Next week, we’ll start tackling our physical clutter (yay!), but before we jump in, I have two more tasks that I think would be good for us to complete.
1) Create a vision board for what we want our home and lives to look like.
I’ve actually never created a vision board before, but I do believe that the more we focus on and visualize our goals, the more successful we’ll be in achieving them.
To do this, we’ll carefully gather images and text that represent the kind of home and life we want to create. I say “carefully” because I believe visualization is powerful, and we want to be sure we’re focusing on what we really want to create. If you don’t love it, don’t add it to your board.
Personally, I am a tactile, paper person. For some reason, I just operate better when I can hold something in my hands, but if you are a computer person you can create something online. There are a couple free websites called Picmonkey and Canva where you can make collages.
Whatever method you choose, be sure to keep your vision board in a prominent place where you can see it everyday. I love taping things to my bathroom mirror because I can see it everyday and it’s private (not that we have many people over because I’m embarrassed by our clutter!), but you could also display it in your office, on your fridge, or as your computer or phone background.
This article recommends keeping your vision board on your nightstand, which is a great idea, and something I’ll probably try so I can focus on it at both the beginning and end of each day. It also recommends trying to avoid creating a cluttered board so we don’t attract more chaos and clutter to our lives (we definitely don’t want that!).
2) The second task is going to be to carefully guard our thoughts and words, especially what we say to and about ourselves while we declutter.
I’m very guilty of this. Actually, in the post I wrote announcing the declutterathon I even did it. I called myself a slob.
We need to be careful of what we think and say because those things will become our reality. Beating ourselves up with mean names or comments like, “How can you live like this?” “You should be embarrassed,” “Why don’t you have your life more together,” will only cause us to feel even more defeated and overwhelmed than we already do. How could anyone be successful is they had to listen to someone yelling negative messages at them all day long nonstop?
I know it’s easier said than done. I’ve struggled with this multiple times, but I did finally succeed regarding one sensitive subject simply by not allowing myself to have those thoughts anymore. If a negative thought popped into my head I would immediately say (sometimes out loud!), “No, I’m not going to think that,” and I would start concentrating on something else. In the beginning, those negative thoughts would fight hard to get back in. I felt like my mind was at war with itself, but the more I focused on positive thoughts the less the negative ones came to mind. Eventually, I realized one day that I hadn’t had those negative thoughts in a while, which was a very pleasant surprise.
I had previously felt powerless to my thoughts, but that experience taught me that we can choose what we dwell on. We can choose to allow our minds to speak about ourselves in ways we’d never allow a friend or stranger to speak, or we can treat ourselves how we deserve to be treated, with love, respect, patience, grace, and understanding.
Obviously, given my “slob” comment, I have yet to master the positive self talk when it comes to my home and clutter, but I also haven’t tried before. It didn’t really dawn on me how often I did it until I started this process, but that’s changing now.
From now on, I’m not a slob. I’m a work in progress. I’m taking small steps everyday to create the home I want, and I’m succeeding. I’m setting a great example for my children and showing them that a lifetime of bad habits can be changed with hard work and determination. I’m helping them to have better habits so they can have organized, happy homes.
On the days that I fail to do any decluttering I’ll give myself grace. Life happens and loves to get in the way, and that’s okay. My house didn’t get this way overnight, and it won’t be solved that quickly either. There are more important things than decluttering afterall, and I’ll just get started again the next day.
On the days when I do a lot, I won’t beat myself up about how much there’s still left to do. I’ll celebrate the progress and maybe even look back at my before pictures so I can truly appreciate it.
I hope this preparatory week has been helpful for you. I know it can kind of feel like a slow, unproductive start when we’re revved up to declutter, and little in our environment actually changes, but I think this week will help us get through the next 25. When we need a boost or some inspiration we can look at our before pictures, reread our questionnaires, recite our positive affirmations, look at our vision boards, and share with one another online. It’s all about slow and steady progress towards our long term goal of a more organized home and life.
I’ll be back Sunday to share my questionnaire answers and reflections from this week, but I’d love to hear some of the positive things you’re going to start saying to yourself or what you’ll be including on your vision board.