How to Start Decluttering Again If You Miss a Day (Or a Year or Two)

If we start decluttering twenty minutes a day and vow to make it a habit, invariably the next day the cat needs to go the vet, the washing machine floods and the kids have a snow day. We vow to make up for it tomorrow but life keeps happening and before we know it, we’re planning a weekend marathon declutter, figuring out how many hours we need to work to catch up with the number of twenty minute sessions we’ve skipped and getting incredibly frustrated in the process.

It’s like my regular attempts to become a math whiz

The first few lessons of the math book, where they review the number line and go over the basics fill me with joy because this time, I’m going to be able to understand everything. At long last I’ll reach my goal of becoming an algebra expert. But I have to work the problem sets every day to keep it all fresh in my mind. And all too soon that fateful day comes when I skip it which means (in my perfectionist mind) that next day I have to do both yesterday’s lesson and today’s. And that seems way too much, so I just tell myself I’ll catch up on the weekend and before you know it, I’m 74 lessons behind.

That’s where the trick to all this is: you’re never behind

Did you miss a day’s decluttering? It happens. Did you miss a few days? Life gets busy. So you haven’t done 20 minutes’ decluttering in two months? No worries.

Let’s get back on the horse

  1. Eat first if you haven’t recently. Ideally something with protein, but anything’s better than nothing.
  2. Fill a glass or a bottle with some water and take it with you where you’ll be working
  3. Go use the bathroom. Even if you think you don’t need to.

Alright then, let’s get started.

Set your timer for 20 minutes.

Take three breaths just for you. Nice and slowly, just breathing.

In and out.

In and out.

In and out.

Now pick an area that’s bothering you and start sorting until the timer rings.

To finish up, take a drink of water and smile as big as you can. Doesn’t matter if you’re faking it, just beam with radiant sunshine. You’re doing it!

So how do you cope when you feel like you’re falling behind?

  1. Rip up that calendar grid where you track your progress every day. Or delete the spreadsheet. Whatever you’re using to crack the whip on yourself, let it go. If it’s stopping you rather than encouraging you, you don’t need it.
  2. Find 20 minutes today and pick up where you left off. When the timer rings, you’re done.
  3. Look at tomorrow’s schedule and see where you could fit in 20 minutes decluttering. Write the time in your planner and set an alarm five minutes ahead of time to remind you.

Overwhelmed by your clutter? Contact Joyful Surroundings LLC for compassionate, creative, and totally nonjudgmental decluttering & organizing services.

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