You probably didn’t see this coming, but it is almost time to organize. On our podcast, “Things That Matter”, I talk with Kondo’s best friend, Anna Patterson, about her life and work and the wisdom she brings. Anna lives in Paris with her husband and two adorable children.
The idea of decluttering your life and belongings comes as a surprise to some people because, as we know, the clutter in their lives isn’t actually a problem. More people suffer from anxiety than there is room for messy couches.
It can be difficult to know where to start with so many options and choices. But you don’t need to reach for the “the broom” to begin cleaning. Here are a few action steps that can help you make headway toward a healthy and organized life.
1. Start with your documents. Perhaps you have stacks of paperwork at home that are tearing your hair out. Having a system for storing documents can help alleviate stress and anxiety about having to spend hours preparing and opening new ones. All this holding on to old documents prevents you from focusing on what’s really important in your life.
2. Strive for a “daily vision” and a “weekly plan.” In other words, you should have a vision and a weekly plan for what you want to accomplish each day. Not having a daily plan can hinder your ability to meet goals and maybe even cause you to give up after a certain point.
3. Minimize clutter. If you are moving, your documents will likely go with you and you should go through them before you leave. If your house is too big to fit all your clothes in one closet, you might want to try a consignment or charity shop.
4. Get rid of things that are obsolete. This one can be an awkward conversation to have with your spouse or significant other, but if you only use that lamp or table once a month, you probably don’t really need it any more. Also, keep your open spaces, like your kitchen, clear. If you have a dining table, don’t have separate tables and chairs – don’t say you want to keep the utensils for an upcoming meal just because you can’t get them out of the cupboard.
5. Set a budget and stick to it. No matter how much you love a particular book or mug, you probably can’t afford to buy it anymore. If you don’t want to spend the money to put it on the shelves, sell it to someone who does.
6. Make a time-share plan. Make a plan to work on your space for at least a month so you have a schedule to look forward to and a plan to stick to.
7. Get outside. The art of decluttering is a daily habit. Not all days are going to be perfect. Sometimes it will rain and muddy the floor, maybe bring mold and allergens into your house. Make a schedule that includes getting outside to run errands, bike around or get a face massage. Even if you cannot put up with the weather, you will achieve a healthy balance of tranquility and productivity.