Which Strategy is Best?

“Up Against the Wall” Decluttering

Some people wait for a deadline. The furnace breaks down and it’s 20 degrees inside the living room. They call in a panic on Friday and tell me they need to get the whole place cleaned out by Monday since the furnace tech will be there at 10 am and needs to be able to get to the furnace room. Or they have a housing inspector coming in two weeks and their house is full to the rafters, with windows blocked and pathways doubtful at best.

The thing is, not only is it incredibly tiring and stressful to work around the clock to clear the clutter, more and more research is showing that it just doesn’t work long-term. If you’re looking for help because you have a deadline within a week, your best bet is to look for a clean out company. It’ll be beyond stressful, it’ll be highly traumatic but you most likely won’t get evicted. I don’t do clean outs like this because the research shows it’s beyond stressful, it’s highly traumatic and the place fills up again and then some within a matter of months if not weeks.

“I’ll Do It When the Spirit Moves Me” Decluttering

You can also tackle it sporadically – every once in a while, you’ll get a burst of energy and enthusiasm and so you power through until you collapse with exhaustion and give the whole thing up. Things do look a little better in the short run, but since the systems aren’t set up to keep clutter in its place, life soon returns to clutterey normal.

Slow and Steady Wins the Decluttering Race

The most successful strategy is to commit to the project, work slowly and steadily and give the experience of decluttering a chance to “take”.

Building new behaviors takes time. Regular hands-on decluttering, ideally weekly, with an experienced professional will help you build the habits that’ll stop clutter at its source.

It’s just like practicing the violin – ten minutes every evening is far more useful than a frantic two hour burst of practice right before your lesson.