How to Excavate a Mountain in 6 Steps

Are your busy days followed by busy nights? Does your house show it—in piles of mail, newspapers, cups, glasses and half-emptied shopping bags strewn across the counters and table tops? Maybe you are like me and have shoes here and there on the floor too? As long as it is a temporary state, it’s a normal part of living a full life.

If you are like our decluttering clients, however, the piles have become mini-mountains, overtaking the counters and tables and expanding over to the floors. Perhaps life took an unexpected turn and you didn’t get a weekend to whip the house back into shape before bringing in more mail, newspapers and shopping. And that turn was years ago. Did you build a mountain of stuff in the guest room, or the garage? Maybe Your Mountain is part of a range?

Finding the bottom of the floor or the top of the desk can feel like climbing Mt. Everest, but the mountain wasn’t built overnight and it won’t go away in a weekend. If you are ready to excavate Your Mountain, use these steps to reach the surfaces.

How to Excavate Your Mountain:

  1. Set a time limit for your work session, allowing enough time for clean-up. Decision making will be exhausting in the beginning. Start off with reasonable expectations for how long you can work at a stretch. For example, 2 hours will translate to 1.5 hours for sorting and decision making and 30 minutes for clean-up.
  2. Look at Your Mountain without judgement. It doesn’t matter how it grew because now you are ready to excavate! Find either its lowest peak or a spot where it is encroaching too far into a walking path.
  3. Put a few items from that place into a box, laundry basket or simply carry them out to another dedicated work space.
  4. Sort those items making decisions to keep, recycle, giveaway or toss. Begin putting like items into a box/basket or pile. This is the hard part! Keep what you need or love, but know that you don’t need or love everything.
  5. Repeat until you either run out of sorting time or reach the surface (celebrate reaching any surface—great job!).
  6. CLEAN-UP. This may be the most important step. Getting unwanted, unneeded items out of the house ignites a feeling of accomplishment, which is motivation to keep excavating! Gather items for donation or sale together and deliver them to their destination, such as library, church, thrift or consignment shop, as soon as possible. Put any “Keep” items away that won’t go back into the room you are clearing. For example, Your Desk Mountain may contain things that belong in the bathroom closet or kitchen pantry. Put trash and recycling out in their respective bins. Congratulate yourself on working hard and making decisions!

The next time you look at Your Mountain, remember that it often looks worse before it looks better! Your shifting and sorting may have resulted in your things being spread out even more. You may have added “Keep” boxes back into an already crowded room. As you steadily work through Your Mountain, repeating the steps above, you will create space from all the items that have been put where they belong, discarded, recycled or removed for sale or donation. It may take several work sessions to see this clear space emerge, just keep excavating.

When you fully excavate Your Mountain, go back to your Keep boxes and put the items away. You may find that items you felt you had to keep when you started tackling Your Mountain no longer seem so important. Decluttering is a very emotional process for most people. As the physical feeling of weight lifts from both the room and the people, it gets easier and easier to Let It Go!  (Smooth Transitions Delaware unofficial theme song!)

For more information on how Smooth Transitions Delaware can help excavate, visit our website at www.yourmovemanaged.comor call us at (302) 273-0303.