Wait, I see the number fifteen, you said, FIVE easy Tips for Clearing Clutter.
Yup, that's right, just five in this article.
Step five will explain the fifteen.
Don't skip ahead, Tips 1-4 are just as good as Tip 5.
clean up when you are done. That means even if you spend just fifteen minutes paying bills and you didn't finish, gather everything up and put it away or file what you can. It's important not to leave unfinished projects laying around all over the house. This has been a hard lesson for me to realize because for many years I thought that if I left things out in the open where I could see them, it would prompt me to get to it sooner than later. I finally had to admit that this wasn't the case. Things, piles, unfinished projects just stayed where I left them and that did not create a calm and peaceful environment in the least for me. You can always go back to a project later. The peace you will feel when you clean up after a project is tangible.
2. Get rid or clear one thing a day. I heard this great tip while teaching my last Clearing Clutter class from a student. She heard somewhere that for Lent, someone decided to get rid of one thing each day from their home. And as a class, we thought, why just one thing, why not two.
This may not seem like a big deal, but at the end of forty days, if you decide to get rid of two things a day, that would be eighty things all together. That is a pretty big deal. And you can decide what those things will be. It can be anything.
3. How to limit what comes into the house, while you are clearing clutter and getting more organized?
A good rule of thumb is one thing in, one thing out. So if you buy a new pair of shoes, you have to release a pair of shoes. You buy two boxes of cereal, make sure you just finished two boxes of cereal. It's amazing how much we have. Ask yourself, how many pairs of jeans do I own (insert anything you have a lot of), and how many do you actually wear. If you decide take inventory and lighten your wardrobe, start with one category like T-shirts. Don't try to tackle your whole closet all at once.
4. The process of clearing clutter can seem like it is going super slowly in the beginning. It is tough in the beginning. It's like exercising a muscle, a clearing clutter muscle, that you haven't used for a while. Like starting a new exercise routine or activity. The first two to three weeks are the toughest, while your body is getting use to using new muscles.
I recommend keeping a clearing clutter journal. Whenever you clear anything, organize something, take the trash out, bring a bag of clothes to good will, etc., jot it down. Jot every little thing down. I mean it. It is amazing how much we do and don't give ourselves credit for doing. I think you will be surprised when you keep a journal of how much you accomplished in a day. And don't feel like you have to journal everyday, don't force yourself to clear clutter on days you just don't have the time or the energy. The goal is to feel good. Feel good when you are clearing, feel good when you make notes in your journal. If you look at your journal and don't see an entry for a while, don't focus on that, focus on how much you did the last time you made an entry.
5. Join the 15 Minute Club. I just love fifteen minutes. This has been my saving Grace and go to tool for when I need to clear some clutter. I decide on a project, like sorting through old paperwork (filing, recycling, taking action), set the alarm on my phone for fifteen minutes and just focus on the task at hand. No interruptions. If the phone rings and it's not urgent I don't answer, same with texts, emails, etc. Fifteen minutes sometimes feels like eternity, but I just keep powering through. Breathing, stretching if I need to and keep going in a gentle way until the alarm goes off. Yes. Done.
And if that feels good, I do another fifteen minutes. Tasks could be simply things like doing laundry, doing the dishes, sorting through old clothes or pictures, etc., etc. How about fifteen minutes to clean the bathroom - whatever you get to, you may not finish cleaning the whole bathroom in fifteen minutes, but you can start with fifteen minutes, see what you get done and go back to it if you need to.
I created a little calendar for myself and everyday I accomplish my fifteen minutes I put an X through that day. I do try to do fifteen minutes a day of clearing paperwork because that is the thing I "hoard" the most. I seem to always say, I'll do it tomorrow and before you know it, a months worth of paperwork both important and unimportant has piled up. So my goal is to move through my old paperwork while keeping up with the daily mail and paperwork and before you know it, I will only have to focus on the new mail/paperwork on a daily basis. And my goal is that I will only need to spend 15 minutes taking care of "new" paperwork.
Some families do the 15 minute thing as a family unit as part of their bedtime routine. Before the kids brush their teeth and get in their pjs, the whole family spends 15 minutes picking up clutter around the house. The kids can focus on picking up their toys, while mom and dad pick up clothes or organize the mud room, or you can involve the whole family in one project. Up to you. Make it fun. Set the timer. Put some fun or relaxing music on. Maybe do it after dinner and dessert is the reward. If you start this early enough with your kids, it will become a habit and one hopefully they take into their adulthood.
I hope you Join the 15 Minute Club.
It's free..... and you'll love the benefits.
P.S. And please feel free to just try one of these tips at a time if that feels right for you. The goal is to clear clutter and feel good about it during and after the process. Please don't put pressure on yourself to do all these tips if they don't resonate with you. It may go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway, DO WHAT FEELS GOOD TO YOU, FOR YOU AND IN A WAY THAT WORKS FOR YOU. This is a step that will set you up for success.