WHAT YOU CAN GET DONE IN 10, 20 OR 30 MINUTES
Your clutter doesn't have to mount up. Even if does, it doesn't have to paralyze and overwhelm. You can tackle it minutes at a time, which is a lot more palatable than hours at a time. We all have a bit of attention deficit disorder (ADD) in us, I believe. So performing a task for 10 or 20 minutes is certainly do-able for many people. Just give yourself a goal, a small reward (a cup of tea/coffee, a shower, a short nap) and set the alarm!
Most people have clothing and paper/mail issues, and toy issues, if they have children. Here are suggested ways to tackle them a few minutes at a time.
CLOTHING / SHOES / BAGS
Put an old bed sheet over your bed to keep it clean since you will be working on it -- 10 min
Set up garbage bags for donation, textile recycling, keeping, dry cleaning/washing, repairing -- 10 min
Go through the following and purge -- 10, 20 or 30 min at a time -- however long you can tolerate it.
Clothing in drawers
Hanging clothes on rods
Bags (purses, schlepp bags, computer bags, backpacks, luggage)
Take donations and textile recycling to the thrift store, recycling center -- 20 min (enroute to doing other errands)
Take dry cleaning to dry cleaners -- 10 min (enroute to doing other errands)
Take clothes to tailor for altering/repairing -- 20 min (enroute to doing other errands)
PAPER / MAIL
Create/clear an area where you will go through the papers -- 10 min
Corral all the paper into this area -- 20 min
Set up 3 bags for recycling, shredding and keeping -- 20 min
Pull together a stapler, a supply of paper and binder clips, large post-its, marker and folders to organize what you keep -- 20 min
In 20 to 30 min increments, one category at a time
Pull out all magazines, newspapers, junk mail, anything thick and chunky. school notices. Purge.
Pull out all mail still in envelopes. Open if necessary. Purge. Separate out by actionable v. file.
Pull out all personal documents regarding medical, car, real estate, finances, pets, children, taxes, bills, etc. Purge. Sort my type. Separate out by actionable v. file.
Set up TO PAY, TO FILE, TO READ files -- 10 min
The above will reduce your piles considerably. What is left is manageable. The worst is over.
NOTE: Roaches love glue. This makes it especially important to stay on top of your mail and continually get the envelopes out of your house/apartment. I speak from experience with clients who have infestations because of backed up unopened mail.
TOYS / BOOKS (do when children are out of the house/apartment)
Put an old bed sheet over the bed to keep it clean since you will probably be working on it -- 10 min
In 20 to 30 min increments, go through category by category of toys and purge what is broken, aged out of, too young for, etc.
Stuffed animals, dolls, action heroes
Other (musical instruments, cash registers, trading cards, etc.)
Recycle broken toys, bag up donations, put away toys to grow into -- 20 min
Organizing is a process. It takes time. Baby steps. There is no magic wand. Despite what that TV show on Netflix wants you to believe. :-)