolve to maintain - to come into the garage once a month and quickly put things to rights, before it can snowball out of your control.

Maintenance doesn’t need to be time consuming - if you’ve truly broken the back of the clutter in the Momentum phase, then you shouldn't need to be dedicating hours to keeping things tidy and uncluttered. Depending on the space, a few minutes every couple of weeks to reset things should be enough to keep on top of things. This still applies to me, I promise! I have my pantry set up to my preference, but once every couple of months I do a 5 minute (yes, really!) whip through to make sure everything is where it belongs.

You can build your own Momentum, and now that you know how important Maintenance is, you can make sure that is a part of your decluttering project plan. But if the idea of spending 60 minutes every week for months on end has you heading to the shops for a spot of retail therapy (noooooo, more stuff is not the answer!), there is another option. I can give you Momentum!

  • If you are in Auckland, an in-person session is the perfect way to kickstart your decluttering journey. We work together on your project - by the end of the session you’ll have more confidence, you’ll be faster and more effective, and you’ll have built a positive association with decluttering through a fun session with yours truly. Book a free 15-minute consultation now to learn how this works

  • If you are outside of Auckland, my signature one-on-one coaching programme, Clutter Busting Bootcamp is your ticket to Momentum. Work with me for two weeks, online, from the comfort of your home - by the end of Bootcamp, you’ll have made leaps and bounds towards your decluttering and organising goals. The dates for the next round have been announced and you can sign up now.

Pro tips to supercharge your Momentum:

  1. Schedule the time into your diary. If it isn’t in your diary, it isn’t real.

  2. Try and do it on the same day, at the same time, every week.

  3. Celebrate your successes by sharing with a supportive friend. Send photos, say out loud that you’re proud of your work - reinforce that positive association that will have you heading back for more every week.

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