There seem to be so many approaches to decluttering. It makes me think of the numerous diet plans available. I’ve tried them all. I attempted to a room at a time but it took too long and I lost momentum. I’ve tried doing a little bit each day but I could never decide where to do that day. I even downloaded some decluttering calendars but lost track when they focused on an area of clutter I didn’t own.

So it was time to design my own programme. No more reading books on the subjects, following minimalism blogs and talking about it. It was time to stop tripping over the boxes of junk, holding onto things I didn’t even know I owned and squashing more stuff into cupboards.

Make a plan to declutter

From projects, I’ve done in the past, and inspired by the approach in Getting Things Done I knew I needed a structure. Just a way of keeping on track, and to do little and often. I also was willing to make it my big project for 2015. The first task I added to my planner was planning the declutter. I got to it when January arrived!

I spent a couple of weeks thinking about all the spaces that I had. Just chewing it over in between doing other things. Then I made a list of every room and all the places in each room. To ensure that I wasn’t biting off more than I could chew and therefore risk not completing a space I subdivided larger areas such as cupboards and chests of drawers. Unless the contents are very straightforward, each drawer or shelf is considered a space on its own.

Having listed all the places that needed work I figured out how many I would have to do each month to be done by the end of 2015. To stay on schedule I need to do 6 places each month.

Month end

At the end of each month, I am assigning the spaces to work on the next month. This allows me to take into account places it would be useful to do at a certain time. So the trunk full of gardening equipment for the month I plan to get back into the garden. And to accommodate any time pressures. When I am working on bigger spaces I will these to months with bank holiday weekends.

So far I’m 10 places in. I’m discovering the joy of being able to open drawers without them sticking, of removing the treasures from the trash and wondering why I keep so much packaging. However I will need to take action sooner rather than later on the pile of stuff that needs disposing of, or it might become a space for decluttering in its own right. The feeling of space that halving the contents of a few drawers have provided is amazing. I imagine taking a huge pile of cardboard for recycling will make me feel like I have wings. And a bag of stuff to a charity shop will make me feel like I’ve got room to spread them!