10th February 2016 by Catia Neves
I’m not bad at getting stuff done, but I tend to do the big stuff first. Partly, because I’m juggling a few too many balls. Partly because the small stuff doesn’t seem that important. It gets to wait another day….and another….
The problem comes when the small stuff starts affecting our daily well-being. I came across a new word the other day ‘stuffocation’! Apparently, it means ‘a feeling of being oppressed or overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you own’. Now, I’ve been saying for a long time that I really need to clear out and de-clutter at home. It’s not that we have an absolute massive excess of stuff. It’s just that we have more stuff than we need. However, in the great scheme of things, having a good clear out didn’t exactly appear top of my list.
I’d set myself up for failure pretty much at the start anyway by solely setting the end goal i.e. de-clutter the house. I’d decided I’d do it over some imaginary completely free weekend (what are they again?), or perhaps during the school holidays when I’d have more time (I’m not sure who exactly I was kidding with that one).
To make matters worse, I now had something on my ‘mental to do list’ that I clearly kept procrastinating over. I definitely could relate to feeling ‘stuffocated’. It wasn’t the worst, but it certainly wasn’t the best aid to my daily well-being. It doesn’t feel nice to know you promised yourself something that you did not deliver on. A fact that I was frequently reminded about whenever I was in a rush and I couldn’t find something, or the contents of a cupboard decided to knock me for six. Most of all though, it was the fact that I knew I wanted to do it and it was mildly stressful never having enough time.
In reality, the busier I got, the more I needed to take time out to organise stuff but I’d given myself a massive job, and an unrealistic one at that. We’ve all heard about not eating the elephant in one go but sometimes common sense is not common practice. This time, I decided I’d give the ‘one bite at a time’ thing a go.
So I changed my goal from ‘de-cluttering the whole house’ to ‘working towards de-cluttering’, taking it slowly, one day at a time. Starting on 1st Jan this year, I decided I’d just de-clutter one thing each day….a cupboard, drawer, basket, bag, it didn’t matter what. I didn’t aim high. I just made a start.
It never ceases to amaze me how much easier it is to get motivated to do something after you start it.
So how did it go? It’s early days, but it seems to be working! I’ve increased my well-being every time I’ve handed over something I no longer need to someone else who really did. I can find things so much faster. I even made some money! Best of all, it just feels better.
Sometimes, the ‘slowly but surely’ route pays off. Somehow, setting the goal to be ‘working towards my goal’, and making it a part of my everyday life in a small way is turning into a big result.