One of the most essential steps to take before starting to declutter is to take the time to set specific goals and clearly visualize what you want to accomlish.
But why is this so important?
The Benefits of Having Clear Decluttering Goals
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
- You want to declutter your home but you can’t figure out where to start.
- You start decluttering, but after awhile your motivation peters out and you give up on it.
- When you’re decluttering, you have a really hard time making firm decisions about what should stay and what should go.
- You dread facing criticism from friends or family who don’t understand why you’d want to get rid of “perfectly good” stuff.
- You’ve decluttered successfully before…but the clutter always seems to keep coming back.
If so, having clear decluttering goals in mind — and written down (more about that in a moment) — will help!
Here are some of the benefits of clarifying your reasons for decluttering and what you hope to accomplish with your efforts:
1. Having a Clear Destination Helps You Plan Your Journey
Once you know exactly what you hope to accomplish by decluttering, you can begin to break the process down into reasonable and reachable steps. This prevents you from setting the bar too high and feeling discouraged because you couldn’t reach it!
You can’t figure out how to get where you going unless you first know where you want to end up.
2. Having Clear Decluttering Goals Keeps You Motivated
Just as staying focused on the finish line can help a runner keep going to the end of the race, staying focused on what you want to accomplish by decluttering can help you keep going until you accomplish what you set out to do.
Let’s face it, decluttering can be time-consuming, tedious, overwhelming, emotionally draining, and frustrating. It’s hard work.
And for most of us, it will take weeks or months, maybe even years, to complete our initial purge of excess stuff.
The only way to keep going in the face of those challenges is to stay clearly focused on the benefits of what you’re doing.
Knowing exactly what you want to accomplish and why will help you face and overcome whatever decluttering obstacles come your way.
3. Knowing What You Want to Accomplish Makes It Easier to Make Keep/Toss Decisions
Do you feel like you struggle endlessly with knowing which items to keep and which to let go of?
One way to make those decisions easier for yourself is to know exactly what we hope to achieve by decluttering.
What do you want your home to look and feel like when you’re finished decluttering? How do you envision spending time in your clutter-free space?
Once you’ve answered those questions, you can simply ask yourself if each item you sort fits into the vision you’ve pictured (then keep it) or does not (then discard it.)
4. Helps You Overcome Criticism
Hopefully you have some supportive people in your life to cheer you on as you declutter. (You’ve got me at the very least!)
But chances are you will also have at least one family member or friend who just won’t understand why you’re getting rid of stuff that’s “perfectly good.”
It’s easy to let the viewpoints of others wear us down and talk us out of our decluttering journey — unless we know exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Feeling confident about our decluttering goals makes it a lot easier to calmly explain our actions and keep going even in the face of criticism.
5. Knowing Your Why Helps You Maintain Your Clutter-Free Home in the Long-Term
Maybe in the past you’ve decluttered certain areas of your home successfully…only to find they’re filled back up with clutter within a few months.
Having a clear vision for our decluttered home helps us not only to get our initial purge done, but also to maintain a clutter-free home in the long term.
The thing is that decluttering is not a one-time-only project.
It’s a life skill.
The goal isn’t to declutter our home and then magically never have clutter again.
It’s to make clear decisions about how we want our homes to feel and then develop the skills necessary to achieve and maintain that.
By creating–and occasionally refining–your vision of what you want your home to be like, you’ll be able to conquer clutter in the long-term.