This plan is not for everyone. But it may be just what you need to get started if you’re overwhelmed with severe clutter and chaos in your home.
As you’ve probably found, there are many ways to address this kind of problem; however there is no perfect approach. Don’t get bogged down by over-thinking the options. Just begin.
Try not to look at everything all at once and vaguely say you need to get things in order. Being specific and sequential is a very effective way to proceed. You can do this.
Read this through at least once. Print and post so you can see it daily for at least a week.
Stay focused on just one thing at a time.
Don’t reward yourself with shopping. It’s best if you take at least one week off from all shopping unless you absolutely need an item right away.
Be sure to allow yourself to feel good about what you’ve accomplished at each transition. Don’t think too much about what isn’t being accomplished, it’ll just sabotage your energy and motivation.
You can do this!!!
timer (important!), trash bags, bags, boxes, bins (clear and stackable plastic bins would be the best).
1st day or 3 hour session
Just start in one room (kitchen, bath, living room, bedroom is a good sequence). Set the timer for 20 minutes. Pick up ONLY the trash and recycling. Do the same thing in the next room and so on. Don’t get sidetracked with putting things away or tidying up or any other aspect of getting things in order. When timer goes off take a 5 minute break and repeatedly set the timer for 20 sessions with breaks in between until this one task is done.
Finally put the trash/recycling outside. Take a breath and allow yourself to feel good about what you’ve just done! Don’t let yourself be critical that you haven’t accomplished more. You will.
2nd day or session
Kitchen: Put away groceries. Put away clean dishes. Fill dishwasher or do dishes by hand. When dry, put them away. Wipe counters, sweep/vacuum floor.
3rd day or session
Bathroom: Put away personal and cleaning products. Put dirty towels/clothes in laundry hamper or in a bag/box/bin. Take things that belong in other places to their respective rooms. Wipe counters, sweep/vacuum floor. Clean the mirror, toilet and bathtub.
4th day or session
Bedroom: Gather shoes/purses/accessories from everywhere in your home; put on closet floor or in box/bin/bag. Gather clothes from everywhere. Put away all clean clothes in closet, drawers or box/bin. Gather all dirty clothes into hamper or bag/box/bin. Sweep/vacuum floor.
5th day or session
Laundry: Take one day or session to catch up with laundry. Gather laundry from everywhere in your home. Sort into piles e.g., whites/lights, colors/darks, towels/bedding. When dry, hang or fold immediately. Take a break, this can be a big job.
6th day or session
Gather all mail and paper documents and put in bag/box/bin. Don’t make any decisions; just put them all together. When they’re all collected from each room, stop. That’s probably enough for one day. Take a breath and allow yourself to feel good about what you’ve just done! Don’t let yourself be critical that you haven’t accomplished more. (I’ll address sorting papers another time.)
7th day or session
Pick up just one kind of thing like books/magazines and put them in a box or bin. Go through entire home to collect all books/magazines that are running loose. Choose one or two ‘homes’ for this kind of thing.
Repeat with other specific categories such as CDs/DVDs, small electronics, jewelry, gifts, hobbies, pet items, items to return to stores or other people, items to take to garage or storage.
Congratulate yourself each step of the way! Feel good about what you’ve accomplished!