Friday, January 19, 2007

Getting Started (Part 1)

So! You've finally come to the realization that it is time to take a stand against The Klutter! But how do you get started? How do you overcome that internal inclination to hoard?

Before getting down to the nitty gritty of "unconsumption", I thought it would be useful to take a moment to talk about approaches for getting started, which can be a major stumbling block.

The way I approached it was to slow down, get ahold of myself and take a moment to examine my stockpile. Rather than view it as an undifferentiated whole, I broke it down into discrete and indvidual de-cluttering projects.

For example:

  • a single pile of books or magazines, not necessarily all the piles or the whole bookshelf
  • one particularly troublesome kitchen draw not necessarily all the kitchen draws or cabinets
  • just the medicine cabinet (or better yet, one shelf in the medicine cabinet!) not necessarily the entire bathroom

You get the idea.

Projects by definition (and for our purposes) should be self-contained. They should have a clear beginning, but more importantly, a clear END.

By taking this approach, you can trick your Inner Packrat. The investment of time or effort for mini-projects is much less, and will seem less like a chore to be avoided at all costs. Also, by setting finite goals in advance, once completed, You Are Done, at least for the time being. Now, you can just walk away with a clear conscience and a real sense of accomplishment, which is self-reinforcing. If you feel motivated to do more, go with it, but anything else after that point is pure gravy!

The point here is to break it down into manageable and less intimidating slices so you can get started in the first place. You do not need to attack the whole shebang in its entirety. Otherwise you will become overwhelmed and say to yourself "Hmm...maybe I'll do this later...." etc. etc.

If you change your view of clearing clutter from being an Event to more of ongoing process or lifestyle change you will probably improve your ability to keep what you have under control as well as to rethink the acquisition of stuff to begin with.

Next up: Getting Started (Part 2) - Avoid Setting off a Klutter Krisis!

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