Monthly review – what to do when decluttering has stalled

what-to-do-when-decluttering-has-stalled

The first half of the year I was working really well each month with my habit of decluttering 33 items a week. Now I am struggling to do about 33 items a month! I think I am finding it tough for a few reasons.

My target of 33 items a week wasn’t the right format for me

When I set the target I had already undertaken a fairly major declutter of our attic and my husband of the outside areas. I thought I could just pick an area each week and work through it. Turns out that is harder than I thought and isn’t the way I usually declutter.

The way it usually happens for me is I have some time on my hands and I attack an area that has been bothering me and will be ruthless with it. I will spend a number of hours working on it and then feel a huge sense of satisfaction once I have finished.

Trying to hit a number of items per week feels inefficient to me in some ways. On the one hand I like it because it means I am constantly on the look out for items to remove from the house, but on the other I feel like I waste time looking for things to declutter to reach the magical but very arbitrary number of 33. After a few weeks of this, my heart isn’t in it and I drop the ball on it.

I think I would have been better with a total for the year for example 33 x 52 = 1716 items to declutter from the house. That way I could attack it in project form and feel like I was doing it in a more productive fashion.

I am holding onto things for sentimental reasons

I do have to be honest though and admit I am holding on to stuff that I don’t really need to. I still find I have emotional attachment to lots of things, that deep down I know I really should let go of. I don’t aim to be minimalist at all, but I certainly have collected lots of stuff over the years that I haven’t looked at for years, but when I come across it, I can’t seem to part with it.

What to do when decluttering has stalled

So I have been trying to work out the best approach to get me back on the decluttering wagon and have come up with these next steps.

Allocate a project a month for the remainder of the year.

I estimate that I would have decluttered approximately 800 items from the house, so across these three projects I will aim to remove another 900 items, which I think is realistic given the state of these areas:

  • Oct – Kids wardrobes and toy cupboard
  • Nov – Declutter laundry and cupboard under the stairs
  • Dec – Clear out my stuff from the upstairs room

Digitally scan items

I know some will say this is just creating digital clutter, but I think this could be the right step for me. Lots of the stuff I can’t seem to throw out could easily be scanned and I can create a keep sake album in my photos, so they will still be with me digitally. We will see how this goes!

Monthly Review

HabitConnection to goalMonthly progress
37 pieces of clothing per season
Decision fatigue is a real thing - less clothes to choose from will free up mental energy! I am going to simplify my wardrobe to make choosing what to wear easier and having less items in my wardrobe will give me back needed physical space. As the change of season has crept up, so have the number of items in my wardrobe. Melbourne's weather has been all over the place, but think it is now time to do the season swap over. Will share my update later this month.
How to simplify your wardrobe.
33 consecutive complaint free daysComplaining spreads negativity and I have so much to be grateful for. It is hard to be calm or creative when your mind is full of negativity. I have half heartedly worked on complaining less before, but to become a habit I need to track and measure it.You can read how I finally achieved it in this post -
Monthly review – planning and persevering
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It isn't a set and forget habit though and I am going to refocus on this habit for October.
33 consecutive days of meditationI have dabbled a little with meditation and it makes a huge difference to the noise in my head. It makes me feel calmer, but I am yet to do this regularly. Doing so will help create an inner calm in my life regardless of the chaos around me.You can read how I built my meditation habit here -
Monthly review – building a meditation habit
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I missed more days than usual in September and the interesting thing about it was, it made me want to meditate as I missed it. This is the craving part of a habit, so I know meditation is a well grounded habit for me.
33 items decluttered from the house each weekOn the surface our house looks relatively clutter free, but there are over flowing cupboards and drawers. Decluttering will give me a greater feeling of space and calm.Much better effort in September, but not even close to averaging 33 items per week. Wondering if my goal wasn't realistic or am I still holding on to stuff for the wrong reasons?
3 hours a week for creativityTime for creativity never made it to the top of my to do list as I didn't give it the value it deserved. If you want something to happen you have to schedule it. I would have actually exceeded this target for September! So excited by this too. This is due to school holidays where I drew and coloured mandalas, made fairy gardens, made more macrame and more recipes.

And the best thing about it was I wasn't just doing it to tick it off the list, I drew the mandala for example because I just felt like I needed the therapy of drawing and colouring in and it felt great.

What do you do when you have stalled with the decluttering process?

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Comments

  1. Ruth says

    Hi Nicole, have you read Marie Kondo’s “The life changing magic of tidying”? I recently discovered it and it has completely changed how we approach decluttering in this house. She suggests purging by category rather than room and also suggests a sequence in purge in so that by the time you tackle sentimental stuff you’ve had lots of practice. I highly recommend it…. especially if you’re feeling like your purging has stalled. I’m more of a project purger like you are so it might suit you better than trying to reach an arbitrary number of items to get rid of. Good luck :)