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Choosing The Best Place to Start

May 05, 2024

Read time: 4 minutes

“What to do if you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? Small apartment, but we can’t get rid of EVERYTHING we have just to buy it again once we buy a home, hopefully in the next 9-12 months.”

This is one of several questions I was asked this past Friday while live streaming on YouTube with Melissa Maker from Clean My Space. I had a blast chatting with her and her audience, and it’s even got me considering setting up a space to chat live with you, but I digress.

(I apologize; I am not sure why my video came through blurry on the live stream because it was crystal clear on the backend — I’ll get that dialed in better next time 🫣)

I’m sharing this question with you because I believe this is an excellent topic for us to discuss inside The Clarity Club in this week’s newsletter.

Today, I’ll walk you through my process for choosing the best place to start your decluttering journey.

Now, if you’re curious about how I answered the second half of this question or the many other questions that were asked, I encourage you to watch the replay (and feel free to leave a comment letting Melissa know that I sent you).

Let’s dive in.

Finding Your Starting Point: The BEST Place to Start

Feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to start can be paralyzing, especially when faced with clutter and disorganization. However, as I briefly mentioned above, I have a simple process you can follow to kickstart your journey towards a more intentional and clutter-free life.

The first thing you should do is take a step back from the chaos and temporarily ignore the clutter.

Instead, focus on identifying a decluttering project that sits at the intersection of low effort and high impact.

  • Low effort projects are those you can tackle in a weekend or a few hours with a clear action plan in place. Think of areas where you can quickly make a difference without expending too much time or energy.
  • High impact projects, on the other hand, address the clutter that’s causing noticeable interference or friction in your daily routine. These are the areas where decluttering will make a significant difference in your life.

Here are a few examples:

Example 1: Ron’s Story of Clothing Decluttering Success

The first example comes from my own story. When I began my decluttering journey eight years ago, I started with my bedroom closet.

For me, this project was relatively easy to tackle over a weekend (I spent an entire Sunday afternoon doing it), yet the impact on my daily life was profound. No more wasted time agonizing over what to wear each morning or running late because of decision fatigue.

Example 2: Pamela’s Story of Book Decluttering Success

The second example comes from Pamela, an avid reader who faced the challenge of decluttering her extensive book collection. With hundreds of books waiting to be read, Pamela felt overwhelmed and unable to enjoy her passion for reading to the fullest.

I publicly gave Pamela some advice and guidance about her book clutter on my YouTube channel, which was a game-changer.

She recognized that her book collection fell into the sweet spot between low effort and high impact, and with a clear action plan in hand, she jumped right in.

Was this project low effort? Yes.

Throughout a single weekend, Pamela drastically reduced the number of books she owned.

Was this project high impact? Yes.

The impact of Pamela’s decluttering efforts extended far beyond simply clearing space on her shelves. As she pared down her collection, she also removed the daily friction and frustration of being unable to fully engage with her books.

Overall, the results were transformative, and the speed at which she accomplished her goal was remarkable.

Pamela reclaimed space in her home and found a renewed sense of joy and freedom in her reading life. Most impressively, she sold most of her books, turning clutter into cash.

If you’re curious to witness Pamela’s journey firsthand, I encourage you to check out the video here. It’s a testament to the power of decluttering and its positive impact when you get the best possible start.

Why Start at This Intersection

When you start with projects that fall into this sweet spot between low effort and high impact, you’ll quickly build momentum and confidence.

  • Low effort projects are great confidence boosters because they give you the proof you need to step back and say, “I can do this!”
  • High impact projects, on the other hand, allow you to experience the benefits of decluttering firsthand because your efforts directly resolve the friction and frustration you’re experiencing due to the clutter you must interact with daily.

Doing this will inspire you to tackle more areas of your home and life.

Today’s action step:

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your clutter, take the first step today and stop everything you’re doing. Attempting to declutter while overwhelmed will continue to frustrate you. Instead:

  • Take a look at your space
  • Identify one project that falls into this overlap between low effort and high impact
  • Keep what you use regularly
  • Tackle the clutter
  • Repeat

If you found this guidance helpful, consider my decluttering course, The Declutter Kit. In it, I teach you how this step fits into a larger framework called The BANKS Method.

I hope you enjoyed today’s lesson, my friend.

Now it’s time to get out there and move the needle on your journey to clutter-free living.

Good luck, and see you next week.

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help:

1. The Declutter Kit: The most straightforward way to approach decluttering. I share 8+ years of expertise, proven methods, and actionable strategies. This course will help you save time, conquer your clutter, and prioritize your values.

2. Get my Core Values Worksheet: Step-by-step guide to help you identify your values (free).

Want to talk about collaborating? Have a question or feedback?

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