I want to take some time to "unpack" what each of these steps are and understand the energy behind decluttering, getting organized, and becoming more productive.
What do you tend to focus on?
If you’re a homeowner, you most likely tend to focus on one of these five: decluttering, organizing, being productive, cleaning, or decorating. And you’ll likely subscribe to and follow people (podcasters, bloggers, authors, etc.) who have the same focus as you.
For example, I’m focused primarily on organization and on having a home that is organized in a functional way. To become organized, you first need to declutter. When you have worked on organization, you then tend to start working on productivity. I focus on all three steps as I see them as interconnected, but you’ll rarely hear me talk about cleaning or decorating!
Let’s look at what I mean by these steps…
Decluttering is the act of reviewing a space and removing what no longer needs to be there.
Quite often, decluttering needs to be completed as a group/family activity. At the very least, you need input from your family members when it comes to deciding what to do with their items.
Decluttering is 70-90% physical and 10-30% mental. It becomes more of a mental exercise when you are dealing with items that are of emotional significance.
The mental aspect of getting started, Then the physical emptying out the space. Then comes the mental decision making on what to do with items. Back to physically buying and filling containers to use. And ending in mentally evaluating and reevaluating if the organization method you chose is the BEST for you.
Back and forth between mental and physical at a rate of 50/50.
Productivity is 10% physical and 90% mental. Being productive is largely a decision-making activity.
For example, if you decided that you wanted a new capsule wardrobe, you would spend 90% of your time working out the when, what, and how of it all. Then, the actual act of going out and buying what you want, after all the decisions have been made, would take just 10% of the overall time.
Cleaning is 100% physical. There is very little thought process involved. You know what needs to be cleaned and you, or someone else, needs to take action. The only mental aspect is often us trying to justify or avoid doing a task that just needs to be done! That is why it is the easiest item to delegate!
Decorating is something that I have so little experience with, I’m not even going to attempt to explain that one!
How this relates to energy cycles
Let me explain how energy cycles throughout the year ebb and flow and how they relate to home organization.
When people want to get organized, they often think they’ll start in January since it ties in with New Year’s resolutions.
In podcast episode 134, I explain how I believe we have 3 New Year’s Eve type energies during the year. One at the new year itself, then in April/May, and then again at the end-July/early-August. We get the feeling that we can do and accomplish anything as we start each new season.
In January, people start the year with an organizing energy. They want to get organized and start the year strong. But if they have not decluttered first, they end up feeling frustrated and can hit a roadblock quite early in January.
In the 100 Day Home Organization Program, the most successful people focus on decluttering first. In fact, they spend the first 100 days decluttering only and not organizing.
In the US, our organizing energy at New Year's can last for a long time. This is because it’s winter, we’re in the house a lot, and there are not too many other things competing for our energy.
This organizational energy lasts from January to March. It usually starts strong and by February and March, it starts to wane.
February & March
In February, there are very few social events for people in the US. You are home more in February than in any other month. People tend to turn to introspection. It’s a good time to organize your paper, file your taxes, undertake craft projects, and organize photos. This energy goes into March.
In March, when we have our first unseasonably warm day, something changes. We can see that spring is almost upon us and our energy switches. It’s an abrupt switch in energy – you suddenly want to clean your house!
The days are getting longer and you are ready to start getting out and doing things again.
Once you have had this new energy, even if the weather turns wintery again, you don’t want to be inside anymore. It’s a good time to pack up your craft projects.
In March, I run a family decluttering challenge. I encourage you to help your whole family get decluttered. This energy hits the whole household – you can capitalize on the energy of your whole family.
April & May
In April, the energy moves to organization. We have done cleaning. We have done decluttering. Now we want to organize.
Towards the end of May, you start to get a planning energy. You think about what you want to accomplish over the summer. Usually there is one big goal and a couple other smaller goals, too.
In June, there is a strong organizational energy. We get a lot of people asking for help with home organization in June.
July, August & September
July is often a time to spend enjoying your family, your friends, time to take a vacation, lots of sports. Not a lot of decluttering, organizing, or planning happens in July.
But as we move to August, we experience a lot of decluttering, organizing, and productivity energy. We are getting ready for the school year. There is more energy in August than there is at the start of the year. Even if you don’t have children, the new school year still gives us all a lot of energy.
When school starts in September, you are ready to organize. This is your best chance at getting organized and productive.
October - December
At this time of year, we start planning for the holidays.
Thanks to those of you who took part in my holiday blitz this past week!
Your focus is back to cleaning again. You want to clean before Thanksgiving and before you start putting those Christmas decorations up.
The energy that is coming in the last 6-7 weeks of the year will come in waves.
The energy will not be constant. The waves will come and you should ride them and not push them off. It’s harder to resist than to actually go and do what you want to do.
For example, you’ll get an urge to go clean a room, declutter the kids’ rooms, decorate, etc. Whatever it may be, you will find you have these urges. I recommend just acting on them.
It seems funny for me to be so specific with a date, but on December 22nd my blog traffic will double (like it has done for the past few years)!
I’ve realized that most of us start organizing on December 22nd. It’s when the kids are home for the holidays. Extended family start to arrive, if you are at home on the holidays. You are done with your holiday shopping, wrapping, etc. Most of the cleaning is done. You have time off work (with most jobs). It’s winter so you don’t want to be spending too much time outside. You will start to think about a home organization project that you could undertake. Family are around to help with decluttering. The focus is more decluttering than organizing at this time.
From December 22nd to January 1st, the decluttering energy turns into an organizational energy.
The 100 Day Home Organization Program
I open enrollment for my 100 Day Home Organization Program at certain times of the year for a reason. The timing is well thought through and I base it on the cycles and energies that I’ve discussed in this week’s podcast episode.
I’m pleased to let you know that the 100 Day Home Organization Program has just opened again (November 10-14). Click here to register. If you join now, you’ll start receiving the daily emails right away and you'll get the new and improved planner.
Remember, the 100 Day Home Organization Program is not just for Christmas, it’s a lifetime membership!
You can do the program again and again until your life has transformed. My goal is for you to live an organized life so you can spend your time doing what you love and pursuing your life purpose. What a great gift that would be, at Christmas or any time of year!