Clutter doesn’t just takes an emotional toll on us… it affects everyone we come into contact with on a daily basis. No matter how much time you spend in your house each day (whether you stay at home with your kids, work from home, or leave your home each day), making your home a place that’s peaceful, organized, and happy be more enjoyable (and less horrible) for everyone.
What you see plays a huge role in your mood… and a home that’s been overtaken by clutter is stress-FULL to the eyes… and heart! When there’s obvious clutter like stacks of magazines, dirty dishes, junk mail, toys everywhere, and piles of laundry lying around, you can wind up feeling more like a time-bomb than a mom… ready to explode the moment your foot finds that “missing” lego or walking into the bathroom to find your toddler’s smeared “poop-ocolypse” (please tell me I’m not the only one)!
YOU play a HUGE role in setting the mood in your home, and when you’re stressed and crabby, everyone who resides there will follow. This is why the very first step of The PERRGE (after committing to do it) is to remove the immediate, obvious clutter that’s sapping the life out of YOU… and making you wanna give up every. single. day.
PICK UP & PROPEL
PICK UP & PROPEL focuses on getting rid of the garbage and containing the obvious clutter that’s been starting you down. It involves almost no thinking on your part. Seriously… do NOT overthink this! You are simply going to…
- PICK UP everything (yes, you will actually touch every item in this room)…
- and PROPEL it into a box to contain it for later… or a garbage bag to get rid of.
Starting in the furthest corner of a room and working your way toward the door, imagine an invisible line. Using the “bulldozing method” move across the room you’re working in (just like a bulldozer) and ask yourself ONLY ONE simple question as you PICK UP each item…
And, just to be clear… any junk mail, all expired (or moldy) food, and every item that is beyond repair or cannot be fixed is garbage… so, if the answer to your question is, “yes… this item is garbage”, then PROPEL it into a big black garbage bag. If the answer is, “no… this item is NOT garbage”, then it must be contained. PROPEL the item into one of FOUR boxes/baskets…
#1) IMPORTANT ITEMS
This small box is for any “IMPORTANT” items you can’t lose in the process of decluttering like bills, important papers, or keys. This box is only for IMMEDIATE things that need to be accessible!
#2) SMALL ITEMS
This small shoe box is for any small/tiny items such as coins, bobby pins, pens, etc. that would otherwise get lost in a big box with other larger items. If there are many small items in the room you’re working in, another option would be for you to use a larger box and fill it with only small items.
#3) DIRTY CLOTHING
This tall laundry basket is for any dirty clothing that needs to be washed. If you have two baskets, you could put light-clothing into one and dark-clothing into the other. At the end of the day, or when when the basket gets full (whichever happens first), take the clothes and do the laundry so you will have an empty basket when you come back to PERRGE the room again.
#4) REMAINING ITEMS
This big box is for everything that doesn’t go into the other 3 containers. The majority of things should go into this box (in fact, everything that isn’t garbage could go into these boxes, but you don’t want to be looking for your keys or having some dirty clothing smelling up the rest of the items!). You will need more than one of these boxes, but DO NOT organize the items going into the box on this step! Fill one box at a time, and when one is full, close the top and begin filling another. Easy-peasy.
Remember… I promised NO THINKING during this step… NO EMOTIONAL TORTURE or PULLING HEART STRINGS! You don’t need to determine what’s important or decide what you need to keep. This step simply contains the clutter (while making sure you don’t lose your keys or bills in the process) and gets rid of the garbage. DO NOT take anything out of drawers, closets, or cupboards! (That’s coming!) Don’t make this step harder than it has to be. This can actually be the fastest step of the entire PERRGE process if you let it be. The less you think… the faster it will go. There are no difficult decisions to make.
SPEAKING OF GARBAGE…
A part of the external clutter you’ve been sinking in every day, is the result of the internal clutter you’ve been holding onto for days… months… and even years…
Now, hear me say this to you as clearly as if I were sitting across from you… “YOU ARE NOT YOUR CLUTTER…” It’s time to let the lies go. They will serve NO PURPOSE in your life. It’s GARBAGE… so let it go. Toss it in the bag with the rest of the clutter you’re throwing away and continue moving forward!
Don’t look back… don’t allow yourself to hold onto regret… don’t beat yourself up… and don’t waste another moment on beliefs, feelings, or thoughts that make you anything less than what you were created to be.
So, you’ve got some work to do… don’t we all? (The answer is YES by the way.) Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re the only one struggling with clutter (cuz you’re not). Don’t get overwhelmed and defeat yourself before you try. It took more than one day to get this way, and it’s gonna take more than one day to turn things around… but you’re movin’ in the right direction so take another step… and another… and another! Anything worth having is worth fighting for!
What lies do you need to release? Write them down on a piece of paper. Then, get a pen/marker and write “WORTH IT” on your hand/arm/wrist to remind you that YOU ARE WORTH living a life that is free from clutter! Take the paper with the lies and burn it. You are not those lies anymore. Look at what you’ve written on your arm… close your eyes… breathe in the truth… and keep movin’ forward!
PICK UP & PROPEL RECAP…
- ITEMS NEEDED: The PERRGE List (printed out), BIG black garbage bags, several small box/shoe boxes, one or two tall laundry baskets, and big (moving) boxes.
- Choose a room, and starting in the furthest corner of the room, begin bulldozing.
- PICK UP one item. Ask yourself, “IS THE ITEM GARBAGE OR NOT?”
- If your answer is “YES”… PROPEL the item into garbage bag. If “NO”… PROPEL into appropriate box/basket; important items, small items, dirty clothing & remaining items.
- When you fill a garbage bag, grab a new one to fill. When a box gets filled, close it and start filling another one. Stack the boxes against a wall (heavy ones on the floor) and take the garbage bags outside IMMEDIATELY.
- Continue to BULLDOZE the room until everything is either thrown away or in a box. For extra points, time yourself to see how fast you can get it done! When you’re finished, take a look around you. It might look like you’re moving with all the boxes, but YOU ARE!… you’re moving toward a clutter-free life (and you’re off to a great start by the way)!
IF YOU’RE A MOM…
This is a great project for your kids to help you with! Sit in the middle of the floor with the garbage bag and boxes and have them bring items to you, OR you can pick up each of the items in the room and then tell your kids to put it in the garbage or boxes. If you’re children are old enough, have them take the garbage bag out of the room, or stack the boxes. If you have teens, they can do this step on their own in their room. If you have smaller kids, make it a game by setting a timer to see how fast you can their room done together!
IMPORTANT: Make sure all the boxes are shut (and taped if necessary) so little hands won’t get into them and destroy all the work you’ve just accomplished!
YOUR NEXT STEP: Why You Need to EVALUATE Your Clutter