Let’s face it, it’s never going to feel like a good time to tackle the clutter in your garage. Or your attic. Or your basement. Or your store room.
These are Big Jobs.
Overwhelming jobs. Jobs that get put off until a long weekend, or until the clutter tumbles out and pins you to the ground.
But guess what? This month, we’re all about the Big Jobs. Because as annoying as it is, tackling them now is infinitely better than freaking out in November and rushing to get the house in order before the holiday season.
Please Note: Many of you are in the middle of summer (for which I am extremely envious) and you may be tempted to say, “Why would I waste my time decluttering when I could be enjoying the sunshine?” But instead think of this as the last time you will ever have to face an overflowing basement full of stuff. Because this is the summer that your home and your life changes for the better.
To jump straight into the challenge, you can download the July checklist here. Or keep reading to find the full list, as well as added tips and suggestions below.
(If you haven’t started the challenge yet, it’s never too late to join. Click here to find the first seven checklists, as well as the Slow Your Home forums, where many of us are keeping track of our decluttering efforts.)
This will be quick, because my progress was exactly zero this month.
Aside from a quick rifle through the toys, I didn’t declutter a thing.
This was partly due to the fact that June was a personally tumultuous month, where I fell off the simplicity wagon. But it’s also partly due to the fact that we have decluttered virtually every area of our home, and much of what remains has been intentionally chosen.
In other words, we’re coming to a point where simplifying won’t have to be a constant goal any more. I can’t tell you how exciting that is!
So for the remainder of the year, and the 2013 in 2013 Challenge, I’ll have to work quite hard to find enough items to declutter. But that’s part of the challenge, I guess. To be challenging!
So it’s on to this month’s checklist.
July is the Month of Big Jobs
After 6 months of decluttering, you have enough experience and have strengthened your decision-making muscles to the point where you can tackle the garage, attic, basement, or any other big storage area you may have.
Overwhelmed just thinking about it?
Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
Before you begin, just know that this – despite all your best intentions – will not be the last time you tackle these areas. It will be the most difficult and the biggest, but it won’t be the last.
As you continue to simplify, your ideas of ‘enough’, ‘need’ and ‘just in case’ will shift. Over time, you will need less and want less, but that takes time.
So for now, know it won’t be perfect, know you won’t get it all done, and start anyway.
The July Declutter Checklist
- sentimental items – ask yourself if keeping them in a box is doing these items justice
- baby items – if you’ve finished having babies, don’t hold on to this stuff anymore. Keep a special outfit or toy if you want to, then pass the rest on.
- childhood items – nominate ONE box per person to keep mementoes in. A special baby outfit, photos, drawings, school work, etc. ONE box per person, at the most.
- unused gifts and just in case items – if you haven’t used or needed them since they’ve been in storage, then chances are you can get rid of them. Otherwise, consider making use of them.
- photographs – at this stage, to be honest, you should leave photos alone. It is a huge project of its own, and one you will do justice once you’ve simplified other areas of your life.
- Loose items on shelves or floor – if it gets used, find a place for it, otherwise it goes.
- Tools/Equipment – if these items haven’t been used in 12 months, get rid of them.
- garden tools
- recreational gear
- hobby equipment
- old paints, chemicals
- cleaning equipment
- Clothes in storage
Tips for Tackling Big Jobs
- Choose the easiest space to start with. Empty the space as much as you can and clean down the surfaces. Then, container by container, piece by piece, work through the items.
- Challenge yourself to see how many storage boxes you can rid yourself of.
- Store like items together once you’ve finished decluttering – it will make the follow-up much easier.
I’d love to hear how you’re finding the challenge. Does the prospect of tackling the big jobs make you nervous? Overwhelmed? Tired? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.