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  • Writer's pictureZachP

#20. Continuing Step 4: Declutter To Relieve Stress And Earn Extra Income

Updated: Jan 22, 2023

I am on my second read through of a book by James Clear called Atomic Habits. A story that always stands out to me in the book is when he talks about a person who has a specific spot for everything in their house. This astonishes me.

Personally, we not only have junk drawers and cabinets, but we have corners designated for, “items I do not know what to do with.”

When I let my mind wonder on this dream scenario from the book, I envision getting to a point in my own life completely free of clutter. This vision of my life would look like the following.

The Vision

Before I buy an item, I would consider where in my house the item would go. If I did not have a place in my house for the item, I would either get rid of something to make room for it or not buy it at all. If I was gifted an item, I would use the same thought process. I would first consider where the specific spot in the house the item would go. Then, if there was not enough room for it, I would replace something else with it or re-gift or sell it to another person.

The gift part may sound cruel or ungrateful to some, but clutter is clutter no matter the source or good intentions behind the gift.

The Plan

As part of my seven-year time challenge, I am on step four: figuring out ways to make more money. As I wrote in a previous post in this series, we have other avenues we are exploring and updates on those plans will come. But, when I came across this story in Atomic Habits a second time, I thought to myself, “why not make a legitimate effort to pursue this lifestyle AND try to make some money at the same time?” This thought process is just one more benefit of becoming more self-aware of our personal finances.

As I have stated in this series, we want to make lasting changes. Hardcore life transitions hardly work, like choosing to only eat 1,500 calories a day to lose weight or going from a lazy person to a runner by running three miles a day. Because of this realization that dramatic transitions often fail, we are going to treat this goal to declutter like how we are trying to save money in step three in this time challenge.

We are going to go room-by-room figuring out where everything goes. Here is a more specific breakdown of our plan of attack:

First – Create a gameplan.

I am in the process of creating a weekly schedule for what areas/rooms I will declutter first. My rule is going to be that if I cannot find a spot I like for an item, I will either donate it/gift it/ or try to sell it.

Second – Give us a reasonable timeframe to get a room under control before moving on.

I do not plan on completing one room right after the other. I plan on completely decluttering a room, letting a week pass while purposely keeping up with that specific room, then moving on to the next room. This should give us the greatest chance of success in the long run.

Third – Actively try to sell the items designated as “sell” immediately.

This is a big one for me. Not because of wanting to make money immediately, but since I am a natural procrastinator. I will let an item that I want to donate sit in a corner for months and not think twice about it. I want to break this habit and start creating a new one. One way to do this is to make it a requirement that once we designate an item for sale, donate, or gift, we start the process of following through right away.

Fourth – Repeat until satisfied.

The plan will be to repeat this same procedure with each room, until we are satisfied with our progress. Also, I hope to share our “gameplan” once I finish it just in case it could benefit the next person.

Living a decluttered, waste-free lifestyle has always seemed out of reach. However, due to focusing on this seven-year time challenge, I am processing information differently. What once seemed almost impossible now seems possible because of being willing to put the right systems in place and not overwhelm myself with ridiculous changes in life chasing the quick fix (or the life “hack” people are always wanting).

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Oh, and since I have not said it for awhile, onward!

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