Using Gretchen Rubin’s Strategy of Convenience to Blast through my Resistance

Longstanding conversation between me and my Inner Critic [aka, a reality check I don’t really want to acknowledge]

ME: I want to declutter the junk room in my house.

INNER VOICE: I think I’ve heard that somewhere before…a million times!

ME: I will declutter the junk room in my house.

INNER VOICE: Yeah, really? When is that going to happen?

ME: I am decluttering the junk room in my house.

INNER VOICE: Now, you that affirmations only work when there’s a bit of elbow grease involved, right?

ME: Sigh…

What is it about this project? I’ve been saying I want to declutter the junk room in our house for the last few years, so I obviously have quite a bit of resistance to the task. If I sold or passed on some books and clothes, it would clear the way for me to arrange the items that need to be in the room. Until I do that, I’m not even sure how much space there would be available to use it as a study area/ guestroom/ craft space… So many ideas, and so little motivation to get working on what needs to be done. Why?

Recently, I re-read the chapter called “Strategy of Convenience” in Gretchen Rubin’s latest work, Better Than Before. I had put the strategy to good use in other, smaller areas of my life, but I hadn’t thought about using it to tackle this huge, daunting project.

In a completely-fed-up-with-the-situation mood, I took pen to paper and started to write out the reasons, excuses and feeble inventions of my imagination that were keeping me from taking action.

I want to sell some books, clothes and other items, but…

1. I’ve never posted anything for sale online before, so I don’t know how much time it will take to deal with questions etc.

2. I’m afraid I’ll make mistakes and make someone angry!

3. I always forget to take photos of the items during the day while the light is better.

4. It’s a pain in the neck to write up descriptions and decide on asking prices.

5. It takes a long time to post the messages (I guess?!)

6. I don’t know how to work out the postage costs to add to the advertisements.

7. I don’t have all the supplies I need to wrap up the packages.

8. I hate it when I have to go to the post office. It’s far from my house and located in an inconvenient place.

Oops…not much positivity there! Maybe I should just trash the whole lot and be done with it?! I have considered that option, but I hate the thought of wasting perfectly good books and clothes more than the thought of doing all that work. Or do I…? Hmm…

Now, my task is to work out how to make all these objections more convenient and manageable. The Holy Grail would be to make them more pleasant to carry out, so that I will finally be able to reclaim the junk room – although I feel that’s a very big ask. Let’s see!

Numbers 1 and 2 can be summed up as fear of the unknown. Well, I’ve been here before. I’m pretty sure I have the T-shirt. Intellectually, I know there is nothing to be scared of. The only way to conquer the fear is to dive in and just get on with it. As for making these objections more convenient, I’m going to break the project down into a series of manageable steps. I’ll commit those to paper, so I don’t have to waste any brainpower in thinking about what I have to do next.

3. The next time I think “Oh no, it’s too late to take photos,” I’ll get a pile of books together and put them on the kitchen table. That way, I’ll be reminded to do the task as soon as possible after breakfast.

4. To make the experience a more pleasant one, I’ll keep a tally of how many items I put up for sale, and give myself a reward for every batch of 10. The reward may or may not be a food item – chocolate is a pain-reliever after all 😉

5. In order to cut down on the time required, I’ll make a template for the information I need to include in the descriptions.

6. I’ll check the Post Office website for pricing information. I’ll also ask a few people I know who have plenty of experience in selling online for their recommendations on how to go about the process, the best way to ship books versus clothes etc.

7. Actually, I probably do have a lot of what I need. What I should do is gather all the bits and pieces together in one place, so that I don’t have to go searching for things when the time comes.

8. This is kind of a cheat. I do hate going to the post office, but if I use my lunch hour to go to the one near my work, it’s really not so inconvenient. On the days, I need to go to the post office, I’ll prepare a quick, easy-to-eat lunch so I’ll have plenty of time available. I may work in another reward here for after I’ve finished a dreaded post office trip!

Phew! The list still needs a bit of work, but I’ve seen through some of my flimsy excuses already. That wasn’t quite as hard as I expected. Hopefully, I’ll be able to say the same of my decluttering project!

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