• It's normal to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of decluttering.
  • A straightforward decluttering battle plan can help you tackle clutter bit by bit.
  • Studies show that incremental decluttering brings maximum results over time.

As a Downsizing Specialist, I regularly encounter homeowners who feel overwhelmed by the task of decluttering. The physical work seems daunting and the possible emotional upheaval unpleasant. Sometimes they simply don’t know where to start.

In the end, they push it off into the “some day” future. Clutter becomes the enemy that holds them prisoner in a home that no longer suits their needs, goals or lifestyle. 

But there is good news: clutter can be conquered with a straightforward battle plan!

Just like the clutter did not suddenly sneak in uninvited and annex the basement overnight, so too will success take some time and effort. But studies show that small increments of dedicated effort over time bring the maximum results.

The Five-Step Decluttering Battle Plan

Step One: Prepare to Do Battle

Start strong by declaring your intention and writing “D-Day” ("D" for declutter) on the calendar. Give notice to those using your home as free storage that their days are numbered, and they need to make arrangements for their belongings to be removed.

Take the time to gather your supplies, like clear totes with lids, contractor garbage bags, and the like. And don’t forget to visualize the victory when you reclaim unused parts of your home!

Step Two: Take Back the Territory

Efficiency experts have found that chunking time into 25-minute increments provides focused effort without feeling overwhelmed. This technique reduces distraction and procrastination while greatly improving productivity. Sessions once or twice a week will yield amazing results.

Since we all have limited amounts of motivation in the tank, most organizing experts recommend you start in the most problematic area of the house first. Once that is tip-top, move to the room that needs the next most attention. Rinse and repeat!

Step Three: Call in Reinforcements

Sometimes a fresh batch of recruits is just what’s needed when energy or motivation flag. Now is the time to ask for help from family and friends to complete that final push.

Step Four: Hire Mercenaries

If your first line of “volun-tolds” fizzles out, it might be time to hire professional “big guns” to do the heavy lifting of sorting and organizing. Success is guaranteed with this option. Professional organizers can work wonders with custom-made solutions for a fee.

Step Five: Divide and Conquer

This strategy divides stuff into the following categories: garbage, donation, sell, and keep. With your motivation, supplies, allies, and strategy firmly in hand, you can march into a brighter, lighter future knowing that your proactive campaign will reap rewards for weeks and months to come.  

Decluttering your home doesn’t need to seem so daunting when you have a plan in place. I promise you it will be worth the time and effort, for the reward of relaxing later!

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About the Author

Sharon Parenteau is Sales Representative with Keller Williams Referred Realty and abTrusted Partner at Viive Planning. She is the Founder of SMART Realty Solutions and specializes in transitioning 55+ Homeowners. Visit the SMART website to request your booklet version of this blog post, and to sign up for Sharon's 30-Day Decluttering Challenge.

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