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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