Archives for December 2015

Day Five of Non-Overwhelming Decluttering Tasks – Repeat as Needed.

Day Five of Non-Overwhelming Decluttering Tasks - Repeat as Needed. at ASlobComesClean.comIf you have been following along in this series of Non-Overwhelming Decluttering Tasks, you may be disappointed with today’s Grand Finale. It’s not very dramatic or exciting.

Today’s Decluttering Task: Repeat as Needed.

There are two ways to look at that simple (but potentially annoying) phrase, and in an effort to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, I’m going to talk about both of those perspectives.

On an overall, how-life-should-look-if-your-house-wasn’t-a-constant-disaster level, “Repeat as Needed” looks like this:

Throw trash away (or, of course, recycle when recycling is accessible to you) constantly. Every day, or every hour or every week.

Deal with Procrasticlutter daily. Before it turns into clutter. As you do, you’ll figure out routines that work in your home and those routines will prevent procrasticlutter piles from forming. If you want to not have to figure these things out on your own, my e-book, 28 Days to Hope for Your Home happens to be on sale as a set with Drowning in Clutter? through the end of January. 28 Days will talk you through the development of four ultra-basic habits that will impact your home more than I ever imagined they could when I started my own deslobification process. Those habits will eliminate many of your procrasticlutter problems. If laundry is your biggest procrasticlutter problem, read here about how I (through MUCH trial and MANY errors) figured out how to get mine under control so it’s almost never a problem any more for me. Almost.

Start viewing your house as a container and each drawer, each shelf, each room as containers. This will change everything.

Keep decluttering, accepting that having less is decluttering success and it’s worth your time to declutter even when you can’t do it perfectly.

But here’s how Repeat as Needed looks as today’s task:

Go back through the previous four days’ tasks today. In order.

Grab a trash bag and walk through your house, in order of visibility. I know. You just did this four days ago. But if you’re anything like me, there’s more trash now. The good news is that there’s significantly less trash now than there was on Day One. You might even be done (and see a huge, inspiring difference) in five minutes.

Deal with Procrasticlutter. Your procrasticlutter piles are way smaller than the ones you dealt with three days ago, right? Spend a few minutes dealing with them today before you move on.

Make things fit. You just did this two days ago, so maybe/hopefully it will just be a matter of doing a visual check of the house and catching a space or two that need an adjustment.

Keep decluttering. If you totally finished decluttering your way through your house yesterday, go you. (Though you may not really need to be hanging out at a website called A Slob Comes Clean.) Most of you, though, need to keep going. So keep going. Just go through the first three steps every day before you start so you’ll be making progress. Real progress. Visible progress.

Decluttering is a never-ending process for everyone. For people like me, as a master re-clutterer, it’s a never-ending struggle.

But the struggle is worth it. Really.

Here’s the thing. You may be stuck on Day One or Day Two. You may be overwhelmed with the thought of even starting these non-overwhelming tasks. “Day One” might take you an entire month to complete. And that’s OK. Anything is better than nothing.

Go here for my advice on how to get started if you’re completely new to this idea of a deslobification process. Read my e-books (on sale as a set through the end of January) for step by step advice on getting started. Sign up for daily emails to keep up with my own struggles and successes and failures and lightbulb moments.

You’re definitely not alone. Just keep going.

Want to talk about this live?

Be sure to join me for our Decluttering Club live video chats this week! Sign up here to get a special alert when they go live, and/or sign up to get new blog posts delivered straight to your inbox here:

Need more inspiration?

See my decluttering tips, tricks and stories (with totally real before and after pics) here.


Day Five of Non-Overwhelming Decluttering Tasks - Repeat as Needed. pin at




Day Four of Non-Overwhelming Decluttering Tasks – Trudging Through the Clutter

Day Four Non-Overwhelming Decluttering Tasks Down and Dirty Decluttering but prioritized for maximum impact at

Today is Day Four of the Non-Overwhelming Decluttering Tasks I’ve been sharing this week. Today, we’re getting to the actual clutter. The stuff Normal People deal with on Day One. The stuff I think I’m going to tackle when I get that decluttering itch until I shake my head and realize I need to start with the trash (day one), then tackle the procrasticlutter (day two), and deal with my out-in-the-open-so-why-do-I-not-see-them-until-the-doorbell-rings overstuffed drawers and shelves and such.

