Have you played the don’t look decluttering game lately? I was asked how to get rid of a bunch of stuff fast and my first thought was the Don’t Look Decluttering game. Anyone can play by cleaning out closets or cabinets, and it’s an easy-to-play game for people with too much stuff.
Clutter control can be emotionally and physically taxing because you have to make tough decisions. But this system, driven by four simple rules includes decluttering and removing junk while you clean up the mess without the emotional attachments that slow you down.
I Need to Declutter
In my house, I’ve got a huge bag of high-end expensive swimsuit fabric I never opened. Why? Well, I was going to use them to make racing suits – over a decade ago.
You see, growing up, I didn’t want to become a cleaning lady. I wanted to become a fashion designer. All through my teenage years, I designed one-of-a-kind clothing to trade and sell. I’ve been collecting fabric ever since.
Now, I’ve been a house cleaner for decades. In the 30 years I’ve been inside people’s homes, I’ve seen many different types of hoarding. And let me tell you: In 30 years, I have never met a stupid hoarder or a stupid clutterer.
Hoarders Are Not Stupid
These are people that are at the top of their game. They’re doctors, they’re dentists, they’re attorneys, they’re judges, they’re teachers, they’re computer programmers. These are people who are out in the marketplace, and they are super at what they do.
But one day they come home with a bunch of weird stuff they inherited from mom, or grandma, or they have a storage units of stuff. Sometimes, they also inherit a house when their parents die. They now have clutter with no idea how to get rid of it.
Let’s Play Don’t Look Decluttering
In your regular lives, there may be rules and parameters and boundaries. But then you come home and the rules disappear. If you find yourself coming home to clutter, I have the perfect game for you.
We’re going to play the Don’t Look Decluttering Game, and there are four rules to the game. If you follow these four rules, it will make getting rid of stuff easy.
Know What Clutter You Have
The first rule is you have to know what’s inside the box or bag you want to discard.
I know that inside my bag, there’s a bunch of swimsuit fabric. I haven’t opened it, but I know if I do, the emotional attachment I have to this is going to take me back in time. I’ll think “Oh, that’s awesome fabric, right?” But I don’t want to get reattached. That’s an obstacle that stops us from decluttering.
So I have to be aware of what’s inside so I know what it is I’m tossing. That’s the first rule.
Does The Stuff Belong to You?
The second rule is it has to belong to you. I know if this belongs to me, no one else is going to have their feelings hurt if I get rid of it.
Now the exception to that is if you have a parent, for example, who has Alzheimer’s. They are never going to be able to make the decision to get rid of this box or bag on their own. So if it belongs to you or someone in your care, then you can keep playing.
Have You Used It in the Last Two Years?
The third rule is, have you used this item in the last two years or longer?
There might be a box at the back of your closet where you put all your winter clothes with a plan to use them again. You put the box at the back of the closet, never thought about it, and now it’s been five years.
You’re not going to wear the clothes since you haven’t in five years. You’re not going to miss them. So we know that you can get rid of them, right?
It goes back to having rules in your regular life and being a super smart person. You just haven’t transferred that smartness to your stuff yet. So that’s the goal of this game – to make rules for your stuff.
Can You Replace It If Need Be?
The last rule is can you replace the item if you need to?
For example, if I need a new racing suit, can I get one somewhere else? The answer is yes. There are lots of sports stores around. I can go buy one for $30 or $40. It would take me longer than $40 worth of my time to sit down and create one from scratch. I would have to cut the pattern, sew it together, make sure it fit, tailor it and stuff, right?
So, why do that when I can get one for less money than would take me to make it? The racing suits are not worth the cost of the clutter.
So, the last question is can you replace it if need be? If the answer is yes, get rid of it.
Keep Playing the Don’t Look Decluttering Game
So rule number one, you must know what’s inside. Rule number two, it must belong to you. Rule number three, you have not used in two years or longer. And rule number four, you can replace the item if needed.
So, as you go through your stuff, go to the closet that has all your high school books. You might say, “Wow, it’s been 40 years since I was in high school.” So you know what’s in that box, right? High school books. Then you ask yourself the question, do they belong to me? Yes, they do. So you can get rid of them.
The next question is, have I used them in two years or longer? No, it’s been 40 years since you used those books. And if you needed the information again, could you replace it? Yes, there are updated textbooks and the Internet with easier access and no storage.
Donate Your Stuff Saturdays
Now that we’re play the game, we’re going to start grabbing boxes and bags of stuff inside the house. We’re going to get rid of them, and we’re going to get rid of them by Saturday.
We have a Hoarding World support group, and you do not have to be a hoarder to take part – come on over and join us. Members will donate or toss stuff every single week by Saturday. We take pictures of it, post it in our group with the hashtag #IWasHere, and our friends clap and cheer.
Gain an Attachment to Decluttering, Not Stuff
It gives us that dopamine high, not of shopping or hanging on to old stuff and memories, but in decluttering. And then all our friends are like, “oh, check it out! Look at all this stuff you got rid of.”
So we flip of the script because instead of having attachments to stuff, we are now attached to letting go. We have an attachment to freedom and the extra space in our homes.
I hope you play the Don’t Look Decluttering Game with me. It’s super fun. And it’s going to clear up a lot of space in your home. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hoardingworld
Reclaim Your Life From Hoarding: Practical Strategies for Decluttering Your Home – https://amzn.to/35R1zIU
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things – https://amzn.to/2SXEeme
Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding – https://amzn.to/364zyxT
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Therapist Guide – https://amzn.to/3jdbUqn
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Workbook – https://amzn.to/3wUQse7