Backsliding Happens—How to Get Back on Track

timer-with-handCan you relate to this scenario? You’d been really good about keeping up with clutter and then came the holidays. Things got scooped up and hidden in closets instead of being put in their proper places. Since the New Year you haven’t even tried to tidy — you’ve been leaving items here, there and everywhere.

BACKSLIDING is a common occurrence and can be rectified relatively easily.  Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself and remember this is a temporary phase. We all slip back into less desirable habits at times but that doesn’t mean we will stay in that place. Think about how great you felt when you were keeping up; focus on those good feelings and the results.
  1. Play Beat the Clock. Set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much you can clean up before time is up. Make this part of your daily routine — in the morning or evening. On the weekend or when you have extra time, you can play for the 15 minutes and then decide if you want to continue decluttering or stop. You’ll be surprised by how often you want to go on!
  1. Beat the bushes. Again, on the weekend or when you have extra time, take those bags and boxes of jumbled, hidden clutter out of the closet, one at a time. Put items back in their assigned homes. Open old mail and recycle, shred, file or act on it, according to what’s appropriate.
  1. Can’t beat this reminder. IT’S EASIER TO KEEP UP THAN TO CATCH UP! Keeping this saying in mind, process your mail — daily at a minimum or weekly at a maximum. Be consistent playing Beat the Clock to keep clutter at bay.

By following these guidelines, I guarantee the next time you have company or want to clean up, you’ll quickly be able to deal with the minimal clutter. By putting items in their assigned homes, you will save time and eliminate angst.

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Ellen Tozzi

About Ellen Tozzi

Ellen Tozzi is a Greater Philadelphia professional organizer with Natural Order based in Lawrenceville, NJ.
Visit Ellen Tozzi's website
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