How to Get Motivated to Clear Clutter | Alice Inoue | Skillshare

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How to Get Motivated to Clear Clutter

teacher avatar Alice Inoue, Author and Life Expert

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Why Minimize Clutter?

    • 4. What is Your "Clutter Personality"

    • 5. Are You a Woodpecker or a Butterfly?

    • 6. Break Up with Your Belongings

    • 7. Clutter Room Symbolism

    • 8. Clutter Clearing Strategies

    • 9. Dealing with Common Obstacles

    • 10. Avoid "Clutter Creep"

    • 11. The Decluttering Ripple Effect

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About This Class

In this class I will motivate you and inspire you to not only make the time, but create a plan of action to start the release of clutter from your environment.  

In this class you will:

  • Determine your clutter personality type. (It's one of four!)
  • Better understand why it's so difficult to let go.
  • Find out the correlation of clutter location to what it means in your life.
  • Find the specific strategies for where to start and for clearing it out.
  • Receive solutions for common obstacles when it comes to clearing clutter.

Many of us have clutter that we “know” we need to get rid of, yet for one reason or another, keep procrastinating on going through our things and letting go. My class will give you the framework that I’ve distilled from thousands of consultations that has helped countless others lighten up their environment.

Whether you need a plan or a reason, this class for beginners is the perfect first step if your clutter has been weighing you down!

All you need to start this class is a pen and paper to jot down ideas relevant to you.  This class includes a downloadable transcript for reference below.

