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One of the most common excuses I hear about decluttering is, I don’t have time to declutter.
And I totally get it. As a mom, the to-do list is never-ending. There is laundry to do, dishes to wash, meals to fix, homeschooling to do, errands to run, and a million and one other things on our plate at any given moment. And the sheer overwhelm of all that stuff sitting around can make us not want to find the time to deal with it anyway.
Legos scattered across the floor. Kids clothes that don’t fit. Your own clothes that don’t fit. The piles of paperwork that accumulate no matter what you do. There’s clutter everywhere and you simply can’t find the time to deal with it.
I’ve been there. If I just ignore it and go on with life, it will eventually get better. It won’t be so overwhelming. I’ll have more time later. Every mental block you can think of, I’ve used it on myself. And it didn’t help.
The truth of it is, the less stuff you have to clean, the less time you’ll have to spend cleaning. The less you own, the more time you’ll have. It’s never going to be any easier at a later date. In fact, it’s likely to only get harder.
I forced myself to make up the time to do this because I knew, deep down, that this was the only way I was ever going to feel like I had a little control of my life and the way I spent my time. I didn’t want to spend all day cleaning and hollering at the kids to clean up. I wanted to feel like a human being again, a happy one that isn’t so frazzled.
So, I made the time. And you can, too.
6 Ways to Make Time to Declutter
1. Spend 10 minutes a day
We all have 10 minutes we can spare. We can always spend 10 less minutes mindlessly scrolling on the phone. Wake up a few minutes earlier, spend 10 minutes less vegging on the couch.
There’s time there, it’s just a matter of making use of it.
If you can find just 10 minutes, you have time to declutter. There are tons of decluttering projects you can accomplish from start to finish in that short amount of time. Such as:
- Declutter one shelf
- Clear off one counter or table
- Empty out and declutter one drawer
- Declutter one small corner of a room
- Go through and pick up trash throughout the house and throw it out
- Find 15 items that aren’t where they belong and put them away
- Find 15 items you no longer love, bag them up, and put them in the car to donate
- Clean out one cabinet (or one shelf in the cabinet)
- Clean off one shelf in the fridge
Simply set a timer for 10 minutes and get to work. Will it take a while to see any real progress? Sure, but it’s worth it!
2. Make decluttering a priority
What we spend our time on is probably the most important decision we make.
– Ray Kurzweil
We all have time, like I said. But how do you spend it? If you look at the way you’ve spent your day, have you made the important things a priority?
I always recommend setting a schedule for yourself. Or setting reminders on your phone. Our phones anymore are such an integral part of our lives, but so often we don’t use them to their full potential. Instead of helping us achieve more, they’re simply a distraction. More on that later, but set a reminder, put yourself on a decluttering schedule and get it done.
This is important, it’s serious, it takes time and it’s a huge project to take on. But, it’s worthwhile to do. So make sure you make it a priority so you can spend your time doing something far better in the future, like spending time with your family or doing something you really enjoy.
3. Learn how you’re spending your time
As I mentioned earlier, our phones are generally just a source of distraction. How many times do you catch yourself staring down at your phone instead of being in the moment? So often we mindlessly scroll or do other things and literally waste the time away.
So, keep track of it. Whether it’s using an app on your phone to see how you’re utilizing your time, a spreadsheet, or even just a simple journal or sheet of paper. Every hour or so, write down how you spent the last hour. It will only take a couple of moments to do, you don’t need to write a journal.
But, it’s important to be honest with yourself. No one will see these notes but you, and it will make a huge difference to figure out how you’re truly spending your time. If you’re wasting time scrolling facebook or pinterest while you’re preparing a meal, then maybe you could spend that time going through a drawer.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. But sometimes just figuring out where our time is actually going makes a world of a difference.
4. Delegate other tasks
Not everyone is lucky enough to have their spouse on board with the whole decluttering process. I get it. While I’ve been lucky and Trevor has always been 100% on board with ditching most excess, not everyone is that lucky.
While we can’t all have completely supportive spouses and other household members, we can declutter our own things and delegate other, non-decluttering tasks to other members of the household. Have your husband or kids do the dishes or put away the laundry instead of you doing it.
If you delegate some of the simple household tasks that take up your time to another member of the family, you can use that time to declutter instead.
5. Create a habit
Make something a simple habit instead of setting huge goals. You can make a habit of throwing away 3 pieces of trash a day. Or picking out 5 things to donate daily. Or even just one of each of those items.
Make a habit of going through at least one shelf or drawer daily until they’ve all been gone through. It can be simple and small, or a larger habit like every Saturday I’m going to declutter for one hour.
Just pick one thing and do that one thing for 21 days before you start another habit. 21 days is how long it takes to establish a habit… by the way.
6. Find an accountability partner
We do so much better with things when we have a partner to help us achieve our goals. Find someone else, whether it’s someone in your own household like a spouse or someone clear around the world that you know online.
Having someone else to help cheer you on and encourage you when the going gets rough is so incredibly helpful for anything difficult you’re trying to accomplish in life. You don’t have to go it alone. Simply find someone to help you through and keep you on task and you’ll get this done.
I know that if I’m having a rough go of it, I can tell my friend I need some accountability. And she will be right there rooting me on and making sure I spend at least 10 minutes a day decluttering when we check in with one another.
Decluttering can be difficult and overwhelming, I’m not going to sugar coat it and say it isn’t. But, it’s incredibly worthwhile and the concept of never having the time is simply an excuse to not have to deal with the difficult overwhelming task. It’s completely possible, though. You just have to realize what a difference it will make and then you can make the time.
Other than time what is keeping you from starting your decluttering journey?
Other decluttering posts you’ll love:
- The Ultimate Guide to Decluttering When You’re Overwhelmed
- 117 Things to Declutter Right Now
- 32 Tips on Becoming a Minimalist