Is your household clutter about to drive you mad? Are you sick of looking at piles of stuff stacked up in corners of rooms, the basement, the attic, the garage, and even the backyard? If so, you’re one of the millions of homeowners who are ready to take action. It’s not enough to clench your fist, shake it at the nearest pile of clutter, and mutter in a murderous tone, “One of these days…”
Today is the day. Now is the time. You have reached the tipping point in the battle of the stuff, and you’re ready to engage with all your assembled will power, physical strength, and mental meanness. Before firing the first cannonball into the air, a brief meeting of the general is in order. It’s important to understand why the all-out assault system is the true path to victory. Your commanding officers and front-line troops need to be clued in on the operation. So, the first order of business is about the battle plan’s rationale. Yes, you can engage the enemy alone, but you stand a much higher probability of success if you enlist a spouse, children, friends, and neighbors who owe you a favor. Amass the fighters and give them the pep talk.
Why the 1-Weekend System Works
Why does Operation Clutter Gone in a Weekend work every time? Because it is ruthless, comprehensive, structured, and meticulously timed. You divide the house into strategic zones, rank them in order of their level of disgust, and attack the easiest targets first. If you work alone, you only need a single list of targets. If you’re lucky enough to have a crew, each fighter will have their own list of assignments, allotted time for completion, and appropriate supplies.
When you declare war on household clutter and commit to fighting to the end, you take full control of the situation and guarantee victory from the moment you begin. What does the face of the enemy look like? You’ll know the treacherous foes by their tell-tale characteristics and shape-shifting capabilities. One moment they resemble old shoes, clothes that haven’t been worn in months, broken and unused appliances, boxes full of papers that no one has looked at in years, computer parts that are technologically obsolete, books, kitchen gadgets by the thousands, and linens that smell of the 1980s.
The weekend battle plan works because it is single-minded and focused like a laser beam on the ugly accretion of extra objects that no one really needs or wants anymore. The system has a success rate of 100 percent.
Follow the Steps for Decluttering
Here’s the plan. Amend it as little as possible and only if you have to adapt it to your particular situation. Post the plan on your fridge so you can track your progress as the weekend progresses. You don’t have to follow the steps in order, but be sure not to skip any of them. Your mission is to have a clutter-free home by Sunday evening. Begin on Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast. Good luck.
- Make a detailed checklist of battle sites: Spend no more than 30 minutes on this pre-assault task. Make one page per room in your home, and divide each room into clutter-prone areas. Some rooms might have no clutter while others have many. List the location of each area, drawer, cabinet, a corner full of boxes, basket, etc.
- Do an equipment check: You’ll need a large plastic trash can, either standard or jumbo size. Remember that you’ll be emptying and relining it several times per day, so 13-gallon bins work nicely. Have plenty of trash bags on hand, a pair of work gloves, a flashlight, and a large box labeled “sell.” If you have a large house, carry a water bottle so you won’t have to make numerous trips to the kitchen for fuel.
- Do the easiest chores first: Start by removing excess stuff on a “reverse severity” scale, cleaning out the smallest, easiest-to-deal-with areas first. A small bathroom is an ideal place to begin and will rev up your sense of confidence. Bring your giant plastic trash receptacle with you, positioning it just outside the doorway. Remember: this is NOT a cleaning session; it’s about decluttering. Ignore dirty mirrors, toilet bowls, floors, and fixtures. That’s another fight for another day.
- Take short breaks once per hour: This is a marathon so you need to stay hydrated, well-nourished, rested, and fresh. At the top of every hour, drink some water or just sit down and relax for a few minutes. War is hell.
- Don’t waste time reading or reminiscing: Don’t fall into the trap, as you move from room to room, of reading through papers, looking at old snapshots, or reliving old memories that some items might evoke. Make fast, executive decisions about whether to toss or keep each thing you evaluate. If it has economic value and might sell quickly in an online auction, place it into a separate box labeled, “Sell.” Otherwise, just trash each item or leave it where it is.
- Empty the trash container each time it becomes full: Don’t over-stuff the trash bin. Stop and remove the plastic liner, tie it off, and set it in your garage or backyard every time you hit maximum capacity.
- Eat lunch at your regular time: After about four hours of work, stop and eat a nutritious lunch. Avoid junk food and sugary stuff that might make you tired. Have a cup of coffee, a piece of fruit, and a sandwich. You need to stay lean and mean to face the enemy in the afternoon. Heroes don’t take naps!
- Stop when you are about halfway finished: This is a two-day job and now that you’re in a groove, tomorrow will be much easier. For starters, Sunday won’t include the list-making time, assembling equipment, and other first-day tasks. You’ll begin on Sunday exactly where you left off Saturday evening. Don’t forget to eat breakfast before you start, take time for lunch, and finish up before eating your victory dinner on Sunday night.
It’s Over. Victory is Yours.
Unorganized homes lead to unorganized mental states. This fact has been proven by actual research performed by professional people wearing lab coats. Getting rid of your clutter will change our attitude, outlook on life, and quite possibly make you a happier, healthier person. To prevent future wars, organize your storage space and clean out all the areas that the clutter occupied. Lack of storage space, or lack of a desire to store things, is one of the most common causes of cluttered living spaces.