Now, it’s time to use the list I created yesterday. The list of oh-my-word-I-could-spend-all-day-working-on-this-blankety-blank-space projects that I need to tackle. I made the list to keep myself from diving into one spot and neglecting the other visible areas of my house.

If I’ve really (actually, and legitimately) followed Days One through Three, my house looks pretty good. Now that it looks good and we’re functioning better in it, I can deal with the deep down clutter. In drawers and behind doors.

Step One:

Prioritize yesterday’s list.

Prioritize by what will improve your family’s daily life the most. #1 should be the drawer that caused the bruises on your hip. Some of those bruises are fresh, some are yellowing around the edges and some are faint-and-almost-gone. You run into that opened drawer every single day.

Yesterday, you removed just enough clutter to close the drawer. That was progress. But add one day’s worth of randomness and it’ll be unshuttable again. Today, declutter it deeply, and your hip will be bruiseless for the next month or so. THAT is decluttering that will improve your family’s life.

(What? You thought you were landing on a site where an expert tells you how to live a perfect, clutter-free life? Sorry. You didn’t.)

Prioritize the list, putting the most consistently irritating spaces first and the spaces you noticed for the first time yesterday last.

Step Two: Start decluttering.

How to declutter?

This section will be mostly links, because I’ve blathered on and on about every aspect of decluttering (both physical and emotional) for the past six years.

  • Get your supplies ready.
  1. A trash bag
  2. A donatable Donate Box
  3. Your feet

If you’re confused (you should be if you’re new here), read this post about how I sort. My method is NOT what most experts recommend, but it’s the one that works for me. (And for a LOT of you.)

  • Head to the #1 spot on your list, and start decluttering.
  1. Remove the trash.
  2. Do the easy stuff first. (Remove and put away things that have an established home somewhere else in your house. The things that don’t require a decision to be made.)
  3. Use my two (and ONLY two) decluttering questions to work your way through the rest of the stuff in the space, leaving only the things that need to be there.

Feel like I’ve oversimplified? Click on the links to read explanations and see real-life examples.

Work your way through the list. I’m not pretending you’ll finish today. You might only get through half of the first space, and that’s fine. As long as you have less clutter at the end of the day, you’ll have won.

Here are some posts that will answer your most angst-inducing decluttering questions:

How to Declutter Without Making a Bigger Mess

How to Not Get Distracted from a Decluttering Project (by other decluttering projects)

Painful Drawer Clean-Out (This is the post where I developed my two decluttering questions. Those questions will be your best friend today.)

Decluttering My Kitchen Cabinet, Step by Step, Without Making a Bigger Mess

Extra vs Excess

I have a ba-jillion (more than 75!) podcasts you can listen to for some company while you declutter. They’re kid-appropriate so you don’t have to worry about your kids being in the room. (Except for the Christmas ones, but I warn you, and it’s not because of a potty-mouth, just some things I discuss that moms don’t want their kids to hear.)


I Like Better

See my decluttering strategies (and my own projects with scary before pictures) here.

And if you want a printable version of my two decluttering questions (like in the picture above) to keep you on track, sign up for my email list!

Want to talk about this live?

Be sure to join me for our Decluttering Club live video chats this week! Sign up here to get a special alert when they go live, and/or sign up to get new blog posts delivered straight to your inbox here:

Need more inspiration?

See my decluttering tips, tricks and stories (with totally real before and after pics) here.


Day Four Non-Overwhelming Decluttering Tasks Down and Dirty Decluttering (but prioritized for maximum impact!) pin at




Day Three: Make it Fit! (Decluttering Tasks that Won’t Overwhelm)

Day Three Make it Fit! (Decluttering Tasks that Won't Overwhelm) at

Welcome! Today is Day Three of the Decluttering Club! If you’ve been playing along, how did your house feel when you got up this morning? Did you notice the visible difference? I did. I walked into my living room and breathed a sigh of relief because the lack of stuff all over the floor made me happy.

