8 Steps to Form the Declutter Habit
The following is an excerpt from the blog (developgoodhabits.com).
These are the eight steps for forming the decluttering habit. Simply follow the steps outlined and determine the best time to perform your habit, and you’ll quickly add this routine to your day.
Step #1: Focus on the Declutter Habit
He asks that you completely focus on building one habit at a time, in this case, a 10-minute declutter habit and avoid adding anything “new” to your schedule.
Step #2: Commit to Decluttering for 30 Days
Some people say it takes 21 days to build a habit, while others claim it takes up to 66 days. The truth is that the length of time really varies from person to person and habit to habit. You’ll find that some habits are easy to build, while others require more effort. His advice is to commit to decluttering for the next 30 days (or a month to keep it simple).
Step #3: Anchor Decluttering to an Established Habit
Your decluttering efforts should not be based upon motivation, fads or temporary desire. Instead, decluttering should be instilled in your life to the point it becomes automatic.
What you want to do is to commit to a very small habit change and take baby steps as you build on it. An important aspect of his teaching is to “anchor” the new habit to something you already do on a daily basis.
“After I wake up, I will walk into the targeted room for the day and begin my 10-minute decluttering session.”
“After I put my kids to bed in the evening, I will spend 10 minutes decluttering.”
You get the idea. Simply find a habit you already do consistently, and then anchor your new behaviour to it.
Step #4: Pick a Time for Decluttering
Sticking to a trigger is especially important, as you want to create momentum and enjoy the feeling of immediate success.
If you decide to work on your clutter before you leave for work, the trigger should be something like brushing your teeth, taking your shower or making coffee. If you’re a night owl and get your second wind after 9:00, then you can declutter before going to bed.
Step #5: Take Baby Steps
So while your long-term goal is to declutter for 10 minutes at a time, you should start slow and focus on building the routine first. It’s more important to stay consistent and not miss a day than it is to do the whole 10 minutes.
- Organising one dresser drawer
- Bringing a collection of Goodwill items to your car
- Clearing off a single shelf in your closet
Step #6: Plan for Your Obstacles
Every new habit routine has obstacles. When you know in advance what your obstacles are, you can take preventive action to overcome them.
Examples of common obstacles:
- Boredom with the routine
- Uncertainty of what to sell
- Uncertainty of what to donate
- Feelings of anxiety or guilt
- Not knowing where to start
The simplest solution is to use a concept called “If-Then-Planning” where you create scripts to help you overcome these obstacles. Here are some examples:
- “If I’m having trouble completing a morning declutter routine, I will commit to a new time and trigger.”
- “If I find myself making multiple trips to the store, I will take time to go through my entire home, write one large shopping list and use it during my next trip to the store.”
- “If I’m struggling to eliminate items in one section of my home, I will delay this project and move into a different room.”
If you anticipate these obstacles, you won’t be blindsided by them.
Step #7: Create Accountability for Decluttering
Track your decluttering efforts and make public declarations about your new routine. According to the Hawthorne effect, you’re more likely to follow through with a commitment when you’re being observed by others. To stick with the decluttering habit, you should let others know about your commitment to this habit.
Step #8: Reward Important Milestones
Decluttering doesn’t have to be boring. We tend to underestimate the importance of having “fun” while building habits. Often, though, having a clear reward for regularly completing an action will help you to stick to the new routine.
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things I do you might as well turn over to me
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed – you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great individuals and,
alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though
I work with all the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a human.
You may run me for profit or run me for ruin
– it makes no difference to me.
be firm with me, and
I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.
WHO AM I?
I AM HABIT.
~ Author Unknown
Taking the Next Step. If you need practical assistance, guidance or motivation Clear & Clutterfree can help you save both time and money getting organised and staying organised.
About the Author. Karen Perkins is a Life Coach and Personal Hands-on Organiser. She enjoys helping busy people achieve results through effective lifestyle choices that improve their personal and professional lives.