The only tool you will ever need to declutter – THE FIVE BAG RULE
This exerpt taken from my forthcoming book, “Banish Your Overwhelm – Declutter Your Life”
Your client has marked today’s date on her calendar to start tackling her clutter. She has thought about this day for months. You are finally standing with her in her cluttered space, the one that needs to be addressed the most. You look around the room together. You see mess, disorganisation, and lots of clutter. She starts to feel overwhelm and despair creeping up on her. Where does she start?
In you come with your bag of trusty proven tools that you have learned with us and that really work in all scenarios.
You will introduce your client to the 5 bag rule. This solid, proven method is so amazing in that it banishes the overhwelm and confusion that your client feels when she faces her clutter.
You will work together to implement this method. By working with your client, you will show her how she can do this herself long after you have finished working with her. You are teaching her by your example how she can successfully and confidently keep up her newfound system long after you have left her house.
How do you implement the 5 bag rule?
For every room that you organise with your client, you will need five black bags. Stick labels on them clearly marking each one:
- “I don’t know what to do with this”
- To be moved to another room (label the room.)
As you pick up each item, decide QUICKLY which bag they belong in. This may take practise, just keep on at it.
Just throw out without another thought.
I advocate recycling where possible. Everything you do has a massive impact on the environment. I work hard to reduce my family’s carbon footprint. It is worth finding out what services are available in your local area. Some regions have a pick-up service for textiles, metal, and all sorts of items that will save you space in your bins and save you a trip to the tip!
You may have a charity shop nearby. I advocate reusing your clutter as much as possible. Bear in mind that travelling to the charity shop takes time, and effort. If you are strapped for time it may be more prudent to simply toss the items.
I don’t know what to do with this
The “I don’t know” bag” is handy for those things that you are still too emotionally attached to. Leave the items in the bag for about two weeks. Then come back to it and decide. You will be able to think more logically and decide with more clarity. The “To be moved to another room” bag should only be moved to another room at the end of the session.
To be moved to another room
During the decluttering process you will come across items that belong in other parts of the house. Place those items in bags to be relocated at the end of your decluttering session. If you start to move around the items during your decluttering session, there is a danger that you will get distracted by other stimulus. You must stay focused on your decluttering session, no matter what.
Take those bags out of your house as soon as you can, before you or a family member has a chance to look into the bags and take things out!
Take photos before and after your decluttering session. It is incredible how quickly you forget what that space looked like just a few hours before. If you have a poor working memory, this is especially important. Looking at the before and after photos will serve as a strong motivation for you to keep going too. When I work with clients, I take before and after pictures. At the end of our organising project I send the entire folder of photos to my client. It is so empowering to see the decluttering and organising process in visual forma
Keep count on how many black bags you part with. A record with one of my clients was 20 bags in just two hours! Imagine how much stress that has relieved, and clutter has been released from her home. My clients have parted in total with 7,479 black bags and still counting. Very often after a two-hour session, we pile in the black bags and clutter items into the car to donate to the charity shop or to take to the recycling centre. Often my client has to squeeze into the driver’s seat as there is just no room in the car!