Today is the first day of our 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge. Hopefully by now you have downloaded your workbook, set your goals and mapped out what areas you will do over the next 40 days. If you haven’t signed up yet, use this link to access the workbook: Click Here to Sign Up
I focused my first day on my mental clutter. Instead of filling a trash bag, I filled my email trash. While it is a virtual trash bag, it was a huge accomplishment! I am down to four active emails.
For those of you who came to my kick-off workshop I talked about the Five Places for Paper. I used the same rules for my emails to clear the clutter.
- Calendar: Don’t keep a piece of paper or email just for the event information. Decide if you are going, give the appropriate response and mark your calendar. Add any details you may need to your appointment. Use your calendar as your guide, not the piles of paper.
- Task List: If the paper or email is your reminder to do something use your task list instead to record the information. Refer to that list regularly and make appointments on your calendar to accomplish the task. If you have too many papers or emails you will lose site of the important tasks.
- Contacts: If you are saving a piece of paper or email for the contact information, put it in your address book or digital contacts and get rid of it.
- File: If you think you may need to refer to the paper or email in the future file it. If it is an email archive it. Be realistic about how important that information is. Don’t just save it out of indecision. Only keep it if the information that is necessary in the future.
- Trash: Our mail and email gets filled with just plain junk. Maybe you are on a mailing list that is no longer important to you or you just get a lot of solicitations. Weed out the trash from the important immediately so you don’t miss something you really need in your piles.
It always feels better to see less by prioritizing what is most important. Visual clutter whether it objects, paper or email can seem worse than it actually is when you spend time dealing with it. I had close to 100 emails sitting in my inbox when I started. It seemed so overwhelming until I realized most of them were old news, already been replied to or just need a quick act to complete. In less than an hour they were cleared out because my mind was ready to deal with them and I had the goal to purge!
Please let me know how your first day went. Send me pictures, send me a note to brag, share with all of us on Facebook or Instagram. You have already accomplished something huge today just by starting!