The Secret Ingredient to Decluttering, Moving or Organizing

Ever wonder why shows like Clean House, Dress My Nest or virtually anything on HGTV can come in and do in days what families haven't been able to do in years?

It is simple.  They aren't emotionally attached to your stuff.

They come in and quickly make decisions based on what the space needs to be able to meet its desired function.

In time management classes, we are often taught about the 3 D's (deal with, delete or delegate). The idea is that you only want to handle a piece of paper once.  Every time you delay making a decision, you lose time.  For example, if I have a form I'm not really sure what to do with, it might sit on my desk.  Once a week as I go through stuff, I may pick it up and look at it.  Each time, there is a moment of "Now what is this?"  Those moments are lost repeating that same "what is it" task over and over until I finally...1) fill it out and send it off, 2) throw it away or 3) call whoever I need to call to get the information I need to make the decision to deal or delete.

The thing is, this concept works with our "stuff" too.  Each time we touch something that doesn't have an immediate and useful purpose, we lose that moment. The piece of clothing we pass over to what we really want to wear.  The scrap of paper attached to a memory. The canned good we don't need for this week's meal plan.  Our "stuff" takes time in incremental moments.

My family learned this lesson by accident.  When the US Army sent us to Panama, we were only allowed "hold baggage"--that's a small cache of necessities while you wait for the rest of your goods to arrive.  For six weeks, we lived with "hold baggage" and something unexpected happened.  We had tons of time.  We explored. Met our neighbors. Sat outside and watched exotic wildlife walk through our jungle backyard. Once our "stuff" arrived, that time was gone.

Getting into a rhythm of the 3D's so that you only touch each e-mail or paper once is transforming in your work life.  What if you got into that rhythm in your home life of being able to quickly make decisions about "stuff?" Instead of making a decision over and over to keep something you don't use what if you simply decided to donate it? Instead of delaying hanging pictures, positioning furniture or unpacking boxes, what if you just did it? Instead of passing over clothing that you might use someday--what if you shortened the time you spent in your closet simply by paring down the choices?

The secret ingredient to decluttering, moving and organizing is building confidence in making decisions. Rather than delay so that you have to lose moments touching something and deciding not to deal/delete/delegate over and over just do it. Yes, you will make some mistakes and let go of stuff you need later.  But you know what?  That's okay. The loss of any one thing is rarely catastrophic.  And the amount of time you are gifted with, can be transformative.
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall