Here is where it gets really embarrassing. I’ve been sharing my November project, some first successes, the self criticism that pops up, and how to deal with scope creep (part 1). What I’ve avoided this far, is to share a picture of The Work That Needs Doing. It’s not easy to photograph administration hiding everywhere and nowhere. But I can illustrate why the gentle decluttering approach* works. And makes sense.
Yesterday I let this week’s decluttering prompt help me define my task for the day. I needed something that would help me start, give me direction, and help me stop. Even though I knew the prompt was simple and doable, I knew I had dive into Mount Doom to get it done. This video describes my expectations well:
When I show you an actual BEFORE picture, is where the embarrassment begins. The piece of Mount Doom I’d be diving into, looked like this in real life:
I wasn’t even going to dig into the pile on the right, just into that almost organised looking red crate. I had great expectations of what I would encounter there:
- Administrative skeletons in the closet.
- Flesh eating zombies (you’d probably call them miscelleanous papers that require a decision).
- Materials that would proove that I’m guilty in court (basically anything that feeds my inner critic, so expectedly almost everything in there).
Thanks to Lisa’s declutter prompt, I dared to face this part of Mount Doom. I had arranged for a reward in the form of chocolate, because I thought I needed something to help me through.
That’s where the embarrassment continues… There were no skeletons. No zombies. Nothing incriminating. Just a number of these. This one was full and needed some work. Most of them were empty…
The red crate of danger had been sitting in my attic since May 2016. And this was all it was…
This basically is the core of the gentle decluttering approach: it helps you tackle daunting things in a practical, doable way. By making tasks small. By providing helpful questions to make decisions about keeping something, or throwing it away (no, she doesn’t ask if things spark joy… Lisa is anything but Marie Kondo, and that works really well for me). Today my helpful question decision was: will I ever use these materials again? The answer was NO.
I emptied the red crate, and put the pile of stuff that was next to it, into it. I might work on that pile today. But for now my visible, satisfying result was empty floor space. Yay!
* Disclosure: I’m a fan, not someone who gets money by sharing links. Lisa Cole has been running the decluttering group for free for more than a year, and has helped many of us deal with the overwhelm stuff can cause in a doable way. She sells her practical e-books at an incredibly low price – because she wants them to be affordable for everyone. My way to thank her is to tell you about her work. Check it out, and if you want support too you can become a patron.
Talking about procrastination… I have now finished my writing for #NaBloPoMo day 7, but not worked on my project yet. A classic case of doing the fun things before the daunting things 🙂
Today’s strategy: a doable task. A maximum amount of time. A reward.
If the administration I’m looking for wasn’t in the Red Crate of Doom, it’s probably hiding in numerous bags of unsorted temporarily scooted up piles. Yikes!