Habits + Habitat: Five Steps to Declutter Your Domain
Congratulations, holiday warrior. You’ve made it to a brand new year. You’ve waded through the holiday decor and packages. You’ve waddled through the parties and eggnog and midnight champagne toasts. And now you find yourself staring at the crisp, unmarked January page of a fresh calendar.
If you’re anything like us, you make your morning coffee, take in your cluttered surroundings, and join a virtual worldwide chorus echoing the age-old refrain: “It’ll be different this year!” Ah, hope and fantasies about fresh starts certainly spring eternal, don’t they?
But what exactly must be different? We all know that very few resolutions succeed, so how about starting the year with a different approach? Instead of resolutions, let’s focus on solutions. And for the Jones family at Your Austin Storage, we’ve found that the most effective solutions are those that address behaviors and not specific outcomes.
For example, resolve to make better food choices, not to lose weight. Commit to adopting a regular home organizing routine, not to somehow magically declutter the whole house overnight. When you focus on your habits, you stay focused on what you can control. When you focus on the outcome, you can set yourself up for failure because many outcomes involve factors beyond your control.
Put another way, your habits should influence and impact your habitat, not the other way around. If cluttered surroundings are the sign of a cluttered mind, then a clean, decluttered, organized space can be a reflection of new-found clarity, intention, and direction. And this can lead to less stress, more peace of mind, higher productivity, and more time to spend doing the things you really love. So, you see, making a plan to conquer the clutter is so much more than about the stuff. It’s about gaining control and managing your life.
At Your Austin Storage, we’ve learned a few organization tips and tricks along the way during our 30 years in the self-storage business. If you’re motivated to get started but need inspiration, consider following our five-step project design plan to not only declutter, but to implement change in almost any area of your life.
1. Find Your WHY
Find your WHY for the change you want to bring. Don’t just look at the task, but also the process and the reason. Whatever it is you want to change, like becoming better organized, make sure your WHY is big enough to sustain you through the frustration, because that will happen.
2. Fast Forward
Take a moment to imagine your future self. What would your life look like a year from now if you accomplished your goal? Consider writing a short email or note to yourself reflecting on how your life has changed for the better since completing this project.
3. Identify Your Resources
What skills and strengths do you have that are useful in meeting your goal? What resources — people or things — do you have to help achieve your goal?
Who from your list of personal resources could serve as an accountability partner? Ask a friend or family member to be your accountability partner in your quest to declutter. Or sign up for a free week with coach.me to try out a certified accountability coach. It’s easy to let yourself down, but it’s much more difficult to disappoint a trusted friend or coach.
4. Determine What By When?
Create an action plan with milestone dates. It can be helpful to create a reverse timeline by identifying the date you want to meet your goal and then work backward to pencil in mini-goals leading up to your finalized project.
When it comes to actually working your plan, keep these helpful hacks in mind:
- Do the worst first. Use your energy to tackle your least favorite organizing task and get it out of the way.
- Identify the unfinished business. Make a list of projects in progress that you could quickly wrap up for a quick win. Don’t let these energy drains weigh you down!
- Start small. Break things into bite-sized pieces. Resist the urge to declutter everything at once in a big marathon session. Utilize the 20/10 rule, where you do short bursts of cleaning for 20 minutes, followed by a 10-minute break, and then repeat.
5. Reward Yourself
It’s time to celebrate! It’s important to acknowledge your self-discipline. Assign smaller rewards when you reach certain home organizing milestones, and a bigger one once you’ve completed the project. Of course, a clean, decluttered space — plus less stress and fresh energy to dream up new ideas — will be your biggest reward!
We hope these tips help you clear the way to a happy and productive 2019. And remember, the garage is not the answer! Keep your garage clean with space to store your vehicles, along with tools and yard work items you frequently access. Instead, reserve a self-storage unit at one of our three Your Austin Storage locations, and let us partner with you to better organize your life — or at least the stuff in it!
What We’re Watching This Month
Marie Kondo, author of the cult-favorite home organization guidebook The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is getting her own Netlfix series. Watch the trailer here. Tidying Up with Marie Condo premieres January 1 on the streaming service — just in time to motivate viewers to finally getting organized. It’s a series sure to spark joy!
What We’re Reading This Month
Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess by Rachel Hoffman
Rachel Hoffman, creator of the 20/10 rule we mention in Step 4 of this post, offers up a useful, no-nonsense, entertaining read about how you can get up, start organizing and decluttering, and get your house in order.