Sunday, June 26, 2011

50 Things Challenge: Stick With It

Tip of the Week, June 12 and 19, 2011

Welcome to the last two weeks of the 2011 Get Rid of 50 Things Challenge! This home stretch can be both exhilarating and exhausting: you may find yourself inspired to make one final push, or, on the flip side, you might be ready to throw in the towel, whether you've parted with only a few things or have come within an arm's reach of the goal of 50.

The desire to give up is one I encounter frequently in the midst of organizing projects, for both my clients and myself. By this point, the excitement of making decisions on what to clear out from your life (and then actually doing it) may well have worn off, and even if you've been reaping the rewards of a less-cluttered space and a more open life, there's a chance you've gotten used to them, making them less motivational than they were when you started.

If you find your inspiration waning during these last few weeks (the Challenge ends on Sunday, June 26), here are a few ways to give it a boost and to keep yourself going.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize. Decluttering for the sake of decluttering is effective for some, but for most of us (myself included), there needs to be a stronger motivation behind it. Take some time this week to remind yourself of the benefits of clearing from your life whatever's unwanted and unneeded--why you took on this Challenge in the first place--and then keep those benefits at the front of your mind as you continue working.
  • Think marathon, not sprint. As with any organizing project, it's almost always easier and more effective to work slowly and steadily than it is to go on a decluttering binge. Challenge yourself to find 4 or 5 things each day over the next few weeks that you're ready to part with, rather than trying to scrape up 50 things at once.
  • Enlist a buddy. You've heard me say it many times before: like exercise, sometimes organizing is just more fun (or at least more bearable) if you don't have to do it alone. Find a supportive friend, family member, or neighbor who can help keep you on track and help keep your spirits up over the next few weeks.
  • Get stuff out of the house. If you've already collected things you know you're ready to part with, make it a goal this week to move them out of the house--and no, I don't mean into the garage! Bring them to a local charity, share them with friends, dump them in the recycling, or do whatever you need to do to remove them from your space so you can really see what you've accomplished.
  • Celebrate the progress you've already made. Finally, no matter how far along you are in the Challenge, if you've managed to clear unwanted, unneeded stuff from your life, give yourself a pat on the back--and a bottle of wine, a night at the movies, a day at the beach, or whatever else will let you mark your progress.
It's natural and normal to feel slightly (or seriously!) burned out, bored, disconnected, or overwhelmed by this point in an organizing project. If you find your motivation slipping, use the tactics above to get yourself back on track for these last two weeks of the 50 Things Challenge.

Good luck, and I look forward to hearing about your successes!

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