The Beginning of My 2010 Decluttering Challenge

With a little reservation, I accepted another 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge and am again writing new material for my other blog, which is associated with it. I still enjoy both the decluttering and the blogging, however I know that my perfectionism will try to have its way with me.

While considering whether or not to accept the challenge at the end of December, I had to remember back to my first 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge. Didn't I feel scared at that time also?

I didn't worry about the actual decluttering, because it's not hard for me by any means. What is hard for me is to do something routinely...and even more so when there is accountability involved. I hate to be a hypocrite and say one thing while doing another. And, what I imagined did materialize throughout that year. There were many times when I was tempted to keep posting my motivational and 'cheerleader-esque' posts to other challengers, both on the blog and on the original Delphi forum where it originated from, while skipping a day or several. I knew that no one would know. I knew that others would forgive me. But, here's the deal, I don't believe in behaving like that. I live with integrity, to the very best of my ability, in everything I do. I would know and that would be awful enough.

So, I accepted the challenge knowing that I would not start down that slippery slope and miss a day on purpose. If a day did pass when I missed decluttering an item because it was over before I knew it, I didn't let my all-or-nothing perfectionism force me into believing that I should abandon my challenge altogether. Instead, I stayed true to my challenge and faithfully decluttered one item each day unless it was one of those days as described above. For those, I would sometimes declutter a few things on the next day to make up for them and for others I didn't; but I did just kept going and declutter one thing a day.
As I have told other challengers in the 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge, "There's no guilt allowed. Just jump back in right where you are!"

Another question that came to mind is "Don't I still have clutter to deal with?" And I know that is a big yes. Although I declutter all the time, it's the small stuff such as incoming clutter, kids clutter, clothing clutter, etc. It's kind of like cleaning. We feel like we're cleaning all the time but usually what we are only able to accomplish are daily pickups and some surface cleaning. The deep cleaning jobs are only handled now & then, if at all.

I know that I was able to lighten my life considerably by taking my last decluttering challenge. I decluttered easy stuff, old forgotten about clutter, sentimental clutter and LOADS of mental clutter. Now the clutter I see around me is the 'old me' kind of clutter; as in items given to us or low cost stuff that we had while starting out, stuff that is not my taste any longer, clothing that is not my style any longer, etc. This year is a metamorphosis year for me and that stuff is really starting to nag at me. Well, not anymore. I accepted my 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge for 2010 and I've already freed myself of 22 things!

I don't think I have the time to adequately describe for you how great I feel. Within these last 3 weeks, I have been feeding my motivation meter by decluttering mental clutter and I feel so good. Sure, the physical clutter went with it but I can barely recall what it was, truthfully. So far, I have dealt with several 'wish I had the time or skill to do this' projects or the materials I had put aside for that project. I've also passed on several pieces of clothing that are still something I could wear (and maybe do now & again but don't love it) as it's one of those 80% pieces of clothing, cleaned up some clutter piles I've let accumulate, and thrown away some stow away clutter (such as reusable containers that are so warped the lid won't even stay on), etc.

I still have many, many more days to go but, regardless of whether I miss a day or not, I know where I will end up. I will end up at least 365 items lighter and freer. That feeling is awesome and I can't wait to feel it again!

Have you accepted your own 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge? If so, awesome! Hopefully you've announced your start date on the 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge start page so we can cheer you on.

With my new challenge going on, I've also started up the Focus Challenges once again. The old Focus Challenges are still available and a new one will be posted on our Challenge Anniversary, which is the 22nd of every month. Hope you'll join us and free yourself of at least 365 unneeded, unwanted, unloved and unused things.

Until next time...Take Care Of You!

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Suzanne Sergis said...

I'm so glad you have shared this! I have wondered too, what if I get really inspired and do a bunch one day and then am too tired or completely forget the next day??? I think I'm going to jot things down on my calendar just so I can keep myself accountable throughout the year.

I like the motivation meter idea and am really interested in how this process will affect my "mental clutter." I think I'm going to focus on the living room (my entry room) for the next 7 days and see where that takes me!

Suzanne Sergis said...

On my previous challenge, I did my best to declutter something early in the day to assure that it was done & off my mind. Otherwise, when doing my evening routine, I would think about what I accomplished during the day and/or needed to prepare for on the next day. During that time, I would also think about what I decluttered for that day. If I couldn't think of anything, I'd grab something real quick and put it in the Donation Station. I never allowed myself to skip a day on purpose but if a day got away from me, I wouldn't let that missed day demotivate me about my challenge or stop me.

Human beings don't have unlimited motivation and, although we are motivated to declutter right now, it's best to recognize that in a few months this won't seem so new, fun & interesting. What is going to inspire us to keep going then? For me, it was to feed my motivation meter. When I decluttered something that was hard for me (such as sentimental clutter), I would take a moment to think about what I had accomplished, acknowledge how proud I was of myself and to let it really sink in (feeding the motivation meter). Later, when faced with decluttering something similar, it was a bit easier because I had "burned" that feeling into my memory, so-to-speak. I allowed that feeling of victory to wash over me at the later time and it motivated me to declutter the second thing. Same thing happened on days when I wanted to have a bit of a pity party and say to myself that I was too tired to declutter. I pushed myself to do it and, on future hard days, that feeling of pride & accomplishment of doing something even when it wasn't easy came back to me and motivated me.

I believe that physical clutter is caused by the mental clutter. So, we have to either figure out what the mental clutter is and then work on purging it...or we come at it from the other way and the way I believe is easiest. We identify and purge the physical clutter and gain awareness as to what mental clutter caused it to be there in the first place.

For example, did we keep Aunt Sally's whatever around for so long because we actually loved/used/wanted/needed it...or did we keep it around because of guilt (she'd be upset if we didn't keep this), sentimentality (she gave this to me and therefore I must covet it to retain the memory of her), fear of not having (well, it's a serving bowl and I might not be able to buy one if I indeed have a gathering in my home that would require a serving bowl), etc.

Decluttering physical objects can become a bit addicting, as well as decluttering the mental clutter that was with it. Congrats, again, on taking this journey with us and getting rid of unwanted, unneeded, unused and unloved items in your life!

Suzanne Sergis said...

Staying in integrity with yourself is even more important when you don't have anyone to be accountable to! I guess it's kind of like going on a one knows you've slipped unless they happen to be watching you eat your donut!

Right now my home life is in a state of flux, physically, and I am restless because everything is not serene and ordered. I definitely don't thrive in chaos which is one of my biggest motivators for maintaining my space.

Suzanne Sergis said...

Hi Hayden, thanks for stopping by!

Exactly. I believe in the idea of being good even when no one is watching.

From what I remember you were finally returning home so I hope that this chaos is due to the re-entry and not a different issue. Just from reading about the life you endured while living with Chris' mother to help her and all the relationship turmoil during the last few months, I already want to give you a big cyber (((HUG))). I don't know much about the direction you are moving towards now, and therefore had to stop blogging, but I do wish you the absolute best journey! Take care of you!!

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