The question I am asked the most is: “Where should I start uncluttering?” I typically respond to this question with the standard “start small” response — a drawer, a purse, a pocket of a coat. Although this is the answer I most often give because starting small is really easy, it’s not actually what I believe is the most rewarding place to start.
When faced with a cluttered home or office, I find that people get the greatest satisfaction from uncluttering the area that annoys them more than any other area. It’s the area of your home or office that makes you curse each time you look at it. Even just thinking about it makes your stomach tighten and jaw clench. If you used a word as strong as hate, you would say you hated it.
Back in my cluttered days, there was a stack of boxes by the front door that drove me bonkers. Worst of all, it was the first thing I saw when I came home after a long day at work. I’d be ready to relax, and then AHHHH! I’d see it and instantly tense up again. “I have to take care of that,” would be the next thought that popped into my mind. And then, I’d walk into the living room and forget about the boxes until the next time I left or came home. I grumbled about those awful boxes of clutter for years.
When I finally sorted through the contents of those boxes and cleared them away from the front door, it was as if I had won the lottery. I took myself out to dinner. I called and told a few friends. I may have pulled a neighbor in from the hallway just to take a look at what I had done. I was elated, and the remainder of my uncluttering work was a breeze after that.
Starting small is easy, and it’s actually how I started my first big uncluttering project. I went through one box at the bottom of a closet. I didn’t get a giant burst of motivation and satisfaction, though, until I tackled those boxes by the front door. It was only after the biggest frustration was gone that I really wanted to get rid of all the clutter and embark on my new, uncluttered life.
If you’re looking for a boost of uncluttering motivation, slay the clutter dragon that is your biggest frustration in your home or office. Stop putting it off, and take care of it. You’ll be glad you did.