As much as I love to tour and look at new homes, the one thing I’ll never do is build a house from scratch. Ever.
Because I know that building a house requires A LOT of decisions to be made – from the design and style of the house, to the color of the cabinets, and everything in-between!
While I admire those who are able to endure the house-building process and all the decision-making it requires, it’s one task I know would be too overwhelming for me.
I also know that decision overwhelm isn’t limited to house-building. It can also occur on the journey to get organized. In fact, it’s one of the major reasons why clutter accumulates in our homes and lives in the first place.
Postponed Decisions = Clutter
Barbara Hemphill, a professional organizer and author of Taming the Paper Tiger and Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever, states it best when she says, “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.”
When we don’t know where to “house” an item, or aren’t sure whether we need to keep a particular piece of paper or not, then we become paralyzed in our decision making and do nothing. So we let the papers and the stuff accumulate in piles around our house until they become the daily clutter of our lives.
But what if there were a way to overcome the uncertainty of our decisions? What if we were able to overcome our decision fatigue and our clutter as well?
3 Ways to Make Decisions
I’ve discovered 3 ways to help make the decision process a bit easier and want to share them with you:
1. Reduce or eliminate options. We live in a world that provides us with endless amounts of options for us to choose from. If you’ve ever eaten at The Cheesecake Factory you know what I mean. The menu is so overwhelming it takes 10 minutes just to read through it and make a selection! I’d much rather go to a restaurant that has smaller choice offerings.
The same is true with our organizing.
Rather than focus on the myriad of options you can do with a particular piece of paper, give yourself a few options to choose from. You can either file it, trash/shred/recycle it, act on it, or give it to someone else to deal with. That’s it.
When we only have to chose from a few options then we are more likely to act and less likely to postpone decisions, and therefore reduce our tendency for clutter.
2. Set deadlines. If you are constantly postponing your decision-making by saying: “I’ll deal with that later”, then you know that later never seems to happen.
Rather than put off the inevitable, set a reasonable deadline for making a decision. Instead of saying to yourself, “I don’t know what to do so I’ll make a decision later,” tell yourself, “I will make a decision about this in (15 mins, 1 hour, or 1 day)” and then honor that time boundary.
Time limitations don’t have to be a hinderance. In fact, like most boundaries, they are actually freeing. Try to set deadlines with your decision-making and see what a difference it can make with your clutter.
3. Establish routines. If you have a set route you drive everyday to work, then you know that after awhile you’re driving on auto-pilot. You don’t have to think and make decisions about how you’re going to get to work because you drive the same way every day. You’ve established a driving routine.
Set routines can also help with your efforts to reduce your clutter.
For example, if you have a routine for checking the mail or a routine for where you place your items when you come home, then you don’t have to make decisions about how you’re going to deal with the mail or where you’re going to put your keys. Your brain and your body have been programmed to know what to do, so you act accordingly. You don’t have to think too much or make decisions. You just do it.
While some people find routines stifling, they can make the decision-making process simpler and less stressful. You don’t have to operate like a robot, but a few routines with your daily habits can have a big impact on your home and your life.
Don’t let decision fatigue keep you overwhelmed and in chaos! Implement these 3 strategies and see how it can improve your home, your life and your organizing efforts!
Do you suffer from decision fatigue?
Which of these 3 tips can you start implementing to overcome the delayed decisions and the clutter?
Leave a comment and let me know!