One step

Feeling overwhelmed by a project?

Start exercising?
Clear a counter?
Organize your desk?
Park in the garage?

Forget the big picture.
​Narrow your focus.
Think of one step you can do today to move you forward.

Walk to the corner.
Throw away the trash on the counter.
Put all the pens and pencils in one container.
Donate the sports equipment you’re not using.

Often just starting is the most daunting step.
The goal for today isn’t completion.
The focus of today is one step; moving you in the direction you want to go.

Tomorrow, another step.
Let momentum and progress carry you forward.

What one thing can you do today,
with the energy you have,
and the time that’s available,
to begin the project?
Take that step.

Make a list, or two…

 Make a list; check it twice.

Make a list:
Gift list.
Grocery list. 
Commitments list.  

Stop trying to keep track of everything in your head.
Write it down.

Written lists help insure that we shop with a purpose and a plan, 
we buy what we need, 
and we show up when and where we’re invited.

Getting things out of our heads and down on paper (or digitally noted)
makes keeping track of things easier.

Check the list twice:  
Or three times, 
or until everything is crossed off.
Carry the list with you.  
A list can’t help you if leave it on the counter and you’re in the store. 

(I’ve found that keeping  lists on my phone makes it easy to add items,
and I don’t have to worry about losing the piece of paper)

Lists mean crossing out!  Or deleting, if we’re doing it digitally.
A completed list or an empty note folder is a small but significant reward,
and reinforces that we can be in control of our time and money.

Sometimes clutter is a result of feeling scattered and overwhelmed 
about all we think we need to be doing and having in our lives.
Lists remind us what we need to be doing, 
help us focus, and remind us what we’ve chosen as our priorities.

Be Kind

Cut yourself some slack.

LIfe is challenging and hard, and sometimes we just need to 
ease up on ourselves.

Lower the expectation of all we should be doing
and just focus on what we can do, today.

Try talking to yourself in the same compassionate way
you’d talk to a friend who was dealing with a challenge.

Our default is usually judgement and criticism;
both of ourselves and others.
Make kindness your first option-
for yourself
and for those around you.

Things will change.
They always and inevitably do.
By offering kindness we will make the transition between now and then
less of a struggle.

Use the good stuff

Use the gift soap.
Burn the nice candle.
Spray on the cologne.
Wear the new sweater.
Eat the expensive chocolate.
Upgrade to the room with a view.

It’s okay for you to have and use nice things.
Stop saving the good stuff to use someday.
(or to give to someone else)

Treat yourself. 
It’s okay.

Focus on what you want

 “Turn your focus from something don’t want to something you do want.
This allows you to shift your energy from complaining to taking action.”  Tiny 

This suggestion can apply in many areas of our lives, 
 especially when it comes to dealing with clutter.
By not getting caught in the endless and berating stories of 
“My house is such a disaster.
 I’m so disorganized.
The kid’s room is a mess.”, 
and instead focus on:
“I find my keys when I need them. 
We sit at the table and have dinner as a family.
The the kid’s room is reasonably tidy.”
we begin to articulate what it is we do want.

Stop using your thoughts and energy to complain, 
and start taking action. 

Bemoaning your lack of organization isn’t helpful to you or the situation.  
Designating a specific place for your keys to live and putting them there every time you come home, 
is a positive action, and good use of your energy.
Setting up a place to deal with the mail, instead of piling it on the table,
is a specific action that will leave the table clear for family dining.
Spending ten minutes before bed helping your kid put away their toys is an action 
that will lead to their rooms being reasonably tidy.

Choose one spot in our house that you feel is cluttered.  
Think of three things you could do, actions you could take that could clear the space. 
Small, easy actions: Toss a paper into recycle.
Take something to the other room where it has a home.
Throw something away.
.Stop just thinking.  
Start doing.

One small thing

If the project or task seems overwhelming:  Focus on what you CAN do.

Is the whole closet too daunting?
  Just sort one shelf.
The kitchen counter piled high?
  Just fill and run the dishwasher.
A mountain of unopened mail?
  Just toss the junk mail.
A pile of dirty clothes on the chair?
  Just run one load.

Try for small wins.
One step in the direction you want to go.
A single action is movement.  
Movement creates momentum.

Change happens one decision, one action at a time.
You don’t have to do it all today.
You just need to start.

Find one thing you can do.
Do that one thing.

Good enough

“Good enough is not the opposite of perfect.”  Brianna Wiest

Choosing to let something be good enough frees you to move on.
Letting something be good enough is a way to give yourself some grace.

Allow good enough to move you out of procrastination and onto 
crossing something off the list.

Recognize what you do is good.
And that it is enough.


Instead of thinking, “From now on I’ll ______________.”
Get up ten minutes earlier.  
Load the dishwasher every night.
Pay all my bills on Monday.  
Go to the gym three times a week.
Connect with friends.

Try framing a small change as an experiment with a time limit.
Commit to doing something for a month.
It is far less daunting to consider doing something for 30 days,
than for the rest of your life.

At the end of the month, check in with yourself.
Did the change produce results you appreciated?
Was it easier than you anticipated?
What consistently got in the way of your commitment?

Based on your results,
maybe extend the experiment for another month.
Or modify the experiment to better match the reality of your life.

Be curious, not judgmental, about the results of your ‘experiment’.
Use what you learned to help you move forward.
Small changes impact the mechanics of daily living,
and help you live an easier life.


Step away from the cash register.
Put down the Two for One bargain.
Don’t hit the Buy it Now button.
Walk away from hobby supply.
Ignore the bright shiny object.
How many __________ are enough?

Before you bring one more thing into your house:
Do you need it?
Where will it live?
Does it replace or improve something I you currently own?
Do you have the time or energy to maintain, use, or play with it?

What are you willing to let go of to make space for this in your home and life?
If this one comes in, what one are you letting go?

Life involves trading.  
You only have so much money, 
a limited amount of time,
and a finite space.

Make sure you aren’t trading your money, 
your time, or your space
​ for clutter.

Ten at the end.

By choosing to spend ten minutes at the end of your day doing a mini decluttering you can start the next morning in  a calm organized space.

A quick putting away of items that have been left out, 
or set down and forgotten, 
dishes that didn’t make it to the dishwasher or 
toys that were abandoned, 
keeps small messes from becoming big clutter.

On a daily basis putting things in their homes,
tossing things in the trash, 
recycling and letting go of items you don’t need, use or love 
reinforces the habits and systems of a simple, less cluttered life. 

A ten minute evening ritual, involving everyone in the family 
(its their stuff too) gets everyone in the habit of remembering to 
‘Don’t just put it down, put it away’.

By learning and practicing the Two Minute Rule: If you can do something in two minutes or less, do it now; decluttering may not even take ten minutes each evening!

For those of you who work at a desk, it’s a great idea to plan in a five minute desk decluttering at the end of your day also.
Organize the papers, files, notes and projects. Put away the supplies and clear space so that you can start the next day with a clear head in a fresh space.

Spend a few minutes every day and you’ll keep the items of daily living 
​from turning into the nightmare of clutter.