If you have clutter present in your life (mental or physical clutter), there is a chance you are dealing with some indecisive energy. We dove deeper into this subject in this blog post, and I highly recommend you read it before trying any of the three decluttering methods I'll share below. Because clutter is really just a symptom, not a cause of your stress or anxiety.
Once you've cleared up that stuck energy, you might feel inspired to tackle some of that physical clutter. And that's where these three methods come in. Choose the one that best fits your personality, mood and schedule (and these can vary from one day to the next):
The Hot Spot Method
If you are familiar with the Fly Lady, you might have heard her definition of "hot spots" before. Hot spots are areas in your home prone to cluttering. It can vary from one home to the next, but common hot spots are counters/furniture close to your entry way, that chair in your bedroom or the area where people drop their outerwear. The hot spot method has you spend a short amount of time on your hot spots, every day. You set a timer for 5 minutes and clear as much as you can from your hot spot. And you do it every day, until it becomes a part of your routine, always keeping those hot spots from building up too much.
The Zone Method
The zone method is similar to the hot spot method but on a slightly bigger scale. In this method you assign each area in your home, to a day of the week. So for example, Monday is your kitchen day. So every Monday you deal with any clutter in the kitchen. This too becomes a part of your routine, and you can set how much time you can allow each zone based on your schedule and what you are actually likely to do. The benefit of a repeating routine is that you don't need to spend hours at a time, whatever you didn't get to in your allotted time, you can come back to next week.
The Space to Breathe Method
Sometimes the sheer size of your clutter makes it overwhelming and difficult to start. In this case, you might want to give yourself the space to breathe, before making any decisions on what to keep, toss or donate. That's when our third method is helpful. You'll need a few empty boxes, a voice recorder (your phone will do) and index cards.
Start by numbering your first box and then start adding items into the box. As you add, record on your voice recorder what you are adding to the box (for example: "Box one, Corinne's grade 2 school photos, Christmas receipts, Eric's dinosaur drawing"). Once the first box is full, put on the lid and put it in an accessible storage area in your home. Keep going until all clutter is boxed away. Resist the urge to sort what goes into each box, that will just distract and derail you. Later when you have a minute, listen to your voice recording and write the contents of each box on an index card, which you can then staple to the corresponding box.
This way you know exactly what is in which box, should you need to find something later. But you have cleared the space and given yourself the space to breathe. Now it will be easier to tackle the clutter in each box gradually and when you feel inspired to do so.
Remember that you don't need to live up to anyone else's idea of organization, the important thing is that your home and the belongings in it serve you, and allows you the room to relax, love and create.