Declutter 20 Things In 20 Minutes

I’ve suffered from procrastination for most of my almost 40 years.

I know, categorically, that I procrastinate for two reasons:

1. I don’t know where to start

2. I feel overwhelmed by what I need to do

The two reasons are intrinsically linked.

I say I’ve suffered for ‘most‘ of my ‘almost 40 years’ because I recently discovered how to overcome procrastination.

I just do it.

Living clutter free doesn’t come naturally to me. Procrastination comes easily. I am not a natural-born minimalist. It takes work and perseverance.

“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go – so long as you do not stop.” Confucius

My minimalist habits have improved greatly since working toward a family life simply done. But as with most things in life, I’m better at certain things than others.

My fridge is top priority.

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It has a thorough purge and clean each Friday as part of No Waste Tastes Great.

My Achilles heel is sentimental hoarding.

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There are still remnants of my sentimental hoard I am dealing with. But it’s much improved. This irrational attachment to all things paper with a hint of sentimentally, if gone unchecked could have caused a huge future problem,

Did anyone catch The Hoarder Next Door last week? I can relate. I wouldn’t do it, but I do understand why Alex has an irrational memorabilia hoard.

There’s a middle ground between my 2 extremes. One end is ‘super organized’ (fridge) the other is ‘in need of improvement’ (sentimental paper).  The middle ground is where I manage to keep on top of clutter day-to-day.

“What You Do Every Day Matters More Than What You Do Once In a While.” Gretchen Rubin

I play a decluttering game. Little and often.

It’s called 20 things in 20 minutes.

Those who follow me on Facebook will have already been introduced to my game.

Rules of the game

1. Grab 3 bags – 1 for donations, 1 for rubbish and 1 for recycling

2. Set a timer for 20 minutes

3. Declutter

Trying to beating the clock gets you started and reduces declutterers indecision. It also alleviates the feeling of being overwhelmed. After all, who can’t find 20 minutes to do anything? Particularly something as beneficial as keeping on top of clutter?

That’s it. Nice and simple – just how I like it.

Any tips to share on decluttering? It’s always good to hear how others are keeping their clutter at bay.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Jo H. March 18, 2014, 5:33 pm

    I have had good results with some of the approaches on the 365lessthings website. The idea is to go slowly and steadily “a thing a day” although if you do your decluttering on a weekend, for example, you could do a week’s worth of things at once. The number of things is not important to me, it’s all the tips about getting started, where to dispose of stuff that allows the environmentalist in me to be satisfied, how to declutter things you were given and are keeping out of obligation, and even sentimental stuff! The most eye-opening revelation for me, personally, was the day I realized that “old” things (such as childhood toys) were only made from materials – it was much easier to discard them if I took them apart and saw they were made from material, stuffing, buttons, etc. than to toss them “as is”. Now I am not advocating to throw everything out, but this allowed me to choose what to keep and what I could discard (because we can’t keep everything, right? :p) The bottom line for me is to find a method that works and keep working at it, because we will always be faced with this challenge to keep our belongings in check.

    • sarahn March 19, 2014, 4:07 am

      I did the same, I realised I wanted the signatures from a school signature bear, but it was easier to store the ‘skin’ and donate the stuffing. Which I did, and it kept the sentimental (and easily boxable) part and got rid of the ‘fluff’ quite literally! Also a fan of 365lessthings!

      • simplybeingmum March 21, 2014, 10:02 am

        Hi Ladies – I haven’t been over to 365 Less Things for a while. I must.
        Jo – I can relate. It is about seeing the item for what it is and not wrapping up a mountain of memories in an object.
        Sarah – great idea with the bear!

  • Jo H. March 18, 2014, 5:33 pm

    I have had good results with some of the approaches on the 365lessthings website. The idea is to go slowly and steadily “a thing a day” although if you do your decluttering on a weekend, for example, you could do a week’s worth of things at once. The number of things is not important to me, it’s all the tips about getting started, where to dispose of stuff that allows the environmentalist in me to be satisfied, how to declutter things you were given and are keeping out of obligation, and even sentimental stuff! The most eye-opening revelation for me, personally, was the day I realized that “old” things (such as childhood toys) were only made from materials – it was much easier to discard them if I took them apart and saw they were made from material, stuffing, buttons, etc. than to toss them “as is”. Now I am not advocating to throw everything out, but this allowed me to choose what to keep and what I could discard (because we can’t keep everything, right? :p) The bottom line for me is to find a method that works and keep working at it, because we will always be faced with this challenge to keep our belongings in check.

    • sarahn March 19, 2014, 4:07 am

      I did the same, I realised I wanted the signatures from a school signature bear, but it was easier to store the ‘skin’ and donate the stuffing. Which I did, and it kept the sentimental (and easily boxable) part and got rid of the ‘fluff’ quite literally! Also a fan of 365lessthings!

      • simplybeingmum March 21, 2014, 10:02 am

        Hi Ladies – I haven’t been over to 365 Less Things for a while. I must.
        Jo – I can relate. It is about seeing the item for what it is and not wrapping up a mountain of memories in an object.
        Sarah – great idea with the bear!

  • The Clutter Fairy March 18, 2014, 6:39 pm

    Great blog as always, Jo, and one that I’m sure will inspire your readers into action. My clients often struggle to see things clearly in their own homes. If this is resonates with you, try taking a photo of your cluttered room and viewing it through a computer screen. It’s almost like seeing your clutter through another person’s eyes that way. Good luck everyone. Looking forward to lots of 20 minute successes 🙂

    • simplybeingmum March 21, 2014, 10:04 am

      Thanks Lesley – hope the radio phone-in went well?
      Photographing is a great idea…
      Another great trick (for me) is to invite guests over. That always gives me a kick start!

  • The Clutter Fairy March 18, 2014, 6:39 pm

    Great blog as always, Jo, and one that I’m sure will inspire your readers into action. My clients often struggle to see things clearly in their own homes. If this is resonates with you, try taking a photo of your cluttered room and viewing it through a computer screen. It’s almost like seeing your clutter through another person’s eyes that way. Good luck everyone. Looking forward to lots of 20 minute successes 🙂

    • simplybeingmum March 21, 2014, 10:04 am

      Thanks Lesley – hope the radio phone-in went well?
      Photographing is a great idea…
      Another great trick (for me) is to invite guests over. That always gives me a kick start!

  • Angela P. March 18, 2014, 10:09 pm

    The website http://www.flylady.net has helped me a LOT with learning to stop procrastinating and fuel my desire to declutter.

    • simplybeingmum March 21, 2014, 10:05 am

      Hi Angela – I do follow Flylady. Although, again, probably not as closely as I used to… Need to brush up a little on my reading rather than writing!

  • Angela P. March 18, 2014, 10:09 pm

    The website http://www.flylady.net has helped me a LOT with learning to stop procrastinating and fuel my desire to declutter.

    • simplybeingmum March 21, 2014, 10:05 am

      Hi Angela – I do follow Flylady. Although, again, probably not as closely as I used to… Need to brush up a little on my reading rather than writing!

  • downmyfront March 21, 2014, 5:35 pm

    Hi, hope you don’t mind, I have mentioned you in my blog- I have been inspired to do some decluttering and share your goal to cut down on waste. I also love my slow cooker and look forward to trying some of your recipes.
    kind regards Kay

  • downmyfront March 21, 2014, 5:35 pm

    Hi, hope you don’t mind, I have mentioned you in my blog- I have been inspired to do some decluttering and share your goal to cut down on waste. I also love my slow cooker and look forward to trying some of your recipes.
    kind regards Kay

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