We all have stuff. It’s just what Americans do. We collect stuff. Some of us have more of it than others and some of us have a harder time keeping that stuff under control.
Having too much stuff can cause a ton of stress.
There is an efficient way to get rid of all of that stress-inducing stuff, a few secrets of which I am going to share with you here today.
#1 – Identify what room needs to be de-stuffed first.
This is the key. If you look around the house and think “I need to get rid of ALL this stuff” you will get so overwhelmed that you will just go watch an episode of “Orange is the New Black” instead.
Choose one room. Any room. If you want to start small, do so. Like the mudroom or the laundry. Or even a dresser drawer. Actually completing the task of de-stuffing that room, or drawer, will make you feel so good that it will make you want to tackle a larger room next.
#2 – Give yourself a good chunk of time to start and finish the project and make it a priority.
This is key. You need to make a date with that room, one that you won’t break. If you try to do this “when you have time” well, you know. Most likely it just won’t happen.
When planning your week, choose an hour or two (or more) and put them on your calendar IN RED so you will see it, remember it and not change it. If it’s on your calendar you are way more likely to get it done!
Also, Salvation Army (and other charities) will pick up stuff from your house for free. So, call the Salvation Army and set up a pick up date with them. If you have a deadline to work around you will be more likely to stick to your throw away schedule.
#3 – Turn on Spotify and set up your speakers.
Throwing away is way easier when done to music. Get out your favorite playlist, put on some comfy clothes and get ready to get down to it.
#4 – Start in one corner of the room.
This is a my special secret and one that WORKS!
In the chosen corner of the room, garbage bag in hand, start throwing things away. Things that you aren’t using, that are broken, that are expired. Put them in that garbage bag. Things that you are still using and keeping get placed nicely back where they belong.
If you aren’t sure whether or not something needs to be thrown out, consider when the last time was that you touched that thing, or even thought about it. If it was over 3 months ago, it’s gone. Acknowledge and be thankful for the role that it played in your life and then say goodbye.
If you come across something that is emotionally fraught then just put it back and get to it later. Don’t let it shut down your learning out process.
Work your way around the room, repeating this process over and over. Don’t skip ahead. Do all four sides of the room. You can do them all in one session or spread them out in more manageable chunks.
#5 – Use the middle of the room.
As you throw away the things that are broken and leave the things that aren’t, you will come across things that can be 1. recycled or 2. given to the Salvation Army. Put those thing in the middle of the room, in two piles. When you are done you can put the recycled stuff at the curb and you wait for the Salvation Army to come pick up the rest.
NOTE: if this step is overwhelming, dividing things into two piles, just skip it and get a bigger garbage bag. Put it all in the garbage and don’t look back.
#6 – Take a minute and look around.
Stand in the doorway of that room. Appreciate how de-stuffed it is. Notice how it makes you feel. Less stressed? Recognize that YOU DID THIS. All by yourself.
Taking a moment to appreciate all of your hard work is a great way to be inspired to keep it up. I used to keep my dining room clean so that whenever I walked by it I was reminded of what I was capable of.
If you can do this, just imagine what else you can do….
#7 – Do not buy more stuff.
I know this seems obvious but, really, it’s what we do. We go to Sam’s Club and think to ourselves “Oh, look. This croquet set is so cheap and summer is coming and we could play together as a family and…” The reality is that, maybe, it will get used once and then put away to gather dust.
Consider purchases carefully before making them. You will not only reduce your stress but you will save yourself money. Money that you can used for a massage or something else that will make your life a better place.
Getting rid of stuff can change your life. De-cluttering your house can de-clutter your mind, freeing it up for way more important things.
Choose what area of your house you would like to start on, set a date, put it to music and throw things away.
Decluttering your house will free you up for bigger things! How great would that feel?
Get in touch with me NOW to get yourself started. You will be glad you did!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.