Meet Your Teacher

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Alice Inoue

Author and Life Expert


Related Skills

Health & Wellness Lifestyle

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1. Introduction: In this class, I will motivate you and inspire you to make the time and create a plan to release the clutter in your environment. This class will help you understand how we relate to our clutter. Identify your clutter clearing personality, and finally offer you specific strategies to deal with any obstacles you might come across while you're on your cluttered coloring mission. Hi, I'm Alice. See no way. And I'm an author and a life expert for the past 20 years, I've been helping people upgrade their lives through multiple disciplines and modalities. One of them being space organization. I've helped thousands of people let go of their things and written hundreds of articles over the course of seven years from my award winning column called Go ask Alice. This was published in the Home section of our Sunday's paper as well. I lead a yearly cluttered clearing virtual event online the last few days of every year that you're welcome to join in on for accountability. You don't need any prior knowledge or experience to successfully complete this class. This class is for you if you want to clear out some things in your environment and have been procrastinating. It's also great if you want to help others organizer space as you'll find information on the topic of clutter from me that you won't find anywhere else. This is a great class if you're feeling overwhelmed by the things in your space. And you want to be able to focus better and feel better. By the end of this class, you'll have a clear understanding of so many aspects of clutter, how it impacts you, and exactly what to do to lighten up the energy in any space you live and work in. 2. Project: The project for this class is threefold. First, it's for you to make an appointment with yourself as to when you will plan to take action on your space. The hardest part about clearing clutter is more about committing to a time to do it than actually doing it. Because when you're actually doing what you plan to do, knowing the outcome will be favorable, it just feels so good. Next, take a photo of the area you want to work on before you tackle it, and finally, a photo afterwards so you can see the tangible results of your effort. If you're the type that's been wanting to clear out some clutter for a long time and haven't been able to do it. An optional project is to start a wireless in a notebook. List out why you want to clear your space and then lists specifically how you will benefit. For example, your y could be, so you have more space. And your benefit could be because you'll be able to practice yoga and stretching their more easily. By doing this exercise, you'll help yourself feel more inclined to take action naturally. As human beings, we operate based on Advantages. And once you determine the specific advantage and benefits, it will actually help you overcome your inertia. 3. Why Minimize Clutter?: What is clutter and how is it defined? Clutters defined as things you don't use your love, things that are untidy or disorganized to many things in two smallest space and anything unfinished. It's something almost all of us have. Sometimes we're okay with it. But at various points in our lives, depending on our tolerance, we all have to deal with it. The important thing to remember is that the smallest effort will make a difference. Although it's very hard for many people to get motivated to clear their clutter. The biggest obstacle of all is the idea that you have to get rid of all your clutter in one fell swoop. That's why many people tend to procrastinate on it. The clutter in your space is taken years, maybe decades, or even generations to accumulate. Yet with an all or nothing mindset about clearing it out, you set yourself up to fail before you even start. So why is it important to clear clutter? Because the energy that flows through your space carries opportunities, abundance, renewal, and everything that we think of as good and awesome. If the energy count flow, it will be reflected in your life in the form of obstacles and challenges as well. Cluttered drains your energy. Think of every item in your environment as being attached to you by an invisible thread that either feed you energy or drains it. Clutter is considered dead energy and it literally an energetically pulls are energy away from us, causing us to feel less inspired and more lethargic. In the next chapter, I'll share a bit about clutter personalities and see if you can see yourself and how you hold onto clutter. 4. What is Your "Clutter Personality": We all hold on to things for different reasons. Over the years, I've found that people usually fall into one of four clutter personality types. First, there's a sentimental one. The sentimental personality type has a hard time letting go of anything because he or she attaches sentiment to every meaningful event or cherish person. If this is you, think of what to discard by asking yourself what you would grab if your house was on fire. Everything you own should have high value because it's truly functional, beautiful, or cherished. For example, instead of keeping every drawing your child has ever done, save the best drawing of the month, and then digitally store any surplus sentimental clutter by taking a digital photo of it. You can do this with greeting cards, guests you don't love, and anything that has sentimental value, but no intrinsic value. The next one is the differing won. The differing personality type tends to put everything off, not just clearing clutter, paying bills, cleaning the house, returning emails or phone calls. They figure they'll do it later the next day and they never really get around to it. If this is you start to break this habit by scheduling in your calendar, like I mentioned in the project, or have someone hold you accountable. Once you get started, momentum will kick in. If you wait until you feel like it, you'll likely never start. The third type is the gathering won. The gathering personality type fears that future resources will be scarce. They keep everything from old plastic bags to clothing from years ago, believing these items might come in handy one day. This might sound like your parents, but if it is you, you can overcome this by, first of all, really assuring yourself that you'll always be able to get what you need. Then look for all the items you have more than one of and start letting go from there. I used to be quite a gatherer of things. I remember when I finally got motivated declare at my apartment of clutter, I found nine umbrellas, five count openers, and enough pens to fill a whole drawer. The final type is the perfectionist. The perfectionist personality type puts off de-cluttering and tell he or she has time to do it perfectly ensuring that all the tools and such are in place. The right boxes, the right bags, the shelving. This all or nothing attitude creates a barrier to decluttering because the thought is that anything less than being perfectly prepared is intolerable. If this is you give yourself permission to complete your clearing and stages, break the job at hand into bite-sized pieces and look at each piece as a whole. For example, you may choose kitchen drawers as one project and shelves as another. This way it's easier to prepare. Did you relate to any of these if cell, accept and embrace your clutter personality. Next, let's move on to understanding how you can be the most successful as you make plans to clear, this is all to yield your greatest clutter busting success. 