How to Finish Every Decluttering Project You Ever Start

Inside: If you’re tired of being overwhelmed or never finishing decluttering projects, check out this list of 7 tips that will help know exactly how to finish your decluttering project every time! 

It was a cold day in the mountains and all the campers have just left. We had a few hours before the new campers arrived. As part of the volunteer Summer work crew, one of my jobs was to change the sheets on the bunk beds throughout the camp.

This was a necessary but unglamorous job. At times the immature high-schooler in me did not want to do the job with excellence. Thankfully, I was paired with an older girl who had more wisdom than me. She said something that has stuck with me to this day. She said, “Anyone can start job well it’s how you finish it that matters.”

Many years later, I’ve taken that advice with me when I’ve ended professional jobs, moved to new to cities, or volunteered for organizations.

Despite my commitment to finishing jobs for others, it’s easy to let myself off the hook when it comes to personal matters.

Are you a serial starter?  How many times have you started decluttering only to get stalled in your tracks? Maybe you started a home organization project and got derailed. How many times have you started a diet and gave it up on Friday pizza night? Or maybe you set New Year’s resolutions only to abandon them before the end of January.

If I’m being candid, I’ve done ALL OF THESE!

I can so relate with my readers that share their struggle with finishing decluttering projects.  Recently, I have challenged myself to keep the commitments I make to me just as I would to others.

Let’s look at how you can keep your commitment to yourself by finishing what you started.  We’re going to dive into 7 tips to help you finish every decluttering project you ever start! (spoiler alert, you can apply these tips to more than just decluttering!)

1. Write down your goal

The first thing you should do is write down your goal.  You may not typically think about writing down a goal for decluttering, but writing things down has tremendous benefits!  Here are 7 to consider:

  • It makes you more committed
  • Helps clear your mind
  • Clarifies your goals and priorities
  • It makes you more efficient
  • Helps keep you motivated
  • Encourages consistent progress
  • Gives you a sense of achievement

close up of a woman's hand writing down her decluttering goals

2. Set timeframes and make commitments

In addition to writing down your goal be sure to include timeframes for finishing your decluttering project. You need to break the projects down into smaller tasks. For example, instead of saying I want to de-clutter the kitchen, break it into smaller steps like clean out the junk drawer, declutter under the sink, and organize the cleaning products. Once you break the project into smaller steps assign dates to each step.  These dates are your commitment to the timeframe. 

3. Prioritize

When you’ve broken your decluttering project into smaller steps you can then prioritize the steps even further.  Think about what motivates you. Maybe there’s an eyesore that bothers you every time you walk by. Put that project first on your list and imagine the satisfaction you’ll feel once it’s completed. Or maybe you’re having a hard time getting started… identify the smallest and easiest steps to help build your momentum. Prioritizing your action steps will help you finish your decluttering project every time.

4. Use time-blocking

Alright, let’s admit you’re guilty of multitasking.  Multitasking has been proven to actually make you less productive!  Gasp! How many times do you check your phone for text messages, emails, or Facebook updates?  I’m guilty too!  Time blocking is a simple tool you can use to help you focus your energy for a predetermined amount of time. 

What’s great about time blocking is you can make it work with almost any schedule. I know a woman who started a new business in the midst of running another business and having two young children. She decided she could work on the new business in 25-minute bursts of time. She listed her activities and then blocked off 25 minutes intervals at different points in the day.  Now she has a thriving new business that is significantly more successful than the previous.

To start using time blocking to help you finish your decluttering project, determine the amount that time you can dedicate on a daily or weekly basis. Block out the time on your calendar to commit to your decluttering project.

5. Identify the tradeoffs

Another helpful tip to finish your decluttering project is to recognize the trade-off in advance.

Recently a friend of mine decided to remove the carpet and tile and replace their flooring.  The husband had a 4-day weekend and this was their window of time to do it.  They watched a couple of YouTube videos but had no prior experience.  Four days later the entire family was still working on the demolition.  Their house was a  wreck and in total disorder and now they needed to go back to work so the project wouldn’t be finished until the next weekend.

In this case, identifying the tradeoffs would have looked something like this:

  • All 7 family members will need to be involved in this project which means they won’t be able to do other activities for these 4 days
  • The entire house is going to be in disarray, but it will look great when it’s finished
  • It may cost more money than you expect, so be sure to put aside some extra
  • In the end, it will all be worth it

Identify trade-offs before you start a project and you’ll be better prepared and more committed when things arise.

6. Practice achieving your goals

This is a real confidence booster. Do you know how many times you set yourself up for failure? You make a commitment to a goal so big that it’s highly unlikely you’d ever achieve it.

But big goals are not the only way to get things done. In fact, you’ll be more committed if you experience success if you take things on a little at a time.

Like I mentioned earlier, write down your goal. Make sure it’s a doable and achievable goal. In other words, make sure it’s realistic. If you’ve been burned by not completing projects in the past set out this time to start AND FINISH a small decluttering project. 

The more you see yourself being able to complete the decluttering project the more willing you’ll be to start and finish every decluttering project.

So how do you start small?… One drawer at the time, one shelf at a time, one small space at a time, or projects like cleaning out the bathroom drawer or the kid’s clothing drawer. Write down your goal (commitment), spend an hour or less to get it done, and see yourself achieve the goal.  This will build momentum and help you to finish every decluttering project you ever start! 

Decluterwomen's clothes hanging in an organized closet after she finished her decluttering project.

7. Manage your energy

There are natural points in the day when you have more energy.  Yes, it’s also true right after you have a cup of coffee that you’ll have more energy.  But you also have a natural circadian rhythm.  We have high energy points and low energy points in our day.  For most adults, between 1-3 p.m. is a low energy point.  THIS WOULD NOT BE THE TIME to start your decluttering project.

Maybe you’re an early bird or perhaps you like to stay up late to crank work out.  Think about when you have your burst of energy and schedule your decluttering project in that window of time.

You can also increase your energy by tapping into your internal motivation.  Remind yourself why this decluttering project is important to you.  How will it feel with you’ve completed it?  What benefits will you gain from it?  Will you save time, have less frustration, or just enjoy living in a decluttered space?

If you’re tired of getting stalled on your decluttering project and wondering how to finish every decluttering project you ever start, use these tips!  By writing down your goals, setting dates, and prioritizing your work, you’ll be more committed to the project.  Identifying trade-offs, practicing achieving your goals, and managing your energy will also help you cross the finish line.

So, what are you waiting for?  It’s time to get started (AND FINISH) your decluttering project!

 

 

 

 

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A smiling woman that is happy she finally finished her decluttering project




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