Monday, November 10, 2014

Staying Motivated

Can you see our love for tubs in an effort to organize/hide all our stuff?

The tricky thing about getting rid of clutter for me is motivation.  I'll have good days where I feel I've accomplished a lot towards our goal of owning less things - numerous postings on Craig's List, bags ready and waiting for a charity pickup, closets that have been thinned out and reorganized.  But then there are those days where I look around and feel completely overwhelmed by the task at hand.  How will I ever get rid of everything in the basement?  We're planning on building our small house without a basement because of expense and because basements are great collectors of stuff.  Don't know what to do with something "Oh, just put it in the basement." you'll say until that basement becomes so full and you'll wonder what happened.  Now, I finally have to deal with all those things that got stored away down there because we didn't want to deal with them at the time.

So back to figuring out how to stay motivated.  What I do is figure out what I can do to contribute to our goal each day, but not how much I will contribute.  Meaning anything that I do to get rid of stuff is good and is enough for that day no matter how small of an action I take.  This may seem like a minor point and I didn't really get how much the distinction matters for years, but finally it clicked.  If you say "I'm going to clean out this closet today." you've set yourself a expectation of completing your task and if you don't, and let's face it stuff does happen to take you away from your task, you end up feeling disappointed in yourself.  To change it around I now say "I'm going to work on cleaning out that closet today." I've still set an expectation of cleaning out the closet but not how much I expect to get done.  See, even if I spend as little as 5 minutes working on sorting out that closet I've accomplished what I set out to do and thus feel better about myself. This distinction between what and how much is something I learned from my husband.  He would never commit to getting a project done in a certain amount of time because he knows you can't know what is going to happen along the way so why set yourself up.  Honestly, I used to find it maddening until I realized he didn't get as stressed, frustrated or worked up as I did when working on house projects and wouldn't I be better off not feeling those emotions?

I try not to take days off from downsizing either as they usually make me feel guilty and degrade my motivation.  There are days I just don't have it in me to tackle some areas of our house, but I try to find something, anything really, so that at the end of the day I can feel I contributed to our goal.  If the basement is too scary, and let's face it it often is, I'll clean out a single drawer of clothes, renew a few listings on CL, schedule a charity pickup or throwout some old paperwork or magazines in the recycling.  Nothing monumental for sure but it does keep my momentum going and it's the moving forward that really keeps me on task.  On the flip side there will be days where I'm on fire and get tons done, but I try to just be grateful for them and not set them as a standard to live up to everyday.  We'll get to our goal as they say one day at a time.

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