Clutter? Use the Salami Approach


Living in one place for years usually leads to annual increases in the amount of stuff in the home. Even if only a small amount could be called “clutter”, year-by-year growth can gradually amass an imposing pile to deal with. Here is a simple approach to handling it.

Take the “Salami Approach” – i.e. deal with it one slice at a time. Even an oversized salami can be consumed over the course of a short time when it is cut into thin slices. Applying the same method to clutter leads to three steps:

1. Size up the situation

Notepad-and-autumn-leavesHow big is the job? If you break the clutter down into smaller categories, what is the sequence from largest to smallest? (clothes, books, LP records, knick-knacks, etc)
How many days, weeks or months (for large quantities) do you estimate it will take? Making a list or even a computer spreadsheet of the will help you visualize the amount of work to be done and will improve your estimate.

2. Divide the work into smaller “bite-sized” chunks.

LP Records“Cut off” a day’s worth of work just as you would cut a chunk of salami for that day. Examples are: targeting one clothes closet, one shelf of books, one kitchen cupboard, one junk drawer or one box of LPs. You are more likely to make daily progress when you see each task as achievable.

3. Do one chunk each day

Koala-on-limbSchedule time each day to work on clutter. Unless you are under a tight deadline, take one day off each week to clear your mind. (Sunday?) Don’t “eat it” all by yourself. Involve others who know your priorities, your process and your goal and delegate some of it.
Use a time block method in which you set aside so many minutes or hours to work on de-cluttering tasks. After you have completed a few “chunks”, it would be worthwhile to revisit Step 1 and re-estimate the size of the job. Once you have completed some of the work, you will have a much better idea of how long it will take to complete each category, section or room.

Coffee-CupFinally, remember to reward yourself, even with something small, when you reach a milestone in your downsizing, such as finishing one room or category of clutter. The whole “salami” will be gone faster than you expected. Imagine how good you’ll feel!


What approach do you use to get through a pile of clutter?

* You may notice some Canadian spelling in these posts. The words may look odd but that’s how we spell them. We’re used to it.

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Quill pen

Unless otherwise credited, all posts are happily authored with a quill pen …
Paul Ferri, Broker, ASA (Accredited Senior Agent)
RE/MAX Unique Inc. Brokerage*, Toronto, Canada
*Each office independently owned and operated.

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