What about Decluttering my Closets?

Dear FlyLady,

I just came across your website – you have great tips for everyday decluttering.  My problem is in areas behind closed doors like closets and garages and attic spaces.  These seem to require a lot more time to tackle.Do you have any info on organization in these areas?

FlyBaby B.

Dear FlyBaby B.

NO it doesn’t take a lot of time, Just Consistency!

You can’t organize clutter; you can only get rid of it. The problem you are having is thinking it is going to take a long time to do it. Your clutter was collected one bag, one box and one item at a time and it was brought into your home. It is time to take the reverse approach and get rid of it one item, one bag or one box at a time. None of us have eight hours to give to an overwhelming task like clearing out an attic.

In our perfectionism, we want to do it all at once. There is a system that is raising some eyebrows on the internet. This system wants you to pull everything out of your closet. This may work for some folks but for many of my FlyBabies, they become overwhelmed and stick it all back into the closet. More power to people for getting rid of their clutter. Sometimes we need to see immediate success. Please don’t get overwhelmed if you try it. We will be here to help you if you do pull it all out and get stuck. BabySteps will get you there.

It is the consistency of doing just a little every day that is going to keep us from crashing and burning. That way we are never overwhelmed by it. We grab a box from one of our storage areas and leave that space, so we are not tempted to do too much. Take that box and go through it one item at a time.

Have a give away box handy, a garbage bag and a put away box. Set your timers and go through the box as fast as you can. Tossing out the clutter, trash and putting away everything you want to keep. If you don’t love it, use it, you have two of them or it doesn’t make you smile, it should go away. When the timer goes off you have to put everything away.

The key here is doing one box a day and not pulling out more than we can put back in an hour. This is all about learning to take babysteps. This is one of the reasons we break our home into Zones. Each week we focus on a new zone.

This is why I teach people to unpack their moving boxes a few at a time. This way you can gradually go through everything with a calmer set of eyes than you had when you were packing it away.

Get out your Timers and Get started on your closets!


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