4 Simple Ways to Trick Yourself into Decluttering

published Jul 16, 2022
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There’s nothing like that fresh accomplished feeling of looking at a recently decluttered space. You did the work and now you’re reaping the reward of not only an aesthetically calm area, but one that functions smoothly too.

The desire to create these kinds of areas can be compelling, but it can still be a struggle to tap into the willpower required to declutter a trouble spot. Additionally, even the most pristine decluttered spaces need maintenance. The key to achieving both without needing marathon sessions that upend your daily life is to declutter regularly by building the task into your routines. 

Giving yourself an extra boost to get over the mental hump helps you make progress on what can be a mentally exhausting chore. The best way to follow through with your good intentions is to hold yourself accountable. 

Here are four ways to do just that: 

Tell someone what you’re going to do.

Simply telling someone your intention, whether that’s letting a friend know through text or sharing this with your roommate or spouse, increases the likelihood that you’ll get your decluttering tasks done. The strategy is even more effective if you include a deadline for completion. Promising to send proof of completion by the deadline, such as a picture of your completed space, is even better. You may want to ask your friend or loved one to keep you accountable by checking in if they haven’t heard from you by then. Posting your intention on social media (with a target date!) is another way to access the effect. Pro tip: If you have kids and you choose to tell them your plans, they’re really good at keeping you accountable!

Make a shared checklist. 

Partnering up with someone by making a shared list of tasks you need to get done is another way to bump up accountability — and the likelihood that both of you will check off your to-dos. Whether you share a checklist through your Notes or Reminders app on your iPhone or you use one of the many shared to-do apps that are out there, knowing you have company in your “misery” boosts morale and helps you get stuff done. Again, make plans to encourage each other and share motivational pictures of the progress. 

Time yourself. 

Timing yourself works because it boosts efficiency; you’re trying to get as much as you can done in a finite amount of time. It can also help mentally because you know there’s an endpoint to your project and it’s not going to drag on indefinitely. You can set a timer for a predetermined amount of time and stop when time is up, or you can time yourself and see how long a certain project takes you (and whether you can beat a previous time, if that helps). Whichever way you approach it, timing yourself cuts down on procrastination and helps you cross that finish line as soon as possible. 

Get a body double. 

This technique, which emerged as a self-management strategy for people with ADHD, makes tasks that could feel boring more fun. It also helps keep anyone who may get easily distracted on task. One way to implement this strategy is to invite someone over to your house or into the room to keep your momentum going. If no one is available, you can still employ body-doubling by recording a time lapse. Even if you don’t post it anywhere or show it to anyone, knowing you can view it when you’re done will keep you “in the frame,” or on-task the entire time.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 4 Easy Ways to Trick Yourself Into Decluttering More Regularly