You can tell when it’s time to de-clutter. You slow down, become less productive, feel overloaded and overwhelmed. And all the stuff you have collected…it starts to have a life of its own.

Some years ago my neighbours lived in a large shed while they built their dream house. They were headed for a dream life, but it must have been a nightmare trying to find anything in the meantime!

Books plied up on chairs, boxes everywhere, they had an open style wardrobe (i.e. more stuff on chairs) and it looked like living in a warehouse of junk. Yes, it was clean… just ultra messy. They lived on one side of the ‘clean-messy’ continuum.

A friend however, lived on the other end of the spectrum. She was so Zen she shimmered. I used to joke she filed everything, even the daily dust that nearly settled (poor stuff never had a chance).

For some people, mess irks them into immediate and savage action and for others it is only a problem if the health department comes a knocking. Chances are you won’t be reading this is you belong in the first type (Zen master of clean) and if you are still reading, you probably need some compassionate help….or tough love maybe!

Here’s the first thing – don’t let your ‘cleaning personality type’ stop you and don’t let it be an excuse. Just because ‘mess’ has been your middle name up until now, it doesn’t mean than you can’t change it to ‘Zen’.

You do need a big ‘WHY’ or reason though. Either something that scares the heck out of you (‘my children are going to model my behaviour and when I’m old they’ll park me in the garage and never be able to find me again!’) or something that inspires you (‘my children will be so organised and successful in their careers and lives and they’ll remember what a great role model I was and invite me to live with them on their tropical island’).

Seriously, you need something to get you moving in the right direction. Don’t go any further til you have this part taken care of, otherwise you’ll just spin your wheels and go nowhere…and collect more stuff and dust.