Have you seen the bumper sticker “Hot Mess Express” on cars? I’ve been seeing a lot of those stickers and can definitely relate. Honestly, I could be a billboard for the hot mess express for decluttering.
It was the dreaded comment that I had been expecting. My husband says to me, “The kitchen table has been really messy for a while now. Can you clean it off so we can start eating there instead of the living room?”
He had been very patient about it but had grown tired of the ‘mountain of clutter’ hijacking his kitchen table.
Yes, the kitchen table had become a drop off point for anything and everything. It was covered with piles of mail, papers to be filed, school supplies, Amazon items to return, craft projects, birthday cards to mail, books and clothes to give away. Of course, I had told myself every day that I would tackle it but never did. All of these things were my responsibility to sort through and handle, but I just kept ignoring them.
In other areas of my life, I’m extremely organized and very productive. However, when it comes to decluttering the house, I can be a domestic disaster. Both my mom and mother-in-law have tidy homes and are domestic divas. Not me. Maybe the domestic gene skips a generation!!!
Decluttering the kitchen table (and other areas of my house) had become so overwhelming that I ignored it.
Does that ever happen to you? You have great intentions but taking action is hindered by feeling so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start.
In that state of overwhelm, we will often shut down and ignore the issue. Taking action just seems too hard, so we just keep traveling on the road of least resistance.
Since my family tries to always eat dinner together, the kitchen table is a place that is important for all of us to connect. Using our dining room table wasn’t an option because it had become a station for legos and army men, so our dinner time was spent in the living room.
With my husband’s love language being acts of service, I knew that it was important to him to have the kitchen table back for its intended purpose. My kids were also complaining about the table and had grown tired of eating dinner in the living room.
Even knowing all this was not enough to motivate me. I was still ignoring the task and secretly hoping the decluttering fairy would appear.
I’m consistently telling my kids that procrastination is not your friend especially with schoolwork. Now I needed to practice that advice myself - #momhypocrite.
So if decluttering overwhelms you too, I completely understand. Let me give you some encouraging tips that helped me.
My Simple Decluttering Plan:
1. Ask for accountability. I’m in a mom’s group that asks us to write down our weekly goals and then give a check-in at the end of the week. I posted that I wanted to be held accountable for this project. Now that I had posted it, I was then motivated to complete the task so I could give a positive report at the end of the week.
2. Start small. I mentally divided the kitchen table into tasks and made the decision to just work on one task area for 5 minutes. That may not seem like a lot in the beginning, but 5 minutes of work every day for 5 to 10 days consistently will make a HUGE difference.
3. Set the timer. If your brain knows that you only have to work on the task for 5 minutes, you can crush the overwhelm feeling and get to work. Most likely, you will still want to keeping working when the timer goes off, but it’s your choice.
4. Play motivating music. I have a play list on my Alexa that always gets me moving (and grooving). I certainly can’t say that decluttering is fun but it’s much better with upbeat music.
5. Plan a reward. Give yourself extra motivation, by planning a reward if you complete your entire project. What is something special that you can give yourself for taking action and completing the task?
I’m happy to report that my kitchen table is free of clutter and back to being used for family dinners. My original goal was to work on it 5 minutes a day for 5 days, but I completed it in 2 days. Yay!!!
It’s so interesting that once we get into the project, it’s not as bad as we thought. Seeing results (no matter how small) gives us momentum to keep moving forward.
Grab Our Free Resource for Cultivating Real Connections to Jesus, Others, and Yourself.
This free download includes:
1. Personalized Prayers for Positive Change
2. Roadmap to Creative Connection
3. Mind Full Eating