When it comes to getting organized, one of the key elements must be decluttering. However, the very idea of getting rid of their possessions strikes fear into the hearts of many. As with any other process, it often helps to have some rules in place. Consider these six rules of decluttering to help you take steps toward living a clutter-free life.
Now that I have children keeping things organized and clutter-free seems like an impossible task. The kids love all their toys and sometimes it’s hard to part with some of our things. But we’re getting much better!
Vow to Bring Less Home
The most important rule to set before you even begin to purge items is to make a sincere effort to bring less stuff in. There’s no point in putting forth the effort to declutter if you undo all your progress by buying more stuff. Setting a mindset to shop with intention is the first step to clearing out the clutter for good.
We’ve started a rule that for every new thing that we get, we have to get rid of something. If it can’t be used anymore it gets thrown away, if it’s still in good shape we give it away.
Document Your Nostalgia
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion that can lead us to hold onto clutter. An effective compromise is to digitize your prized possessions. You can scan the images of things like certificates or kids’ artwork into your computer and organize them into folders. For three-dimensional pieces like trophies or prom dresses, take a photo of the item to add to your digital keepsakes. I’m still not good at this one, but I’m getting better as the kids get older. All their stuff is just so cute!
Start Small and Simple
One way to gain momentum in the paring down process is to start with the easy things. Begin boxing up items that don’t hold much emotional attachment. Doing so will lead to a sense of accomplishment and provide motivation for you to keep going when the decision-making becomes tougher.
In my lifetime, I’ve had to start over a few times replacing everything that I owned. I’ve learned just how little stuff I actually need. While the reason for having to replace my things was difficult, it was actually liberating on some level getting to “start over”.
Lose the Duplicates
Another relatively easy decluttering task involves getting rid of unnecessary duplicate items. So take a moment to go through your home and gather up all your duplicate articles of clothing, dish sets and books. Then sort through them, keeping only your favorite colored piece or the one that is in the best condition.
Nix the Guilt
An empowering decluttering strategy is to get rid of things you’ve been holding onto out of guilt. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for that stylish coat if it’s not being used, and unwanted gifts are something else you should part with immediately. These things are yours. The decision of whether to keep them is also yours.
We’ll talk about what you can do with those things later on.
Put Things in Their Place
Another way to bring organization to your home is to make sure all of your possessions have a designated place and to always return them there. Knowing where stuff belongs makes it easier to keep everything tidy and lowers the chance of clutter becoming a recurring problem.
These rules aren’t the definitive last word on clearing out the clutter, and they won’t remove all of the difficulties from the process. Hopefully, though, they will serve as guidelines to help you begin your own decluttering journey.
There’s a reason why many people start on a decluttering project during a stressful or turbulent time in their lives or when they simply begin to feel overwhelmed by the chaos. Clearing out the clutter does more than just make your home look neater or more spacious. Decluttering can actually be a life-transforming process in a multitude of ways. Continue reading if you’d like to discover some tangible ways decluttering can improve your life. This knowledge may just be the motivation you’ve long needed to start on your own path to minimalism.
You’ll Gain More Time
Think of all the time you waste searching for things in your messy environment. Consider how often you don’t feel like doing much or going anywhere because your cluttered surroundings have left you feeling depressed. Investing the time to clean out and organize your living space will pay off in all the hours of your life you take back.
You’ll Be More Focused
A messy environment leads to a disorganized mind. Being surrounded by clutter makes it hard to concentrate and zaps your energy. You can’t focus with brain fog. An organized space can truly rejuvenate you.
You’ll Sleep Better
By clearing the clutter, you are making more room for energy to flow freely about your bedroom. It’s true that human beings are made up of energy. Being surrounded by energy that can circulate without obstacles allows for deeper and more restful sleep.
You’ll Have Room for Personal Growth
By removing physical items from your home, you’ll be making more space to move around. Some creative reorganization or consolidation of your possessions could lead to having an entire room free to put to a new use. For example, you could start a hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue or set up the space as a bedroom to host a foster child like you’ve always talked of doing.
5 Reasons Why Decluttering Won’t Work
Decluttering can be a very worthwhile and valuable endeavor. There is a wide array of benefits to the process. However, decluttering on its own is a fruitless effort. Without personal evaluation and insight, any progress you make will more than likely be undone. Only by having a little deeper personal insight can you make lasting change.
Decluttering doesn’t require introspection.
Getting rid of stuff you haven’t used in the last year or donating an item of clothing for each new piece you bring home are short-term fixes. For decluttering methods to stick, you must evaluate your reasons for the decisions you make regarding your possessions, such as making statements regarding your values, passions and desires.
Decluttering won’t help you understand your attachment to possessions.
Delving a little deeper, you must actually consider the personal motivations for your attachment to the stuff you own. For example, do you hold onto things because you fear being without? Further examination may lead to the realization that you are holding onto habits from a childhood of poverty and that it’s okay now to let go of your abundance of stuff.
Decluttering doesn’t benefit others.
