6 Ideas to Motivate You to Declutter This Thanksgiving

I love decluttering at this time of year. At least for me, it begins a long stretch of time off. So I’m able to be around my clutter and focus on getting rid of and organizing it.

30 Day Challenge

 

Even if you just have a few extra days off, here are some comments from everyday people about what helps them declutter:

 

“Visiting someone’s house who is extremely over decorated or overcluttered and realizing I don’t want my home to be that way. Or looking around and realizing I don’t need xyz because I haven’t used those items in months (or years). Also moving to a (much!) smaller apartment helped me declutter at a fairly breakneck speed.” -Candace B.

 

“Keeping myself accountable motivates me – for any new ‘thing’ we donate 3 items, as an example. Also motivated by knowing cleaning and organizing becomes easier with less stuff.” -Jen A.

 

“All the money we’ve earned from selling stuff on eBay and Craigslist. Two 5-year-old laptops went for $450+ each. Collectibles, toys, baby gear…even $5 for something that’s taking up space is awesome. smile emoticon I also send clothes to ThredUP which gives me store credit to shop. Of course having a clean, uncluttered home is a good benefit too.” -Amber M.

 

“When I think about cleaning out my aunt’s house after her death. She was a hoarder. It was a very emotional time since we had no idea how advanced the hoarding was. Now the smallest sign of clutter makes me nuts.” -Sharon D.

 

“We got new floors installe in half of our house. I had to move everything in the bedrooms and most of the closets. I made a rule for myself that nothing went back into those rooms unless it was being put in its place. (A lot of things had been place haphazardly into closets before this.) I purged and sorted as I went. Once I was done with that half of the house, I just kept going. It felt so great to have things organized. Decluttering was a huge part of the process.” -Heather H.

 

“My wife and I are in process of getting certified to foster. We’ve decided it would be good if the kid had room to put their stuff.” -Dennis W.

 

I love hearing why people declutter. It reminds me how important it is and how it can affect so many areas of our lives.

 

Maybe you’re not planning a move, but you could plan to get new flooring in a room you’d like to have decluttered.

So many of these ideas aren’t big projects. They simply have to do with our thoughts. Imagine or remember a cluttered place you’ve seen, and use that to help you change your clutter before it gets that bad.

 

I hope these ideas help you get started because, once you do, then it just gets easier and better. So choose one idea to help you with whatever task you’re working on this week.

 

Wishing you a focused and productive decluttering season!

Inspiration for a Clutter-Free Thanksgiving

This week, I’ve asked what helps people in their decluttering endeavors. Here are some of their ideas that might inspire you this week.

  • “A new tequnique, gadget, storage container, etc.” -Tiffany S.
  • “I like to listen to a podcast or an audiobook whenever I do some deep cleaning/room rearranging. It keeps my mind occupied and makes me feel like I can work longer because it’s long-form content.” -Rachel R.
  • “I spend an hour decluttering/cleaning, then 20-30 minutes of a Netflix episode or reading a book.” -Charyse H.

 

I hope you can use one of these as inspiration to motivate you. Just don’t let any of these things get you sidetracked from the main thing of actually decluttering!

This post is part of a 30 Day Challenge, so the instructions for week 2 are below. If you’d like to get the email for week 3 in your inbox, be sure to sign up for the newsletter. I try to keep it simple and make it where you don’t have to be working on the same thing as everyone else in the challenge.

Week 2

This week I only have one suggestion, but it involves a couple of steps.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. So it’s time to try something new!

  1. Find an article about getting rid of clutter. Since there are some not-so-helpful tips out there, I’ll suggest a few sites that are great! Becoming Minimalist, Zen Habits, and A Slob Comes Clean.
  2. Choose one of their methods to try this week. Or try a capsule wardrobe. It’s amazing what a big different decluttering makes on your entire life! (Here’s another comment I got when I asked what inspires others to declutter: “Since I’ve been losing weight, each season I donate my loose clothes. I don’t want to see them again!” -Deborah S.)
  3. Actually give it a try! Aim to spend about 10 minutes a day on it this week. If you find that it isn’t working for you after a few days, try another one. It’s so easy to give up because one thing doesn’t work, but just keeping all the benefits in mind is a huge help in keeping me from giving up.

Until next week,

Happy Decluttering!

Clutter-Free by Thanksgiving 30 Day Challenge

30 Day Challenge

It’s that time of year again, and I’ve gotten requests for help with getting rid of clutter.

I do realize there are less than 30 days until Thanksgiving, but I thought you might also appreciate some motivation in the cleanup process afterwards in order to stay clutter-free for all the celebrations following Thanksgiving.

 

So here’s a quick overview of the plan for this week to give you some concrete steps to follow.

 

Week 1

1. Download the free KonMari App & use it as a guide for getting rid of clutter. (Only available on iPhones as of right now.) If you don’t have an iPhone, the KonMari Adventures FaceBook group is also inspiring.

2. Set up a storage bin of some sort with a trash bag to put all the stuff you’ll be getting rid of this month.

3. Try to spend at least 5 minutes a day getting rid of clutter (no more than 45 minutes a day unless you have someone helping you) and not just hiding or organizing it.

