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Maintain your decluttering resolutions

A man using self-storage to keep his home clutter-free
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How are your new year’s resolutions going?

Using new year’s resolutions to improve your world is a really common tactic. We’re often a bit bored and a bit broke in January, which makes it a good time to work at improving our living space. But by the end of the month, many people are disappointed by their progress. So we thought a quick pep-talk would get you back on track.

Look at your successes first

Rather than beating yourself over the head with failed resolutions, check in with the tasks that you have done, and the habits that you have successfully maintained. How do they make you feel? And how are they different from the resolutions that you’ve fallen behind with? For example, have you done well with one-off tasks, but failed to keep up a habit? Or are your newly acquired habits rewarding in themselves, rather than a bit drudgy.

Use what you know about your successes to adjust your failed resolutions so they are more appealing and easier to take on.

What to do if real life has got in the way of your plans for a tidy home

It happens. Bad weather stops you going to the tip or to your storage unit. Minor illness (not to mention the pandemic) leaves you feeling too blah to crack on with project tidy-up.

Did you know that willpower – which you do need to keep up a resolution – is now considered to be a finite resource? This means that willpower you’ve used dragging yourself to work when you are under the weather is willpower that you no longer have when you need to avoid buying a chocolate bar. So if you’ve fallen behind through illness, give yourself a break, and certainly don’t waste energy beating yourself up about it.

In a work environment, missing a target may have dire consequences. But this is your personal life, and it’s fine to pick yourself up and make a more manageable target for February.

Check that your resolutions are SMART

Successful resolutions are often those that work towards a target. SMART is a mnemonic that is commonly used by coaches to help with setting targets, making resolutions and achieving goals. It stands for:

  • S tated – this means that your target can be described in a couple of sentences.
  • M easurable – this means that you can tell when you’ve successfully achieved your goal.
  • A ctionable – this means that you have decided what steps you will be taking to reach your target.
  • R ealistic – this means that your goal is doable with the resources and timeframe that you have.
  • T imed – this means that you’ve set yourself a deadline and set aside some time for working towards your target.

Check your resolutions against this list. Do you need to give yourself a bit more time? Have unexpected complications come up? Or can you stretch yourself a bit to make it more interesting?

You may want to break some of your resolutions down into even smaller chunks. For example, you resolved to put some of your seasonal domestic goods into storage but they are still sitting in your hall. What’s stopping you from moving them on? Perhaps you know you should shop around to get the best priced storage company but stalled when you realised that they don’t make it easy to compare monthly prices of self-storage. We’ve actually got a blog post to help with costing up storage and a blogpost about choosing the best storage company. A good SMART resolution might be to read those blogposts this afternoon during your tea break and set your next target based on what you’ve read.

Ask for help with a difficult resolution

If you keep putting a task off, consider whether you have the resources, the skills and the confidence to complete it. If you don’t, think where you can get help. This might mean:

Do you need some motivation to keep you on track?

A decluttered living space with DIY tasks all complete is intrinsically rewarding in itself – but the process itself may be physically and emotionally uncomfortable. So you may need some extrinsic rewards to motivate yourself. For example – once the dining room table is clear, I will bake a batch of brownies.

Resolutions: they’re not just for January

We hope these ideas will help you to push forward with your decluttering resolutions.