Decluttering without mindfulness does little to help others who could benefit from your overstock. Taking steps to get rid of some things and tidy up, without understanding your reasons for doing so, rarely leads to the kinds of results that could come from purposeful action. When you understand what you hope to gain from this release of clutter, you can significantly pare down your possessions, allowing more people to benefit from your abundance.
Decluttering has no impact on your debt.
You may think decluttering can help you raise some cash by selling your unwanted things. However, without examining your motives for acquiring so much stuff and evaluating your priorities in life, you’re practically guaranteed to buy more items to take the place of those you’ve sold.
Decluttering rarely leads to lifestyle changes.
Mindless decluttering is temporary. Your clean and organized environment is merely a facade that isn’t likely to last. If you want to change your life by implementing healthy changes and making positive strides, you first must do the work of introspection.
Taking time to evaluate what has led to your clutter and to consider your lifestyle goals will go a long way toward creating a soothing home environment that lasts. Decluttering doesn’t work on its own, but combining it with mindfulness can lead to success.
If you’re feeling boxed in by the amount of clutter in your home, you’ve likely come to the realization that it’s time to make a change. You’ve probably thought about what life could be like if you reclaimed your space, making it clean and organized. However, decluttering requires getting rid of stuff, and parting with possessions can be one of the most emotionally overwhelming experiences for some people. Fortunately, there are tons of creative ways to make the process easier. Top professional organizers have developed systems for breaking the process down and making it seem more bearable. Keep reading to learn the decluttering methods of minimalist masters.
Let’s start with one you’ve probably heard of due to its sweeping popularity (No pun intended). Author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo is considered by many to be a decluttering guru. With over four million books sold, it’s definitely worth considering her “magic.” Kondo’s method involves focusing on what to keep, rather than what to toss. The core principles involve categorizing your items, and then taking time to sort through each category with the mindful intention of keeping only the ones that bring you joy. If you’re a collector of glassware, place all of your pieces on the table or counter. Pick up and inspect each, carefully determining which ones you love for their unique characteristics or sentimentality. Then box up the rest to donate or sell.
365 Less Things
Colleen Madsen of, 365 Less Things, has a brilliant approach to paring down possessions. She decided at the beginning of 2010 to make minimalism her resolution by giving away or selling one item each day for the entire year. Madsen documents both the physical results of the project and the psychological aspects on her blog.
If you want to take the daily give-away approach a step further, consider playing the Minimalist Game. The brainchild of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of the popular blog, The Minimalists, this method requires you to start on the first day of the month and choose to get rid of the number of items that corresponds with each date. Giving away one thing on the first day is easy, but can you come up with 31 to part with at month’s end? Those who stick with it will have a home with 496 less pieces of clutter. Making it a challenging competition with friends or family ups the stakes.
These are just three of the creative methods to help you begin the decluttering process. Other popular strategies include Oprah’s Closet Hanger Experiment, 5-Minute Decluttering Tips from Zen Habits, Project 333 or the Packing Party. Pick one that resonates with you and start making progress!
You’ll Make Some Extra Money
Surely, you have some possessions lying around that would be of value to someone else. Why not gather them up and consider listing them on Craigslist or eBay? The money you make from any sales can go toward your new hobby or guest room.
As you can see, there’s so much more to decluttering than you ever realized. This process can lead to countless positive outcomes if you just open your mind to the possibilities. Hopefully, you’re feeling more motivated to start creating your optimal space of Zen.
The philosophy of minimalism is being embraced by people everywhere. It’s appealing to consider simplifying your life by getting rid of unnecessary physical possessions and concentrating instead on the experiences that bring fulfillment. Except, for many, the actual process of lessening their load can be daunting, especially if you’ve accumulated years of stuff all in one place. Let’s make things more manageable and take a look at some specific ideas for how to handle decluttering overwhelms.
Know Your Why
As a business owner, the phrase, “Know your why,” is used as a motivator to remind associates of the reasons they went into business for themselves in the first place. This same concept is essential for keeping you on-task when the decluttering process becomes difficult. Understanding your reasons for wanting to live a minimalist lifestyle is crucial to success.
Set Aside Time
The first step to getting a handle on your feelings about decluttering is to understand that nothing needs to be accomplished overnight. Set aside a general amount of time for the project, knowing that your timeline can be extended slightly, if necessary. Having a time frame provides structure, but allowing wiggle room takes away the pressure.
Make a Plan
Having a plan is essential to the smooth completion of any goal you hope to accomplish. It only makes sense that mapping out your steps to decluttering would also be beneficial. Write down things like the order you wish to tackle your clutter, how many rooms or areas you would like to complete each week, the manner in which you want to sell valuable items and where you will donate the rest. This proactive step can go a long way toward making it all seem more manageable.
Visualize Your Ideal Space
One more thing to do before actually getting down to the business of decluttering is to form an idea in your head of how you’d like your finished space to look. It may even help to jot down some drawings and notes. Doing so will help you decide what to keep and what to discard because you will have a better idea of whether a particular item will complement your vision.
It’s true that the hardest part is often actually getting started. Now that you know some concrete ways to manage the overwhelm of decluttering, hopefully, you’re feeling energized to begin.