dog with snow on its nose looking up

Decluttering Motivation

bored dog who needs a walk sitting on a couch during a winter storm

Decluttering is like walking the dog no matter what the weather’s like or how you feel. To understand where I’m going with this, you should know that Daisy is two years old and has a lot of sheep herding energy.

We live in the burbs and we don’t have any sheep so she gets at least two walks a day, often three. I give her the pre-game walk first thing, rain or shine, just to get the overnight wiggles out before she heads off for the real walk later on with my husband.

Colorado gets its share of snow and sometimes it gets Midwest cold. We’re forecast to get up to 24 inches of snow by Sunday evening yet it was in the 60s a few days ago.

A couple of weeks ago, it snowed overnight so I checked my phone to see if I should wear the big coat or if it was already warming up. Minus seven, feels like minus 19? The dog leash went back on the hook and Daisy got ushered out the back door to do her business while I shivered inside.

It was a long day for all of us.

When the forecast was the same the next day, and Daisy was bouncing off the walls, I bundled up like Uncle Elephant, that charming storybook Uncle who put all his clothes on at once to try and cheer up his nephew. I put on all the pants, all the jackets, all the scarves although I couldn’t manage to pull on more than one pair of gloves. Definitely wore at least two pairs of socks and tucked the first pair into the legs of the first pair of pants. I stuffed my padded feet into boots and, looking uncannily like the Michelin Man, I wobbled down the steps pulled by a dog who had all the energy of a rez dog who hadn’t had a walk yesterday. Within five minutes, I was toasty. Daisy wanted to go back before I did.

Decluttering can feel like it’s minus seven, feels like minus 19 too. The clutter seems as demanding as a dog who’d be happiest chasing sheep all day. It’s all over the place and the idea of taming it feels like so much work. Way too much work, we’re just going to have to skip it for today. Maybe we’ll feel more like it tomorrow.

I didn’t want to walk Daisy, but it had to be done. You don’t want to deal with the clutter but who else is going to take care of it? Instead of a big coat, pull out the timer and set it for twenty minutes. What can you do before the timer rings? If you can’t think what to do, pick ONE of the following ideas:

  • Take out the trash
  • Pick up all the newspapers and put them in the recycling
  • Choose any ONE of these ideas

When the timer rings, you’re done. Daisy might wish we walked for three hours every morning but she doesn’t need that. You might imagine you have to declutter for three hours a day but that doesn’t need to happen either. Daisy gets a twenty minute walk in the morning and you can find twenty minutes in your day to work on your clutter most days too. She gets to go on a longer walk later on but you get to stop after twenty minutes.

Let me know what you decluttered today. Bonus points for sending me a picture of your dog too!


  1. I decluttered my car today and cleaned the inside of the windows whilst I was waiting for my daughter to come out of her orthodontist appointment. Little pockets of time are great for these jobs particularly when you are on a decluttering mission like me

  2. Anything with or about a dog has my attention! And your point is so spot on – any organizing or decluttering is better than none…helps to get that “feels like” down to a more comfortable place. Great post!

  3. What a fun post and a fun metaphor for the inertia one can feel and the way to break through. This is a fun post, and I’m sending you waves of warmth from down south. I hope you and Daisy can enjoy uncluttered spaces and wide open, sunny walks soon enough!

    1. Thanks, Julie! High 50s are coming our way tomorrow and we couldn’t be more excited. As soon as the huge piles of snow (from ploughing) at the side of the streets melt, we’ll be out there enjoying sunny walks for sure!

  4. I LOVE Daisy, What a love and those eyes are incredible. She is definitely worth all those walks!
    The kitchen timer is the best. I’ve used it for so many years because it works and it’s easy.
    I really like how you offered small doable tasks that don’t take long to get you going. I don’t like clutter! So today I tossed all the papers from the weekend!

  5. First of all, Daisy is adorable. How lucky that she gives you a reason to get up and out on most days, even if you have to be Michelin-Man ready. I love how you explained “just enough” when it comes to walking Daisy and decluttering. The point is that we don’t have to go over the top in either arena. We can do enough to keep the dog from healthy or the clutter from taking over- both of which can happen in small time increments.

  6. Don’t have the dog and don’t have the cold but I do have those days when I feel that I don’t have the time to declutter. A recent trick has been to set the timer for 10 minutes and declutter an area. Even this tired puppy can manage that! Today was the collection of items that had gathered in the linen closet waiting to go to Goodwill.

  7. I’m thinking about you today as I saw on the news that you got a lot of snow. It is true, your temps change quickly from day to day. We tend to “stick” in a temperature zone for months here in New England. I’m ready for some warmer weather. When it comes to decluttering, I really do think it helps when someone else comes alongside and helps. Otherwise, if you don’t enjoy it, as you say, you are likely to put it off.

  8. Decluttering is a never-ending thankless task – except that you do indeed get to thank yourself when you look around and take that big deep breath and think wow! this place looks better! Always aim for better than before. Lucy, I have an Australian cattle dog! Josie and Daisy would have a high time together!

  9. Hi Lucy,
    Anything under 20 is too cold for me – below zero is serious hibernation weather. But I do agree that organizing is very similar. Sometimes you just have to buckle down and do it – no matter how unpleasant. And once you get started, the rest is a bit easier.

    1. I never thought I’d live somewhere so cold, Neena! The upside of Colorado weather is how quickly the temperature changes – we had a massive snowstorm this weekend, next weekend will be sunny and in the 50s.


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