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Start on the house

Having trouble knowing where to start? What is causing you the most stress?

If you're feeling indecisive, let me reassure you that there is no wrong place to start. Any starting place is good, and certainly better than not starting at all!

If you're a perfectionist, you want the perfect place to start, and you're not going to start until you find it. There is NO perfect starting point. Let me rephrase that, any starting point is the perfect starting point!

Here are some ideas. Don't get hung up on which one to pick. Note, all the suggestions begin with the same (key) word:

  • Start by grabbing garbage bags and going through the rooms picking up rubbish. Then get the bags out of the house: take them to the dump or leave them for kerbside collection.
  • Start by clearing the top of the television set. It's a very small area, so you will experience your first success very quickly!
  • Start with the room you spend the most time in. That way you'll get results you can appreciate every day, inspiring you to continue with your recovery.
  • Start by setting the goal of regaining the use of normal household items if, for instance, you can't sleep in your bed, eat at the dining table, cook on the stove, or sit on the sofa.
  • Start with cleaning the bathroom. Again, it is a small, self-contained area, so your reward will be prompt.
  • Start with any area that bugs you more than the rest, if there is one.
  • Start with the 80/20 rule: 80% of the results comes from 20% of the effort invested. The trick is knowing which 20%. It makes more difference to the appearance of your house to spend half an hour washing, drying and putting away the dishes spread throughout the house, which you can see, than to spend two and a half hours cleaning the inside of the oven, which you can no longer see as soon as you close the oven door.
  • Start at your front door and work clockwise around the perimeter of the room. This is the Mount Vernon method explained by Sandra Felton in The Messies Manual.
  • Start with your bedroom. This theory says that if a mess is the first thing you see when you start the day, you are likely to be too depressed to start cleaning.

Create a living space for yourself. Once you have created an oasis in your desert of squalor, make it a priority to maintain that oasis. Then increase your appropriate use of space - create another oasis. As soon as you are ready, add another one or two.

They don't have to be BIG oases. The top of the televison set, the coffee table, a refrigerator shelf, are all oasis candidates. Don't add them faster than you can maintain the oases you already have. What you are doing is breaking down the overwhelming taks of "clean up the whole house" into smaller, manageable tasks.

Gradually, the oases of cleanliness and order will spread, until that magic day when they JOIN together!

San Francisco 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci once said, "I never wear a watch, because I always know it's now -- and now is when you should do it."
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