4. Start a chart to mark off each day that you get rid of something.

5. Find a friend or FaceBook group to share your progress with at the end of each week.

6. Join this newsletter to get next week’s challenge sent straight to your inbox.

7. Most of all, have fun! Decluttering doesn’t have to be dreadful. You can be creative, or you can keep it really simple. Whatever works for you, but just do something. As you work on it little by little, it will become less overwhelming.

 

I’d love to know if you’re taking the challenge! Shoot me an email to let me know you’re giving it a try this year. You can also tell me why it’s so important to you.

mcstarbuck {at} gmail {dot} com

I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Wishing you a clutter-free Thanksgiving,

 

Megan

 

How much is a Clutter-Free Home Worth?

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” -Unknown

 

If you knew I’d give you a million dollars if you spent 30 minutes a day getting rid of stuff for 250 days out of the year, you’d do it, right?

 

A huge part of the problem is that we don’t see the value of getting rid of clutter. I’m not giving you a million dollars, but I honestly believe that what you’d gain from decluttering is worth even more than that.

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Let’s face it, we could have a million bucks and still be stressed. We might be able to afford a bigger house, but without changing our habits, that big house could become just as cluttered as our current home.

 

After decluttering for about six months, though, you will have developed skills that can help you establish habits and overcome obstacles in other areas of your life. All that stuff you got rid of? You’ll won’t have to deal with it ever again, unlike when you try to just organize everything.

 

There’s a shift that needs to take place in the way you think about clutter as well as the process of getting rid of it.

 

A precious lady in her 70s that I know from my mom’s church told me recently that she declutters when she’s mad. She used to go shopping instead. What a great way to use decluttering to your benefit!

 

Just like with decluttering, plenty of people don’t think working out is fun. I’m one of them. But I can see the benefit of it, so I do it anyway, knowing the effort is worth it. But I also try to make being active a part of my lifestyle as well as something fun.

 

For example, I work outdoors where I take students on hikes. I get paid to exercise. Or I go swimming. It doesn’t feel like a workout because it’s fun, but I’m getting those same benefits.

 

That’s what we can do with decluttering. It isn’t very fun when we don’t see progress, when our decluttering isn’t effective. It’s key, therefore, to make a lasting and noticeable difference especially early in the decluttering process.

 

Sometimes it will feel very much like work. But other times it will be a stress-reliever. Sometimes you’ll be decluttering alone. Other times it can be a family competition.

 

Speaking of competitions, we like to reward ourselves, right? It’s important to make sure our rewards encourage our habit rather than destroy it. So with decluttering, we might not want to make “Take a week off decluttering” our reward after decluttering for 30 days.

 

According to Gretchen Rubin, an expert on habits and happiness, that wouldn’t necessarily be a good reward because it makes decluttering seem like something negative that you need a break from. Then it also gets you out of the routine and causes you to lose momentum.

 

That’s not to say that there won’t naturally be weeks where less decluttering gets done, but let’s not schedule an extra one in there just for fun.

 

As Rubin also explains, a better reward would be one that encourages your habit. For example, your reward could be that you invite people over. It’s fun, but it also will motivate you to do more last-minute decluttering.

Or your reward could be that you hire someone to haul stuff off for you after a certain amount of time. In addition to making you want to get rid of more before help arrives to take it away, this reward also makes the process of decluttering easier on you.

 

If you don’t value decluttering and its results, though, these rewards won’t make much of a difference. You’ve got to also remember how the process itself is benefiting you by teaching you things such as self-discipline and how to prioritize and make better decisions.

 

The packrat mindset is that decluttering is a poor use of time. Aren’t there so many better things we could be doing? Things that are more meaningful and fun?

 

But the clutter-free mindset is that decluttering helps every other area of your life: relationships, mental health, physical health, spiritual health, and finances. With that in mind, how much is a clutter-free home worth to you?

 

 


This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, From Packrat to Clutter-Free.

 

Since I’m still working on the book, I’d love to hear about your biggest clutter problems so I can be sure to address them in my book and make it a work that you get the most out of. Please contact me with any feedback or ideas at mcstarbuck {at} gmail {dot} com.

Or simply leave a comment on this post.

 

Simplifying Mother’s Day

Mom’s do so much to help make our lives simpler. (Yes, they can complicate it, too, but at this time of year, we’ll focus on how they make things easier on us.) Mother’s Day is a great way to repay them at least a little by simplifying their day.

simplifying mother's day

You may know a lot of ways to do this already:

  • Take over some household chores like cooking or cleaning
  • Manage her phone calls/texts for the day, so she isn’t on the phone all day but can also still receive any messages that can’t wait til Monday or that would be fun to get (I might have to try this one this year!)
  • Babysit a younger sibling
  • Help her declutter or organize a part of her life that’s been chaotic lately
  • Teach her a simple skill or habit that will save her time

 

The main thing is to think about them and what they have going on in their lives right now rather than giving a gift based on yourself and what’s happening in your world. What stresses them out that you could take care of for them for a day or two? What dreams or goals do they have that you could help them get closer to reaching?

