Test-taking skills offer a perfect analogy for de-cluttering. We teach kids to do the easy questions first and finish as much as they can before they come back to the more difficult ones. I encourage this approach with de-cluttering. I know this goes against a lot of conventional advice that says to “only handle it once” or “decide and be done,” but I’ve seen too many people come to a de-cluttering standstill when faced with a difficult decision. I think it’s much more productive to defer the hard decisions and plow through the easy stuff first.
Often, items that seemed really tough on a first pass will become no-brainers on a second pass. And if not, they’ll have been whittled down to a small amount that can be boxed up and stored out of the way for a few months, until the right answer has time to emerge.
But what if you defer everything? This is valuable information and could be a signal that you may need additional support to figure out what’s getting in the way.