If you’re new, go check out Day One and Day Two. Or start here. Or do whatever you want to do. It’s your house!

The goal of these Non-Overwhelming Decluttering Tasks is to help you see progress every single day in your home. VISIBLE progress that will improve your life even if you never get back to decluttering the rest of the week.

Today’s Task:

Make it fit!

If you’re new here, let me clarify that I am NOT telling you to use your entire body-weight to shut the drawer.

Starting with what is visible, make things fit.

Huh? A game-changer for me in my own deslobification process was grasping what I now call The Container Concept. It’s what Normal People don’t even know they know, but people like me don’t even know we don’t know.

Confused enough?

A container is supposed to contain things. It’s a natural limit that determines how much of something I can keep. So, if something doesn’t fit in the container, it has to go. I used to assume I just needed more containers.

And there are natural containers all through my house. Every shelf, every drawer, every closet, every room is a container. If there’s an overstuffed bookshelf in my living room, the answer isn’t to buy a new bookshelf, it’s to get rid of the books/knick-knacks/random-things that don’t fit on that bookshelf.

A bookshelf can only hold so many things. A room can only hold so many bookshelves.

I used to firmly believe all my problems would be solved by more shelves, more storage. I was so wrong. And that belief was a big part of my Slob Problem.

The Goal:

See visible progress in your home and be inspired to keep decluttering!

Start in your home’s most visible space. In the video chat we had on Saturday, most of you named your living room, entryway (or mudroom), or dining room as the most visible area in your home.

If you’ve ever spent all day cleaning, only to have the doorbell ring unexpectedly and your heart ache because the first thing your guest sees is still a disaster, you know what your most visible area is. Start there. People like me like to tackle a linen closet first, but that won’t produce visible results that will keep us going.

If you keep important papers in a drawer in the china hutch in your dining room and that drawer won’t close, see if there are any unimportant papers that have been shoved in there that can be removed so the drawer can shut.

That right there is a totally hypothetical example, people. Really.

But here’s where things can derail for people like me. I get totally lost in the purging-of-the-drawer and spend all the time I have available on that drawer. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

Progress is progress. But my goal for today is to make as much visible progress as possible in as much of my home as possible.

So if I can stay focused on the fact that I am Making It Fit today, I let myself pull out the seventeen empty-and-totally-unnecessary envelopes and close the drawer. And then I start a list on a piece of paper (maybe on one of those envelopes I was about to stick in the trash can or recycle bin), or take a picture with my phone, or write “Important Papers Drawer in Dining Room” on the whiteboard in the kitchen so I’ll have a list to work with tomorrow when I’m starting to tackle more in-depth decluttering.

And then I move on to the next most visible space in my home and focus on making things fit in the natural containers in that room.

And add more things to my list.

And no matter when I get distracted (not if I get distracted, it’s guaranteed in my world), I’ve made visible progress and will wake up tomorrow to a house that looks better than it did when I woke up today.

If my Decluttering Energy remains tomorrow, I’ll know exactly where to start, but if it’s gone I’ll still enjoy a more livable home.

A few posts (and podcasts) to help you grasp these concepts:

How to Prioritize Decluttering Projects

Decluttering Momentum

Containers and Limits and How They’ll Change Your Life

Ooooohhhhh, “Contain”er. Now I Get It

Establishing Boundaries, Confining the Clutter, Whatever You Want to Call It

The One In One Out Rule


Replace, Don’t Add. A Clutter-Busting Concept

Keepable Resolution: Live in Your House (<– specifically talks about seeing your home as a container, a game-changing concept)

My Two (and only two) Decluttering Questions

How to Not Get Distracted from Decluttering Projects (by other decluttering projects)

Need company while you declutter? There are hours and hours (and hours) of my podcasts you can listen to here.

Want to talk about this live?

Be sure to join me for our Decluttering Club live video chats this week! Sign up here to get a special alert when they go live, and/or sign up to get new blog posts delivered straight to your inbox here:

Need more inspiration?

See my decluttering tips, tricks and stories (with totally real before and after pics) here.


Day Three Make it Fit! (Decluttering Tasks that Won't Overwhelm) pin at




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