Decluttering Cure

Here’s One (Nearly) Painless Way to Get Rid of a Big Cluttered Mess

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)
(Image credit: Kath Nash)

There’s a hard way and an easy way to deal with a big mess of clutter. The hard way is trying to commit to tackling it all at once, mentally planning for a weekend project you know will never come, as you once again sit and dawdle and tell yourself it’ll be easier when the weather’s better, or when things aren’t as crazy in your life.

The easy way is to chip away at the mess, little by little until it’s in a good place.

I say “in a good place” (instead of “spotless”) because truthfully, you need to have a place at home where you can cultivate a bit of a mess. Messes are good for the soul. But they need to be manageable.

Chances are, you have an UNmanageable mess at home right now. It might be a closet, or your attic, or the basement, or a space under your bed. It used to be a spot where you could clear your head while you muddied your home, but now it’s a bonafide “Monster Zone.”

We’re going to use this September Sweep decluttering program to slay our home’s clutter monster little by little, all month long.

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Today’s Assignment:

Identify your monster zone and remove three things from it.

Identifying your monster zone might come easy; if you read the lead-in to this assignment with a particular mess pictured in your mind, that’s your monster. If not, what you’re looking for is an area of your home where you’re most naturally and instinctively likely to drop something that doesn’t have a dedicated home. You can use the gadget test to steer you in the right direction.

The gadget test: Say you opened up a brand new gadget and wanted to store the box it came in… where would you put it? That spot is your clutter monster.

So step one is to identify your monster. Then step two is to remove three things from it. Just three things! Open a box, dig into a drawer—do whatever you need. Fnd three items (big or small) that you don’t really need anymore, and send them on to their next life via the “sell” and “donate” boxes we set up on day one, or even just the trash or recycling bin.

If you’re struggling with what to get rid of, use the rules from yesterday’s assignment to help you stay brave and ruthless.

Every weekday for the rest of the September Sweep, we’re going to remove three more things from our monster zones. At the end of the month, our biggest messes will be almost 40 things lighter.

I’ll drop monster zone reminders into every post and assignment from here on out. All I need from you is your commitment to conquering this beast once and for all!

All month long, we invite you to share your progress here in the comments and on Instagram with the #septembersweep hashtag!

Check out all the assignments so far on the September Sweep 2018 Main Page.

(Image credit: Kath Nash)

Download the printable PDF calendar:
September Sweep 2018