April 2018 Focus Area: Around the Home
When Jennifer suggested Home as our focus area for this month, I was all in. Fast forward to today (April 4th) and I’m completely overwhelmed as to where to begin.
Last year I did accomplish a fair bit of decluttering-ish activities. I got rid of quite a bit of stuff (either by donating, selling on Varagesale, or taking it to the dump) and then I hit a wall and all the stuff I packed up to get rid of is still sitting around. I think it was because I really didn’t know what to do with this stuff (mostly DVDs – sell them? donate them? who, if anyone, even wants them??) and as clutter often does, the boxes of DVDs just attracted more clutter.
The other problem is, this month has already started off quite busily with me being away and then I will be away again (visiting my sister …. yay!) from the 5th to the 10th, so that puts a bit of a damper on what I can achieve at home. Also, in learning from last month when my awayness threw me off my routine, I need to make sure my pledge for this month is realistic.
So, I’ve decided to do a time-based Spring Cleaning and Decluttering pledge. Depending on the room, it may be more cleaning or it may be more decluttering. Unlike previous pledges, I will be unable to do a bit each day since I will be away for a good chunk of the first half of the month. Therefore, I’ve decided to block off several days through the last half of the month to use to accomplish my pledge. The key to successfully completing this pledge will be that I spend the allotted time working in each area.
My house has the following sections and I’ve scheduled time on my calendar for the dates noted to tackle my spring cleaning/decluttering:
- Master Bedroom (April 12)
- Entryway (April 16)
- Powder Room (April 16)
- Stairs/Hallway (April 18)
- Dining Room (April 20)
- Kitchen (April 20)
- Living Room (April 23)
- Bathroom (April 24)
- Den (April 26)
- Laundry Room (April 30)
I’ve tried to start with some easier areas so that I will have a feeling of success that will motivate me to keep going (because I know if it’s too hard to start, I will get discouraged). However, I have tried to mix in some easier areas with the difficult ones so that it is not too much of a slog at the end. We’ll see how this goes.
- Reread New Order, by Fay Wolf, by April 11th for a refresher on quick decluttering (more about this book under Resources below).
- Spend time spring cleaning/decluttering all the rooms of my house on the dates listed above. I will work for 25 minutes at a time, with 5-minute breaks in between and 15-minute breaks every couple hours.
Measures of success:
- Finish reading New Order by April 11th.
- I must have spent the time scheduled in my calendar spring cleaning the rooms on the dates listed.
- I mentioned New Order by Faye Wolf above in my pledge. This is my favourite decluttering book that I’ve read (and I’ve read quite a few)! I initially read it a few years ago after seeing it featured on the TV show, Bones. Every time I need a little inspiration to get myself in the mood to declutter I read it or relevant sections from it. If you’ve tried the Kon Mari Method from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but like me were unable to follow her process as closely as she recommends, then this book is for you. As pledged above, I will reread this book before I begin my spring cleaning on April 12th.
- If I need additional motivation to declutter, I may reread Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver. I read her book earlier this year and found she had many though provoking suggestions for how to let go of the more sentimental items.
- The Pomodoro Technique: I have used this technique in the past and found it worked well to keep me on track. Since I have blocked off several whole days (8 am to 4 pm) I know I won’t be able to work straight through without fizzling out. This technique has you work for 25 minutes at a time and then take 5-minute breaks after every 30 minutes. After every four work blocks, you take a 15-minute break. When I have used this technique in the past, I did find that I had more stamina to keep going.
- The Be Focused Pro – Focus Timer app works really well for following the Pomodoro Technique.
- Music! I often find that when I’m listening to a good playlist, I can clean for hours without realizing how the time is flying. From now until April 11, I will use Spotify to put together some good cleaning music playlists. Perhaps Jenn will help me to think of songs while I’m staying with her in Calgary.
What gets you in the mood to clean and/or declutter? Any other resources I should check out? Let me know in the comments below.