Breast cancer survivor and clutter clearing author learns to walk her talk

Clutter clearing cancer coping author and motivational speaker We can learn to live our priorities fully (and not just surviving or getting by on a day to day basis) by clearing out the distractions and focusing on what is important to each of us, our families, and our lives. Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools: We'll get you through this by Barbara Tako, two-time cancer survivor and published author and motivational speaker on the topic of clutter clearing. For updates on this new book, click here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Winter Clutter Clearing Motivation

During the holidays when it is cold out and the snow may be piled high at the end of the driveway, it is a great time to get motivated to get rid of clutter and get organized. This can be an introspective time of year. As long as we are spending more time in our homes right now, why not make them as pleasant and nurturing for ourselves and our guests as possible?

One winter I found motivation in Donna Smallin's book Organizing Plain & Simple (Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA, 2002).  Her book motivated me to get back to the basics. A good way to get started is to read a new-to-you clutter clearing and home organizing book or reread a favorite. Donna Smallin's book is well organized and concise. You can work through your home with her room by room as you read each chapter. Or, you can use her Table of Contents or Index to quickly get ideas to tackle specific concerns like kids' rooms or home offices.

What helps to motivate clutter clearing besides books? Take a field trip to an organizing store. Seeing the products that are out there might motivate you to go home and deal with some of your clutter. Please don't buy anything, though, until you've gotten rid of the clutter and you know exactly what you need to organize the rest.

For another motivator, try a reward. Preferably not shopping to bring more clutter home to organize...But, how about a new organizing product, a movie, or a massage or pedicure? By taking care of your home, you are taking care of everyone else who lives there, so it is fair to reward yourself too.

Another way to motivate yourself is to plan a dinner or a party in your home. This creates a deadline for you to take care of that clutter. Some of us work better with a little pressure. If that is your style, go for it! If that isn't your style, skip the stress.

Getting help could also motivate you. Enlist children, spouse, partner, friend, or professional organizer ( is the website to find members of the National Association of Professional Organizers). If you know someone is coming to help you, you are going to be more likely to make some progress.

You could also try to motivate yourself with the "just do it" technique. Get rid of the perfectionism and procrastination. Set the timer for fifteen minutes and tackle something. Many tasks aren't as difficult as we make them in our heads, and they don't take as long to do as we think they will either. Every little step can help make your home more comfortable and free up your time and energy for other things.

Remember that clutter clearing and home organizing is a process--not a "once and done" activity. The contents of any home are a function of the season, your life stage, and your current hobbies and interests. It doesn't happen overnight, but it does get better little by little. You can do this! Be stubborn. Keep going even when mistakes happen or things backslide and back up on you. Who is going to win here? You or your stuff? You are, of course!