When our own lives are hectic, it’s easy for us to put little time, effort, or sacrifice into our Mother’s Day gift. Try to simplify your life enough this year to be able to put some more thought than usual into your gift this year. Think of all the ways your mom has simplified your life. You don’t have to go over the top or be super creative. Just be thoughtful.

And if you’re a mom, try to simplify your own Mother’s Day weekend so that you can fully enjoy whatever gifts your children have for you this year.

 

“She deserves an armful of roses, but she’s satisfied with a

handful of weeds.” -Sheri Easter

3 Things Caregivers Need to Hear

No matter what type of care you’re giving, there are a few things most caregivers face: exhaustion, feelings of inadequacy, and questioning one’s purpose.

Having been a caregiver myself throughout my twenties as a nanny, at a special needs camp, and with my grandmother and now my dad, I still have those struggles. I never feel completely prepared or qualified for all of the responsibility as well as physical and mental demands. Hopefully what I’ve learned will help you overcome these feelings if you ever struggle with them, too.

Simple life of caregiving

Here are 3 things that I’ve needed to remind myself in order to stay somewhat sane:

  1. This is just a season. It may be a long season or even a very long season, but it’s only part of my life. It’s a difficult balance because caregiving can be all-consuming. It’s been important for me to maintain hobbies and work outside of my role as a caregiver while also giving up other hobbies and jobs that no longer fit my schedule. I love being a caregiver, but I also love other things. I still have a life outside of taking care of others.
  2. What you’re doing matters. This helps me because some days it seems I’m doing more harm than good. I mess up so many times and think someone else would be better at it. Other days I don’t feel like doing anything. It just seems unimportant, and I feel like I’m trapped and ungrateful. When I remember that I’m helping my family as well as the person I’m caring for, it helps me have a better attitude (although I still have lazy days).
  3. Your life has purpose outside of being a caregiver. Even though being a caregiver is huge, sometimes it doesn’t seem like it in the grand scheme of things. It’s great to be able to get away when possible to help in the community or even to write a letter or blog post to encourage others and let them know they aren’t alone.

 

I’m so blessed to have people in my life who are encouraging me with these same messages. Sometimes I feel like I’m the most selfish caregiver and that no one else has these struggles. But as I think about friends and family members who are taking care of others, I remember some of the things they’ve said about it and realize that maybe I’m not the only one.

If you know a caregiver, I hope this helps you see how you can affirm what they’re doing and allow them the space to take care of themselves as they take care of others.

If you are a caregiver, I hope this helps you know that someone else understands. Try not to be so hard on yourself. You can make it through another day.

 

If you’re a caregiver, I’d love to connect with you and share support and resources as this has become a big part of my life again.

Day 30! Decluttering Blankets

30 Day Decluttering Challenge

You guys have done so much this month! Look how far you’ve come!

For blankets, I suggest having a heavy one for each bed in winter, a light blanket for each bed in summer, and maybe one extra blanket per person. (I confess that I actually have four, although since I don’t have kids or anyone to make my total number of household blankets higher, it’s good to have extra for guests.)

That doesn’t count sleeping bags and other camping blankets.

One of my students in Clutter-Free by Thanksgiving shared this idea of what she does with blankets she isn’t using (instead of putting them in a closet):

Store blankets spread out under the mattress.

I love this because I only have to take them out and put them back twice a year, and I save so much space!

Today’s Task: Take some time to look back at where you were at the beginning of January. How has your closet changed? Go through your blankets and choose 2-4 that spark the most joy per person. Try storing the ones you aren’t using under a mattress.

Day 28: 30 Day Decluttering Challenge

30 Day Decluttering Challenge

I’ve counted towels in clothing because they take up a lot of space and affect laundry.

For those of you with kids, this may be especially helpful.

My sister was tired of seeing towels on the bathroom floor, so she got one towel for each kid of a different color. She got a hook for each one, and if she ever saw one on the floor then she’d know whose it was.

I haven’t seen a towel on the floor in some time now!

You really can do with just one towel per person and maybe two extras for guests and big cleanups, like if the bathtub were to overflow.

Today’s Task: Go through towels and have everyone choose a favorite. Keep a couple of extras if you want and get rid of the rest! You can also go through hand towels and dish towels.

How to Stay Inspired to Declutter

Day 26

30 Day Decluttering Challenge

I’ve been writing about clutter for over a year now. I keep wondering when I’ll run out of stuff to say.

But I continue learning and trying new things.

Even when I’m not decluttering, I’m reading about it or studying other people’s behavior or just observing the clutter or lack of it wherever I go.

This naturally inspires me to re-evaluate my own clutter when I get a chance. It keeps me from getting bogged down in the same old thing.

Today’s Task: Try moving out of your typical routine in the next few days. Make it a competition with yourself or your family. Dress up just for your decluttering time. Invite a friend to join you. Actually set a timer. Review your chart of all your progress or look back at your Before pictures to see how far you’ve come.