5. Are You a Woodpecker or a Butterfly?: Understanding how you best operate as you're clearing the things in your space can really help you focus and get more done. My question to you is, are you a woodpecker or a butterfly in clutter clearing style? A woodpecker likes to get in, get deep, and focus on one area of the Homer space until they're done. Woodpeckers like to see tangible progress and are a bit more committed once they start, though it takes a bit more motivation to get them going. If this sounds like you already start thinking about the area where you want to make a difference. The best is to pick a bookshelf, a counter, a drawer, a desk, a closet, a room, or a corner to focus on and make that your complete goal. Well, one of your many goals, a butterfly, on the other hand, likes to work on multiple areas in the home or space at the same time. You know, you're more of a butterfly. If you're a multitasker, if you have a hard time staying in one place and doing one thing for a long time. When you start on one area and do a bit, you might think of another area that you want to work on and feel the need to head to that area. If this sounds more like you, then pick multiple areas of your space that you'd like to simultaneously work on. No matter whether you clear like a woodpecker or a butterfly, the key is to know yourself and know what to expect when you start your appointment with yourself to clear your space. A woodpeckers productivity will show up as being more visual with perhaps less bag select glove a butterflies productivity will show up more in terms of bags to dump or donate. Either way, you'll have lightened the load in your home. 6. Break Up with Your Belongings: Have you noticed how hard it is to let some things go? I've always wondered about that and I finally found out why a few years back, Yale School of Medicine did a very interesting study. Were herders and non orders were asked to sort through random items. Some items belong to the experimenters and other items belongs to the participants, both of whom had to decide what to keep and what to throw away. While the participants, we're sorting through the items, researchers tracked their brain activity. Orders, showed increased brain activity when they saw their own things and we're told to throw them away. Whenever a hoarder said that he or she didn't feel right about throwing something away. The feeling of anxiety and discomfort increased. What researchers found from this study was the area of the brain that lights up when we cut our finger, is the same area of the brain that lights up when we need to let something go. So to avoid pain, we sometimes choose to hold on to the things we are attached to you because it makes us feel safer and calmer. Research has also shown that we connect our things to our sense of self. The thought of getting rid of something can be emotionally painful, just like cutting off one's own finger can be physically painful. I want to share a story to illustrate this. I started piano lessons at age five, and for as long as I can remember, I had a piano almost everywhere he lived. I either had a piano or had access to one. So it's only natural that after moving to Hawaii over 30 years ago, I bought a piano. I gradually stop playing. But every time I moved because a subconsciously saw the piano as an extension of myself. I moved it with me, even though embarrassingly in the last few places I lived, the piano was broken. I finally was able to let go of my piano, but breaking up with it was painful. Clutter clearing is a process and it's no different for me as an expert than it is for you each year. It's a huge effort for me to make the time and some on the strength to overcome the pain that I feel when I have to part with things that I've become emotionally attached to you. I do regular clutter clearing because I know first count that the gains are worth the emotional pain. So get started by asking yourself these questions. A big part of letting go is to get clear about why you want to clear your clutter. Is it because you want to save your job? Feel better, have more space, get organized. The y has to be important enough. Otherwise you won't have incentive to declutter. What are your reasons? Because I should is not a good reason. List the benefits of getting rid of your current clutter. The more benefit you can define, the more inspired you will be to tackle the project. The other thing that's kind of helpful to think about that I share with others is, how would you feel if you saw people having to go through your clutter after your death, do you feel good about what they're finding or you embarrassed? Just the thought of that alone got me motivated to get rid of my things. 7. Clutter Room Symbolism: Using rooms symbolism as to where your clutter is concentrated can give you insight into what is going on with you subconsciously and can reveal surprising things about you and your life. See if you can relate to some of these generalities or maybe find a correlation to your life. The bedroom cluttering the bedroom can reflect on your relationship with your partner or even yourself. If you have a cluttered, chaotic, or disorderly bedroom, you may be trying to avoid intimacy or are gradually losing intimacy in the relationship. Creating a sense of order in this personal space can help open up the communication with yourself or between you and your partner. The bathroom. This most private space in the home represents personal intimacy and transformation. It's a space of renewal where we go to release the old. If your bathroom is cluttered and messy, you may feel that things in your life are old and in need of renewal. The kitchen. The kitchen represents the family unit, the place where you nourish yourself and the loved ones in your life. How you care for your kitchen is a clue about whether or not your nourishing yourself in other ways, a cluttered or chaotic kitchen, maybe a sign that you have unstable family connections or feel disconnected, fatigued, or stressed. The living room and dining room. Now the living room represents fun and leisurely activities. Concentrated clutter here may signify that you're taking no time or not enough time to relax and engage in social activities either alone or with family and friends. The garage, garage is represent the space you have in your life. If you're garages cluttered, you may feel constricted in some areas of your life as well. The garage represents the freedom to come and go with clutter there. You might feel that you don't have the freedom or independence and life that you desire. Your hallways. Just as arterial roads connect main thoroughfares to smaller thoroughfares, hallways are the arterial highways of your home connecting the main areas to all your different rooms. Clutter in the hallway has the same effect as a traffic jam making you feel disconnected. Finally, your closets. Many of us through our clutter into the closet rather than cleared out, especially when company comes to visit. Symbolically, closets represent that which is hidden, unknown, or suppressed in our lives. When we fill our closets with clutter, we energetically stifle our intuition and may live some parts of our lives in authentically. 