Had a friend mention that she had a goal of cleaning out an unruly closet, but she was procrastinating. Ah, I see. She’s daunted by the size of the task. No problem, simple principles from project management can help her with that. Rather than trying to find a full day to get it done and never mustering up the time or energy for it, I recommend breaking the task into bite-sized pieces that can be done over a series of days.

Here is a simple illustration.

Day 1 – Pull EVERYTHING out of the closet.

If it’s all out, you’ve got to deal with it. You don’t want it sitting in the middle of the room, and it’s no longer out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

Day 2 – Sort the stack into three piles – keep, throw away (or possibly recycle, depending on where you live), and give away.

The risk is you don’t want to part with any of it. As Elsa said,”Let it go! Let it go!” Do you need help having things pried out of your hands? Consider inviting a friend over for a ‘sorting party’ who’ll help you release your grip. Or, just think about how much someone else might really be able to use what is really no longer of use to you.

Day 3 – Remove the “throw away” pile and “give away” pile.

These two piles are relatively easy to clear out. You may need to load up the “give away” pile the night before or in the morning to drop it off at a Goodwill (or the like) on the way home from work.

Day 4 – Organize as much of the “keep” items back into the closet.

You may realize that you need some storage items – like plastic bins or cardboard boxes – to put everything away. Make a list of what you need!

Day 5 – Finish storing the rest of your items back in the closet and vacuum.

Do your shopping on your way home to get the bins or boxes you need. Then when everything is put away, give the area a good vacuum.

Day 6 – Celebrate!

Don’t underrate this. Maybe stop for an ice cream cone on your way home! Mint chocolate chip on a waffle cone, please. Or a dipped soft serve will do, too.

I stretched this out over six days not knowing exactly the size of the closet nor the extent to which it is jam-packed full of stuff. But the point is, if the task is broken down to a manageable size that can be done little-by-little, then you can get through nearly any project around the house.

Happy getting-it-done-around-the-house!