How do I start on sorting out my stuff?

How do I start on sorting out my stuff?

How do I start on sorting out my stuff is one of the most common questions I get asked.  And while you may be aware that this is a good idea, it can sometimes feel so overwhelming that it’s really hard to get going.

So if this is you, I have 3 tips that will make it much, much easier. Take a look at them and sense whether any of them is one you could use. Here they are:

Have An Ongoing Bag:

Keep a bag or box in its own place in the house for you to pop things in whenever you know you’re not going to use them anymore.  For instance, if you like reading novels, then when you’ve finished one, it goes straight in the bag (unless you know for sure you will read it again, in which case it takes its place on a bookshelf).  From time to time, as you come across unused items, such as costume jewellery, unwanted gifts, unused items of clothing, toys, trinkets, they can go in this bag. Then when its full, pop it in the car to take to the charity/thrift shop.  Bring the empty bag back and start all over again with sorting out your stuff. (Which in this method never actually needs to get sorted, as you do it while you go along. Nice!).

How to Decide

How do you decide what to keep or not?  One of the tools I use is the scale of 1-10 to help me decide. For example, after my husband died, I had to let go of his clothes. The ones I hadn’t ever liked were way down on the scale (in fact, they didn’t even get on it!), and then I ended up with a few that I really liked, and had good memories of him while he was wearing them. They got a score of nearer 9 or 10. Then over time, those scores changed – and when they were under 5, it was time to let go of them.

So anything under 5 goes – but how to decide to whom or where it should go?  If you take your time, and listen to your intuition, it’s often obvious to whom something should be given. Or maybe the item could be worth something, and needs to be put on Gumtree, Ebay, or given to a community group. Or perhaps you decide to donate it to another group or give to the charity shop (in which case it can go in your Ongoing Bag). There’s always a use for something, or someone who will want it.

The Ten-Minute Trial

This is when you decide that for 10 minutes only you will sort out a shelf of books; a drawer of clothes; your make-up bag; a kitchen shelf; your tool box, sewing bag, or bedside table. Whatever it is, it will be you sorting your stuff!  What’s important here is not the task itself, but the fact that you get to feel good after only 10 minutes, and you stop after that, and get to feel good!  (Of course you can carry on if you want to, but you don’t have to, because the commitment was only for 10 minutes). You’d be surprised at how much can be accomplished in just a few minutes. Try it out and see what happens – the real trick is in making sure you’re only going to do it for ten minutes. It doesn’t work if you think ‘I know I have to do it only for ten minutes but I’ll keep on going’, or ‘this is just a trick to get me started, I’m not going to play that game’, or anything else that means sorting your stuff becomes bigger than 10 minutes.  So watch out for how you think about it!

I hope one of those tips helps you with your procrastination. Use them to get started on something you’ve been putting off for ages, and then keep going, step by little step, until you have sorted your stuff. (And then remember to celebrate!)

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