Clutter is one of those overwhelming catch-22’s many of us deal with from time to time. Swimming in a sea of clutter makes it nearly impossible to focus on anything. And then the thought of clearing the clutter gets overthrown by anxieties and the lost feeling we get when we just don’t know where to start.

When we get honest with ourselves, the cause is clear. We aren’t keeping things tidy or putting things back where they belong when we are done with them. Many of us live by the “I’ll get to it later” phrase and sadly, later never comes. By the time we are submerged in a swamp of clutter and mess, it’s too late.

The damage is done, and any attempt at clearing the muck is only going to spread it instead of clear it. If any of this rings true for your life, implement the following steps to clear the overwhelming clutter.

Get Pumped!

If the mess has become so intimidating you have a hard time pinpointing where to start, you might need to get pumped up about this new project. Most of us don’t really get excited to clean, and if you do, this step will be a piece of cake – congrats!

If you are like the rest of us who can’t wrap our heads around the joys of cleaning up messes, try and look at this as a positive experience. What will you do with the new space you create?

Are you looking to impress someone else? Is the art of Feng Shui calling your name? Get excited! What you are about to embark upon is cleansing and revitalizing!

Find Your System

A simple search on the internet and you’re inundated with everyone’s advice on how to declutter. Do this or do that… they all have their respective methods which they swear by, and that’s fine. But what works for them may not be the best technique for you or your lifestyle.

If you want to go big, go big. If you want to start small, so be it. You could do a 52-week calendar and pick a different declutter chore for each week if that is something that will work for you. There is the 15-minute timer method where you nail a single project in 15-minute increments, daily, until it’s done.

If you want to go another 15 minutes one day, go for it. Or you could go for the gusto and spend a whole day or weekend working on a project. Whatever is right for you. Remember, this is your plan. The most important thing to remember is to stick with it. Don’t allow for excuses and make this a habit.

Stay Focused

While you’re in there chucking things to the left and the right, remember to stay focused on the task at hand. You’ll undoubtedly run into a pickle that could have you running from room to room putting things back where they go, where you’ll see more mess that could just take a second to clear.

If you lose your focus, you’re going to chase your tail and feel like nothing is being accomplished.

Here’s a trick – Use a bucket or laundry basket to put all the things in that don’t belong in the space you are working in at the moment. Redistribute the items in the bucket to their appropriate places when you’re finished. Only allow yourself to visit the other rooms at the end of your decluttering session so you avoid the distractions.

Avoid a Repeat

Clutter is sometimes inevitable, especially if you’re not the only person in a household or you share office space. However, your space doesn’t have to look like an episode of Hoarders before you do something about it. Get everyone in the shared space on the same page.

Let them know what you expect for this space and show them where things go. If you are the only person bringing in the clutter, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable.

You’ve spent all this time decluttering this overwhelmingly messy area, pushing yourself to make this space presentable and something you are proud of. Don’t allow “later” to manipulate you into inviting the chaos and clutter right back in the front door.

Decluttering your life can be so energizing. It revives spaces that were once engulfed in heaps of odds and ends. When the tangled mess becomes overwhelming, don’t throw in the towel and let the mountain of muck defeat you!

Get motivated and find the system that works for you. Then get in there and get busy!