Addicted to Chocolate? Try De-Cluttering Instead

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“It’s time,…I need a fix” I say to myself. I need that feeling again. It’s time to do my big, whole home de-cluttering. My husband and son are going camping for 4 days and I’ve got a date with my house. I’ve been through the house before, so I know the feeling I’m going to get when I’m done.

When do I know it’s time to de-clutter? Well, I usually know when I feel that my invisible “bitch-o-meter” has been hitting “alert!” a little more than usual. You see, your house is a reflection of what is going on in your life. So, if you’ve got stuffed drawers ready to blow, and magazines piles stacking up on the floor, it could be creating that oh-so-uncomfortable urge to throw some china across the room to vent, or the feeling of unresolved “issues” piling up in your life.

The other day I just took a look in my guest bedroom closet and found 6 extra pillows. 4 appear to be “on their way out, but no one had the guts to do it” and 2 are still in their original packaging. How does this happen, I ask myself? There are four pillows on the actual guest bed itself!

For those who don’t thoroughly enjoy the de-cluttering process, allow me to offer some tips. Let’s put the issues in the tissues and get back to a centered place by de-cluttering!

First, start every project with the three-step mantra, “Eliminate, Categorize, and Organize.” Whether you are cleaning out your undie drawer or the entire attic, these three steps are what can get you to a favorable outcome. Simply go through everything and toss out anything that is not needed in this space, then categorize what does (good undies in this pile and second string undies in that pile.) Then, once you’ve got your stuff separated out, then organize the items in the space.

Here’s how I’m going to attack the entire house. To get warmed up, I plan to start with a place that I can score a “win” feeling quickly: the drawers in the dining room china hutch. (stay away from places you know will take you down memory lane or put you in an emotional tiz at first to get the ball rolling.) I know one hutch drawer is stuffed with ramekins from Trader Joe’s crème brulPes (they’re too good to throw away I say as I add to the pile,) so I decide to save 12 and place the rest in a to-go pile in the middle of the room. Woo-hoo! I’m on a roll! Look how good that drawer looks with just 12 ramekins in there!

Oops – what’s that in the next drawer? Oh geez, the 6 sets of individual hen-shaped salt and pepper shakers that I thought would be cute on Thanksgiving. Really? Individual hen-shaped salt and pepper shakers? What was I smoking the day I spent money on those? And funny, but I’ve NEVER even pulled them out of their original boxes in the two years I’ve owned them. Be gone silly hens! That one “pinched” (the word I use for that funny feeling that you get when you ejected something perfectly good that you spent money on) but I’m on the other side of it. The good news is that I know that the pinch doesn’t even come close to overpowering the good feelings I get when I’m on the other side of the whole process, so I continue….

A “voted-off-the-island” wedding gift or two later (pinch, pinch), I’m ready to move onto the next room to de-clutter. I simply leave the pile in the middle of the dining room as my trophy and scoot on into the kitchen. I make sure to start with the easy stuff first (matching lids and bowls and tossing out loners) and end with the piPce de résistance – cleaning out the cosmic black hole under the sink. Lordy, if there was ever a place that I mentally cut out of my home, it is that dungeon. I simply pretend that it doesn’t exist. I put myself into an altered state when I open the door to grab the dishwashing detergent.

But now the job is done, and I’m savoring the feeling that mimics the satisfaction-equivalent of a good chocolate bar. Oh, the high. I simply stare in wonder at this sparkling square footage and can’t wait for another reason to open the doors.

If you can’t find three days to relish in this endeavor, start small and work your way up. Start by bringing a makeup or junk drawer to the couch with you to work on during a TV commercial break. Work your way up slowly to a closet or room every Monday night. I swear it will give you a boost for the rest of the week. And slowly but surely, you’ll be Jonesin for a three-day session just like me.

Karen Rauch Carter, founder of Life With Zing, motivates people to rethink their day to day choices by implementing simple, yet doable fixes for home, health, relationships and more. Karen wrote the best-selling book Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life, and designed the ultimate site to empower people to create, shift towards, and live their fullest, most vibrant life. Learn free tips and gain valuable tools by clicking: http://www.lifewithzing.com