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Get Up and Dance

Music and movement can be instant motivators when facing a daunting task. Debbie Cohan, a mother of three about to undergo a double mastectomy, got her nurses to join her and they danced like crazy to Beyonce’s “Get Me Bodied” in the operating room just before her surgery. She had the dance videotaped and contacted fellow cancer patients to urge them to heal through movement and share their own dance videos. Cohan is currently cancer-free and to her surprise her YouTube video went viral, inspiring nearly 8 million people.

  • Use music to help you face your clutter challenges. If I had to clean my garage without my boom box or headphones, it would much more of a drag. Try creating a customized play list for the occasion. Fast-paced, high-energy songs suit the clearing and cleaning part of the process. This is where most of the heavy-lifting and the confrontations with dirt, dust and other undesirables occur.
  • For the sorting and containerizing, choose songs that are more meditative, or put on ambient music, such as the classic “Music for Airports” by Brian Eno. This is a much more focused part of the task, so if classical is your thing, this is the time for it. When I work with clients, I prefer to not have any music playing while we sort and containerize because we need to discuss how to categorize items, what makes sense in terms of where to store things, etc.
  • For example, will something need to be stored at waist level, where it is easiest to retrieve, or is it something rarely used or seasonal, that can be stored in an out of the way spot or on a high shelf? Even if you are working alone, you’ll be having these discussions in your head and music can be distracting.
  • When everything is put away and it’s time to sweep or vacuum, take out the trash and otherwise finish up, you can put on the dance music again. That will lead you straight into the celebration part of the process — celebrating a job well done is a very important and often neglected part of a chore.
  • Here are a dozen from a sample playlist that could take you through the toughest bits of a garage clean-out, packing for a move, a closet reorganization or a whole house de-cluttering:
  • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (the perfect “Fake It ‘Til You Make It” song for doing despicable chores)
  • If little ones are helping, include “Whistle While You Work” and “Heigh-Ho,” both from the Disney cartoon “Snow White.”
  • “Car Wash” by Rose Royce
  • “Working in a Coal Mine,” the Devo version
  • “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits
  • “When the World is Running Down (You Make the Best of What’s Still Around)” by The Police
  • “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones (really anything that rocks by the Rolling Stones)
  • ” Lose Yourself” by Eminem
  • “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” by Michael Jackson
  • “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk
  • “Ready, Steady, Go” by Paul Oakenfold
  • “Ray of Light” by Madonna
  • If a movie really inspired you, play the soundtrack while you work. I love the soundtracks to” American Hustle,” “August Rush” and “Something’s Gotta Give.” Or put on Pandora and let it create a spontaneous playlist for you based on the mood you want to get into.