8. Clutter Clearing Strategies: I've shared a lot about clutter personalities, the psychology of letting go of things, and space symbolism when it comes to clutter, hopefully that gave you a bigger picture understanding of it. In this chapter, I want to talk about a few ways to start. My first strategy is to start from where you spend the most time. We all have areas that we gravitate towards and we spent a lot of time at. So that's where you start if you are a salesperson driving your car, start from your car. If you work a lot, start at your desk. If you don't know where to start, start with your nightstand. That's where oftentimes we spend a lot of time. Do you have magazines and books there that you no longer read? That's the first strategy. The second strategy is to start from where you want to see the biggest change. If you want to see change in your relationships, then start in your bedroom. If you're going to transformation, start in the bathroom. If you feel disconnected from life and others, clear the hallways. The third strategy is to start from any corner, I call it the four corner cure. Corners are places with debt energy. And when we go to clear corner, we release that energy back to us. You have no idea what to do. Go to any corner if it's the corner where there's a cupboard clear out the covered. If it's a corner where it's your television and all those wires clear that out. The basic idea behind this is to just get started. Once you start to move the energy, then you can go into any room and do any corner. And this hopefully motivate you to get going. These three strategies are ones that I found are the best place to start when it's time to clear your clutter. 9. Dealing with Common Obstacles: Even after understanding the background I just shared with you, when you start, it might still be hard to let go. So here are some strategies to counter the most common excuses your mind will tell you as you're in the process, here are the obstacles you may encounter. Obstacle number one, it was a gift. Letting go of guests are hard. First of all, acknowledge the intent of the gift. Remind yourself that your friendship is in your heart. It's not in the gift. Take the thought that it's a gift completely out of the equation and look at the item as an object. Ask yourself, do I love, use or need this item? If your answer is no, depending on its condition, you can sell Dani re gift or discarded. Keep your focus on your intent does is to de-clutter. Obstacle number two, I might need this later. In this case, decide exactly when that would be. When you see something that you don't use and immediately think, I need this Sunday, ask yourself, realistically, when will I need or use this? You can't come up with a specific date, assign a date six months from now. But the Adams in a box and write the date on the outside of the box. If someday the date on the box comes and you hadn't used those items very conveniently, you can let them go. Obstacle number three, I paid a lot of money for this. The first thing is to accept that keeping the item will not minimize your guilt, nor will it increase the item's value except your losses and move on. If you subconsciously feel guilty for spending so much for and not using the item, that guilt won't help you start using it, nor will it increase its value. In fact, keeping the item perpetuates the guilt. Let it go so you can feel better. Obstacle number four, someday, I'll have a garage sale and sell everything. If you're saying to yourself, I would advise you to find an alternative home for the items. I see garage sale syndrome a lot. For some people, a garage sale does work, but for most it's simply an excuse not to act. While garage sales are a way to turn your things into cash, asked yourself if the mental, emotional, and time burden is worth it for you. If letting go as difficult, a garage sale, maybe difficult. Instead, find a charity to donate your items to, then schedule a pick up date at the soonest opportunity. 10. Avoid "Clutter Creep": Well, it takes time and energy to get rid of clutter. It also takes energy and consciousness to prevent our spaces from filling right back up again. Things that we fail to get rid of in the moment, even though we don't need them, also creates clutter. So here's some strategies that I've integrated into my life successfully. First one is have waste baskets, inconvenient areas. Before putting something in a closet on a shelf, droplet you don't need into a waste basket. But waste baskets in convenient locations around your home and use them regularly. Throw a junk mail as you're looking through it and think twice before you save another shopping bag. I mean, do you really need to add another empty bag to the closet full of NT bags you already have. Second, don't second guess yourself. When you feel like carrying out an empty jar, an item that is old and worn or a broken, unusable item. Don't even think twice about it, just do it. You'll save space and future clutter clearing. Next. By less. Adopting the daily mindset to buy less will help you avoid clutter. Think before you buy, especially when something is on sale or it's cheap. It might be a good deal, but do you really need it? If not, you're simply by more clutter. Don't even bring it into your home. Next, I suggest you shop from a list and don't shop just to shop as you'll inevitably end up getting something you don't need, which will eventually end up as clutter shop only when you need something, take a list and stick to it. The next strategy, one item in, one item out. If you bring home a new item, make sure you get rid of an old one. I have a donation bag on the floor of both my closing and haul closets. Anytime something you comes in, especially if it's replacing something old. I put the old item in the bag. When the bag is full, I take it to the donation center. This has worked really well for me for the last six years and I really encourage you to try it. Next. Say no to freebies. We all love the idea of getting something for free. But if the item doesn't truly have a value to it, then it's probably clutter. It will work against you as you work to make your space more efficient. 11. The Decluttering Ripple Effect: When I went through the process of decluttering my home, it also declared my mind and my emotions because I process the memories and attachment to my things. I found new meaning in my life as I went through my things and I felt more secure about my future. This clarity and focus helped me to declutter my relationship to food, naturally shedding my emotional eating habits, like my nightly must house of ice cream, cookies, and chocolate. When you clear the junk in your environment, you also clear patterns of behavior that have been holding you back. And the ripple effect influences multiple aspects of your life. Before you de-clutter, it's a good idea to commit to the endeavor with some idea of what you want in your life. If you do, you'll find that as you start to declutter, you may gain insight into your emotions and habits and you might even let go of some anxiety and uncertainty about the future. In my case, among other things, I gained the clarity that eating healthier is about more than the food. It's about feeling better and showing up in the world in a different way. When you gain control of your things, you literally gain control of your life. So ask yourself, does your life really reflect who you are? Is your house a reflection of your body, mind, and spirit? Or is it misaligned with your vision or UV, respecting your home and your body. What do you really want? The clearer you are about life, the more effective your clutter clearing will be. I hope this class gave you some useful insight about the things that you own and the things that you keep. I look forward to seeing your posts and your de-cluttering success stories.