"I don't know where to start. There's stuff everywhere. I end up giving up and nothing happens and I feel terrible."
The presence of clutter makes us give up. It's daunting. We shut down. But the clutter is still there and we feel defeated.
It helps to understand that our reaction is normal. It's not our fault. We see all that needs to be done and we crash. Or if your remember pinball machines, we 'tilt.' We do best with small tasks in increments.
So we say to ourselves, "Okay, there is a lot to do, but I'm not going to try and do it all now because that unplugs me. I'm going to work on one small area instead. Maybe just this part of my bookshelf. Or the stuff in this dresser drawer. Or just my purse. That's manageable for me." We respond well to kindness, especially from ourselves.
We pick that one area and begin with trash bags in hand. We don't think about what area we're doing next. Or whether or not we're doing a good job. We consider one thing and see if we like it or not. Then we ask the same of the next item.
We're operating from our working mind. It sees what needs to be done and goes to work. It's similar to the feeling of driving a car. It's natural and there's a flow to it. The thinking mind tells us, "How can I do all this? What if I don't get it done? Am I doing a bad job? Am I doing this right? What if I get rid of the wrong things? What if I need this thing later? Maybe I should check email."
The thinking mind is going to show up. But we can think of it as trying to drive with the parking break. It exhausts us and slows us down. We can notice the edgy needy voice of the thinking mind, and keep working.