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The Art of Playing Defense Against Clutter

Nov 19, 2023

Read time: 2.5 minutes

This issue is brought to you by The Decluttering Starter Kit, a multi-step action plan for decluttering with less overwhelm and more progress each week. Get access here.

After five years of sharing my decluttering experience publicly on my YouTube channel, I noticed that I’ve yet to talk about how to maintain a clutter-free life.

The last thing I want is for you to make an effort to declutter your life now, just to end up right back where you started later.

So today, I’m sharing what I’ve found to be the best way to do this.

The Art of Playing Defense

We usually think about playing defense only in the context of sports — football, basketball, soccer, etc.

The team or player playing defense has one primary objective — to prevent the other team or player from scoring.

Athletes worldwide practice specific skills and habits for hours, to the point of mastery, so that they can perform to the best of their abilities during game time.

So that they can play defense effectively.

I’m sharing this metaphor to say that we must also play defense in life.

Not just on the football or soccer field, the basketball court, or any other sporting arena.

Here’s what playing defense means in the context of maintaining a clutter-free life:

“Mastering specific skills and habits that will help you keep the clutter gone and maximize clarity and clutter-free living.

3 Skills and Habits

Here are three skills and habits to practice to the point of mastery so that you can maintain a clutter-free life long into the future.:

  1. Swimming against the current. You’re already doing this by choosing to declutter and own less. I’m simply asking you to turn it up a notch. Swimming against the current is doing something you believe in, even if the majority don’t get it.

    When friends don’t understand what you’re doing, keep swimming against the current. When your family keeps throwing unnecessary gifts at you during the holidays, have a tough conversation and keep swimming against the current. When the world wants you to fit in, keep swimming against the current.

  2. Being your gatekeeper. If something does not add value to your life, don’t allow it to enter your life. Being your gatekeeper is about grabbing life by the reins and taking control. Clutter happens when you leave the gate open and unmonitored.

  3. Daily maintenance. When you master the first two things I mentioned, this one becomes second nature. Daily maintenance is about doing the small things that help you maintain your clutter-free life.

    Getting dressed and something no longer fits? Donate it right then and there. Are you feeling overwhelmed with commitments? Start saying no. Notice yourself outgrowing certain relationships? Disconnect from them sooner rather than later.

    Mastering daily maintenance like this will guarantee your decluttering efforts don’t go to waste.


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

If you’re looking for clarity and traction on your journey, I’d recommend starting with an affordable course:

 The Decluttering Starter Kit: Skip the overwhelm and jumpstart your decluttering journey. This comprehensive course will teach and guide you through the system I used to transform my life from clutter to clarity. Get access here.


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