“We don’t have to do it all. We can’t do it all. We are better for it when we don’t try to do it all.” – Courtney Carver
March 21st is coming upon us rapidly, and although for me, this date has significant meaning (our daughter’s birthday) for many, this date conjures up a season of re-birth, starting fresh, taking a breath of fresh air. For many it also entices Spring “cleaning.” Spring “cleaning” for many does not just mean cleaning. Spring “cleaning” involves uncluttering, organizing, and, then cleaning. Even through media – advertising, news & talk shows, and magazines, we are told quite loudly it is “the season to spring clean.” Many of us create grandiose plans in regards to what we will accomplish. We become hyper-motivated, we create a plan, and then…we fail. Why?
My response, we are treating our plan to unclutter, refresh, renew, and live simply as a PROJECT, not a PROCESS. Choosing to live a life with less, requires a paradigm shift. We must change our habits, not for a week, or three, or six. We must commit to the life long change.
In most cases with Spring “cleaning,” we over-commit. According to Webster’s Dictionary, over commit is defined as the following:
- to commit excessively
- to obligate beyond the ability to fullfillment
- to allocate in excel of the capacity for replenishment
Here are two examples of how individuals over-commit to Spring “cleaning:”
Goal: I will unclutter/organize/clean out the garage on Saturday!
Reality: Saturday morning rolls around…
- Unload everything from your garage – which takes a substantial amount of time (typically two to three hours)
- Take a break
- Return to the garage, realize you have bitten off more than you can chew
- Become extremely irritated
- Place all items back into the garage, and…
- Give up.
Goal: I will unclutter/organize/clean the office on Monday, the pantry on Tuesday, the linen closet and under the bathroom sinks Wednesday, the kid’s rooms on Thursday, the game closet on Friday. Yes! Yes! Yes!
- Monday – I do great!
- Tuesday, I accomplish the majority of the task. That’s okay, I will have time Wednesday.
- Wednesday…I’m exhausted! I deserve a break!
- Thursday, screw it!
Natural response of said individual: Uncluttering, then organizing isn’t for me. I guess I am meant to “live like this.”
My Response: No! You CAN do this. We need to break the Spring “cleaning” down into manageable, bite-size pieces.
Keep in mind: It has taken years to accumulate all of this stuff, which in turn, has become clutter. This clutter is affecting you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Let’s be honest, we will not eradicate the clutter overnight. There is no cookie cutter answer on how long it will take YOU to unclutter. Each person is unique. Guess what…that’s okay. The bottom line is, you made the choice to live simply; let’s be realistic in what is possible.
Unclutter Me’s Recommendations to tackling Spring “cleaning:”
- Never work more than three hours at a time. You will burn out. Some of you may be laughing out loud wondering where someone has found three hours to dedicate to uncluttering. Albeit you have scheduled 20 minutes or two hours, realize there is a point you become inefficient. Recognize your achievable time frames.
- Do not focus on the end result – Many times we have the end result in mind. It may take awhile to achieve said end result.
- Be intentional with your time – Do not answer your phone, or get on social media. Your phone will rob you of your productivity.
- Be realistic, not perfect.
So before you make your “spring cleaning” plans, here’s my advice:
Take a deep breath, and tackle what is achievable. Do not over-commit.
“Less stuff = more love.” – Courtney Carver