It’s a question I get a lot. I always tell my clients that the goal of declutting is multi-purpose. You want to generally get rid of the excess. But more than that – you want to find the good stuff. I like to think that decluttering helps shine a light on what’s really important to you.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Helps you see where you have excess – One aspect of my process is categorize. (Plan, Categorize, Declutter, Organize, Elevate). When you categorize what you have you get a sense of how much you have. You are confronted with what you have. Do you keep buying kitchen scissors because you can never find them – and then wind up with 5 pairs? Do you not like wearing shorts but when you categorize you find you have 8 pairs? Why do you have so many and what can you get rid of?
This process might even help you confront your shopping habits. Do you shop when you are stressed or bored? DO you even know what you are shopping for? Creating an awareness of what you own can change your shopping habits.
Helps clarify your goals - When you love your stuff, you need to take a step back to see how you and your home are being negatively impacted by what you own. You don’t need to become a minimalist, but you do need to set boundaries. A good rule of thumb is “one in one out”. That’s especially useful in the kitchen (gadgets) and closet (clothes). What are your goals for your home? Ask yourself if that next purchase aligns with the goals you have set for yourself.
When thinking about decluttering you can set goals for yourself in your home that align with your future self – I want to have space to do yoga; I want to get more work done on a clean desk; I want to make delicious meals in an organized kitchen.
Helps you highlight what you really love – I always say that the goal of decluttering is not to get rid of stuff but to find the stuff you really love that has been lost or covered up because of clutter. How can you enjoy that picture from your wedding when there’s too much clutter also on your mantle? How can you bake cookies with your kids when your kitchen counters are too cluttered ?
Declutter your space and let the good stuff shine in your home. Celebrate you and your personality. Think about the statement you. Can make in your home when it’s just filled with the stuff you really love and prioritize – rather than clutter.
Helps you locate things more easily - The average person will spend two and half days a year looking for lost items (including keys). Can you imagine? My mantra is a place for everything and everything in its place. If your clutter is just out…it doesn’t have a place. And that’s a problem. When you have less, you have less to look through to find what you are looking for. You might even just instinctively know where to look in the first place!
In the end it’s ok to love your stuff. We are human and spend a lifetime collecting memories and things and that’s ok – it’s all part of the journey. Even minimalists have things that are special or sentimental. But when the clutter starts to overwhelm you, then it’s time to start thing about letting some things go.
Start with trash, real trash that has no business being there. Then categorize your items and take stock of how much you have. You might be able to downsize whole categories. Think about your goals and what you want your life and home to look like. After you declutter, organize what is left in a way that serves you. Finally – make it pretty and let those special items shine.
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How to declutter when the mess is too much to handle? You just have to start. Put one foot in front of the other and declutter a little bit. When you declutter a little bit over a lot of time, it adds up to huge results. Let’s get started.
How to start:
Start right where you are – You don’t even have to get up from the couch! Just sit and plan. How do you want the room to feel? How do you want to use the room? What can you take out to achieve those goals?
Take a picture before you begin – A “before picture “ is very powerful – document your starting point and act as a visual reminder of how much you’ve accomplished.
Eliminate the garbage – Grab a garbage bag and get the garbage out. It’s easy and doesn’t require decisions. It’s a great first step.
Remove the stuff that doesn’t belong – Look around and take out things that have a home in another room. Toys to the toy room, cups to the kitchen. Again, these are easy decisions because they don’t require thinking. You’ve already done the work. The next step is “take it there now”. Don’t let your to do’s pile up. Part of your job in decluttering is take the items that don’t belong in one room to where they do belong in another.
Declutter flat surfaces – I always say that flat surfaces are clutter catchers. Don’t put your mail down – deal with it. Don’t let small appliances pile up on your kitchen counters – put them away. Clear counters not only look better but are easier to clean.
How to keep up momentum:
Work in small chucks – If you don’t have time to declutter the entre house, that’s ok. Smaller projects have bigger impacts. Think about decluttering a certain part of a certain room in one session – keep it small. Make it achievable.
Declutter when you can - Don’t have all day? That’s ok. Declutter when you can. And batch your task with something enjoyable like a podcast or audio book. The goal is to make the project fun and realistic.
Celebrate your progress – Remember that even one small step forward is still progress. You are doing great. Just don’t celebrate by buying more stuff…
How to maintain your space:
Have a place for everything - Make sure everything in your home has a designated place. Having a place for everything makes things easier to find and helps others know where to put things when they’re done.
Create one in / one out rule - Create an exchange rule for bringing new items in your home. This is especially helpful in the closet. New shirt? One goes out. This can help you make decisions in the store – do I really have something that can go out if I buy this new thing?
Establish a tidy routine. – Tidying for just 5 or 10 minutes a day will really make an impact in your home. Set a reminder on Alexa or on your phone to do a tidy and reset your home.
I hope these tips on how to start, how to keep up momentum and how to maintain your space are helpful. Contact Bliss This House to help you declutter your home and establish good declutter routines!