Maintaining Motivation


When we’re on our Clutter Clearing Journey, we all need to have a motivational toolbox that contains a range of tools to help us get through the bad days and tough weeks we ALL have when we’re Clearing our Clutter.

What Are Rewards?

Rewards are what we give ourselves as an act of self-care, kindness and compassion to acknowledge that we’ve spent between 30 minutes and 2 hours working on our Clutter Clearing or achieved a specific goal.

Many people misunderstand how rewards can be used as a motivational tool. Depending on your past life experiences, the word ‘rewards’ can have negative connotations because it may be interpreted as having to ‘earn’ it, ‘deserve’ it, or only getting a reward when a task is complete. Yet rewards are about us – not other people – saying well done and acknowledging the significance (not the size) of what we’ve done.

Researchers have found that the rewards …. account for about 75 percent

of personal motivation towards accomplishment.

Dickinson 1999

The irony is that many people who struggle to practice motivational rewards are often the first to reward and acknowledge OTHER PEOPLE’s achievements.

If – because of your past experiences – you struggle with the concept of calling it a ‘reward’ that you give yourself, you could try reframing rewards as a Motivational ‘Commitment’ Tool. 

So for example, give a friend or family member £/$50 and tell them that you are going to do x,y,z by a certain date or time – your ‘Commitment’. E.g. do 3 x 2 hour Clutter Clearing Sessions by this time next week.

Tell them that if you succeed at doing x,y,z by that date or time, you will use that £/$50 to go out and do something fun with them e.g. lunch, the cinema etc. If you don’t do x,y,z by that date / time they get to keep the £/$50, you don’t do anything together, and no – they can’t use that money to reward you!

You just linked achieving a task or goal to a positive emotion. Taking action requires you to feel an emotion. When you’re not emotionally connected to your Clutter Free Goal you procrastinate.

With a reward or ‘Commitment’ Tool you’ve just added an emotion to doing your Clutter Clearing because you’ll feel bad if you don’t get to enjoy that £/$50 with your friend. Any negative connection you have to rewarding yourself has just been reframed as rewarding your friend, AND not ‘wasting’ the money.

4 Rules of Rewards

  1. They must be proportionate to the amount of time you’ve spent ‘Doing the Doing’:
    • Small Rewards for 30 minutes – 2 hours of Clutter Clearing (phone a friend for a catch-up)
    • Medium Weekly Rewards for doing 3 or more Clutter Clearing sessions (e.g. manicure)
    • Large Rewards for reaching a peak of a step on your Journey (e.g. spa treatment)
    • Bigger Rewards for completing a step on your Journey (e.g. weekend away)
    • HUGE Rewards for completing your Journey! (e.g. new flooring, redecorate, new furniture)
  2. They must be non-Accumulation rewards i.e. EXPERIENCES that trigger feelings not ‘STUFF’
  3. They must be given ASAP after ‘Doing the Doing’ – on the same day for small rewards. Just as you wouldn’t reward a child or a pet hours or days after they’d done something positive, we must not delay rewarding ourselves either.
  4. They can be something you would do anyway but we are mentally CONNECTING doing it as a reward for ‘Doing the Doing’.
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How to Use Rewards

  • Start building them into your weekly planner. 
  • Have a ‘bank’ of reward ideas so you don’t get bored with the same ones
  • Have a variety of different size rewards so you can reward yourself for daily, weekly and milestone rewards while you’re on your Clutter Clearing Journey.

Rewards can be a way of making time to do more of what you want to do when you’re clutter free. However, you may discover you don’t actually enjoy doing things you THOUGHT you would enjoy. Ironically, this valuable feedback will help you let go of the things in your clutter you realise you won’t and don’t want to use, quicker and more easily!

Examples of Rewards

Here are some examples of suitable rewards:

  • Reading your Clutter Clearing Chronicle!
  • An hour crafting / doing a hobby
  • Guilt Free TV
  • Phone a friend for a catch-up
  • Try a new recipe 
  • Takeaway / eating out instead of having to cook
  • Play a card / board game with a friend or family member
  • Have a movie night at home, with popcorn
  • Go to the cinema / bowling with friends
  • Spend some time turning your LIFE Timeline into an autobiography of your life / family history
  • Doing a puzzle 
  • 15 minutes of mindfulness / daydreaming
  • Guilt free reading of a book 
  • A Spa Day / Weekend 
  • A haircut / manicure / massage
  • A Yoga / T.R.E. session / swimming 
  • Going for a walk / kyaking! 
  • Spending time working on your Life Timeline, perhaps with the help of family to capture what they know about your childhood. Tell them you want to capture your family history – you might be surprised what they help you discover and learn about your family, and what lightbulbs they trigger!

As you can see, rewards don’t need to be mind-blowing! Just taking a moment to acknowledge that we’re doing something as a reward before we do it is all we need to do to practice rewards.

If you need help to Clear your Clutter, visit Clare’s free online help centre now:

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