About this time of year I see a lot of Decluttering 40 Bags in 40 Days kinds of posts and groups. I am all for anything that inspires you to live the life you want. However….
Our culture has kind of latched on to this “decluttering mania” and “throw out 40 bags for lent” kind of mentality that can lead to a big sense of failure. I don’t want that for you.
You may, in fact, want or need to pare down your stuff. Declutter. Purge. Whatever word you want to use. But if that’s all you do, I promise that you will be back in the exact same spot next year, wondering why you are always overwhelmed and still trying to get organized.
I’ve started introducing myself as the organizer who wants you to stop decluttering. By that, I mean I don’t just want you to get better at decluttering. I want you to get better at stopping the clutter before it starts.
It doesn’t matter how many bags you send out the back door, if you are still bringing just as much stuff in the front door.
If this is you, then try something different this spring. Here are some options:
Stop clutter before it starts by putting things back at the store before you get to the checkout register. Or do a buy-nothing month and use/eat/gift only things you own. Breaking the shopping habit is going to go a LOT farther to helping you stay organized than any other strategy that you can try. Less coming in means less to go into a trash bag later.
Go through 40 bins, baskets, drawers and shelves in 40 days. Don’t just try to declutter. Look at what you own and why. Did you buy seconds because you couldn’t find the first one? Or is the space not laid out well? Or did you just put something aside because you didn’t take the time to put it away?
Set aside $40 a day (or maybe just $4 a day or $40 a week or whatever works for you) for 40 days to upgrade your closets. If you need new shelving, hangers or lighting, just a few weeks of saving for it could make it a reality.
Try 40 minutes for 40 days. Organizing takes time. We all have a LOT of space in our homes. No, really, we do. But if you never take time to put things away, you’ll constantly see it. So instead of chucking stuff, only to re-buy it later, take 40 minutes each day of lent to put things away. You might still toss a few things, but mostly by putting things AWAY, you’ll get organized, bit by bit.
Are you ready to stop decluttering? Check out the book that will get you there.