Dos and Donts of Decluttering: The Follow Through

July 2, 2014

Almost as common as me finding clutter in client’s homes is me finding stashes of things that have already been identified as clutter, and thusly, have been prepared to be gotten rid of by being bagged or boxed up, and on the rare occasion even labeled “donation” or “consignment.”

How long has that bag been sitting here? I ask them.

Oh, just like, three, five, seven months. Maybe it’s been a year or so. Yeah, I think it was last summer.

Of course mastering the art of the follow through is one major part of what I work with my clients on, but the truth remains: most people are capable of summoning up at least enough motivation and energy to go half the way, but can’t seem to manage to cross that finish line.

Just the kick in the pants I need! Dos and donts of decluttering: the follow through

It’s one thing to keep an ongoing donation collection container–that practice I wholeheartedly advocate. But once you’ve established an assemblage of stuff such as “donation,” “consignment,” “needs repair,” etc,–you have to actually do the things called for. That’s sorta like the point, see.

“Sitting in a bag marked ‘donate’ in the bottom of your mudroom closet for 8 months” does not qualify as “donating.”

I get it: you’re busy. You’re distracted. You’re constantly trying to prioritize any number of tasks and making sure that bag of clothes or bedding or household goods gets successfully dropped off at a charitable site maybe isn’t at the top of your list.

Let me tell you why, from this point out, following through should be included in your list of top priorities.

Nothing feels quite so satisfying as does completing a task. By not following through on whatever efforts you’ve made to Simplify your life, you’re actually working against yourself. You may have worked up the effort to get started, but knowing that won’t be nearly as uplifting mentally as the thought that you carried out the task to its completion point.

If you never follow through with your decluttering efforts, you’ll never reap the rewards, and thus learn how fulfilling the process can be.

Donating or selling or getting the stuff repaired is half of the fun. The first half is experiencing the feeling of lightness in your own life, but the second is knowing that lightness has come as the result of: your having shared your plenty with others who need it, or having made an even exchange–item for money–money which you can use for things that will serve you now, or being able to once again enjoy something beloved that has long been out of commission.

The follow through efforts are what make the work done before worthwhile.

So get to it. Batch your errands, request a complimentary pick-up (plenty or organizations and companies offer them), or delegate the tasks to someone else.

Find a way. Follow through. For yourself. For your feelings of accomplishment. For your Live Simply.

Image credit: All The Pretty Birds

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