I believe that most of the problem with cleaning out clutter is MOTIVATION. Some could say they don't have enough time, but it doesn't take much time to go through stuff if you do a drawer here or a shelf there. You can even do it while you watch television or listen to music in many cases! It is easier to avoid facing the clutter and making decisions about what to do with it. Sometimes we start and then get burned out or lose the motivation after a while. They key to getting over this is to find out what will work best for you.
There are different ways this can be approached:
1. Set a timer. When it is done, you are done. This works well for some people because it is short and sweet and you know it is a limited time. It doesn't matter how much you get done, you only have to work until the timer goes off.
2. Determine a certain space to be decluttered. This method divides the areas you need to go through and you do it one step at a time. One kitchen drawer one day, one kitchen drawer the next, and so on. You can do shelves, closets, parts of closets, one bucket of stuff, etc.
3. Determine a certain type of item you want to go through. With this method, you do CD's one day, DVD's another day, kid's clothes another day, kitchen utensils another day and so on.
4. One a day approach: Just get rid of one item each day and you are finished.
5. One box at a time: Go through and collect a box of things you want to get rid of.
6. Space approach: I worked with someone once who wanted to keep everything. It was exhausting trying to work with her because she hated the clutter, but everything was so important to her including pieces of paper. As a last resort, an idea came to mind. I found a box and told her she needed to clear everything out of a drawer and only keep what could fit into the box. I don't know why this worked, but it did. She stuffed that box full of stuff, but that was fine. By only keeping what fit into the box, she would take things out and replace them with things that were more valuable to her. Maybe it worked because she was focusing on the things she enjoyed the most, not losing items.
7. Keep one, get rid of one. I used this method with our kids when they had to clean their rooms. For every three items they had, they had to get rid of one. If it is really bad, you can have them keep one item and then get rid of one item. This was a great way to help get rid of papers.
8. Once a month purge: Once a month, have your family members get rid of 5 or 10 or 25 items. When they are done, they don't have to get rid of any more until next month. Sometimes people don't like to deal with clutter on a consistent basis, and this might be a good method for them. Plus, if everyone in the family got rid of that many items, it would make a big difference after a year.
9. One in, one out. If you buy something, you have to get rid of something. This helps to keep clutter at bay since you are not increasing the amount of stuff you have.
What motivates you to clean out your clutter?