Decluttering your life begins with understanding this: “Clutter isn’t just the stuff on the floor. It’s anything that gets between you and the life you want to be living.” [Peter Walsh It’s All Too Much]
Once you see it’s not just about the junk in the kitchen drawers, you’ll be better able to tackle decluttering your home and your life, once and for all. Here are some hints to help you get started, today.
1. Stop putting it off
Peter Walsh also says, “Later is the best friend of clutter”. Whatever you leave until later will undoubtedly still be there tomorrow, the day after that and possibly, it’ll still be there next month.
Start decluttering right now.
And, stop adding to your clutter by bringing more stuff into your home. Tackle what you’ve got and see if there’s anything you still need after the decluttering is done.
2. Start decluttering one bite at a time
If you’ve been putting off decluttering your home and your life, chances are there’s a lot of work to be done. Don’t let that pile of junk overwhelm you, start small and tackle it one bite at a time.
Set yourself a daily task of one box or bag per day or if that still seems overwhelming, try setting a timer for 10 minutes and do whatever you can in that amount of time. You’ll be amazed how much you can achieve in 10 minutes when your efforts are focused on a single task.
3. Detach yourself from the dollars
I struggle with this when I’m decluttering. Sometimes it’s hard not to think about the money you’re about to either throw away or donate. That can make it hard to actually let go.
You might feel like you’re throwing away money but the truth is, you’re buying your clutter-free and stress-free living environment.
Remember that when you’re about to bring something new into your home.
4. Understanding your clutter
It might stem from grief or loss or fear or self-image or even depression.
If you think your clutter is the result of something deeper, consider counselling. If you don’t deal with the cause of the clutter, no amount of decluttering will give you a clutter-free life.
Practising gratitude is a great way of inviting the process of letting go of the stuff that surrounds you. It served a purpose at some point in your life, acknowledge that and then let it go.
5. Make decluttering a priority
We’re all busy. “I’m too busy”, is the easiest excuse to use when we know we need to declutter but can find the time to do it.
Make it a priority.
Once your home and your life are decluttered and organized, life will run smoothly, you’ll be more relaxed and have more time.
Start small and be consistent. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be more organized and less cluttered than it is right now.
6. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen
A decluttered and organized home (and life) won’t happen overnight but it will happen if you work at it every day.
Over time, you’ll establish new habits that will make it easier to maintain your clutter-free life.
The trick is not to over-think the process. Just tackle one room or area at a time, every day. Deal with the easy stuff first, then move on to the items with sentimental value.
Just 10 minutes every day will reap huge rewards in your decluttering efforts.
Other decluttering posts you might enjoy:
- 10 Wardrobe Items You Should Immediately Get Rid Of
- The Benefits of the 10 Item Wardrobe
- Kick-Ass Ways to Declutter Like a Ninja!
- 10 Things You’ll Be Happy To Ditch From Your Life Immediately
- 7 Simple Ways to be More Organised Every Day
- 4 Reasons to Own Less Stuff
- 15 Bathroom Items You Need to Ditch Immediately
7. No junk mail
The first step to tackling junk mail, grab a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker or sign and put it on your mailbox.
If that’s not do-able, take it straight to the recycle bin. Don’t even look at it. It’s junk mail, it’s going to try to encourage you to spend your precious money on stuff you don’t need. Avoid the temptation and bin it immediately.
If digital junk mail is a problem, get your email inbox under control by unsubscribing from all those newsletters that, like the paper junk mail, are just trying to entice you to buy their stuff.
8. Don’t obsess over everything your child creates
One child can create more works of art in a week than an entire art movement can in a year. They are the most prolific little creation machines on the planet. With that fact in mind, consider carefully what you’ll keep and for how long.
The specifics will depend on your situation but the important lesson here is to set limits.
9. Let go of clutter from parents who have passed away
This can be a tough one. And, let’s be realistic, anything that belonged to your mum or dad will always remind you of them. That doesn’t mean you should keep everything.
Find those two or three items you feel most strongly about, keep them, treasure them and donate the rest.
10. Belongings of loved ones who have died
The same goes for other friends and family who are no longer with us.
Choose a few items that best remind you of them or the wonderful times you shared and find a special place to display them.
11. Set limits on kid clutter
It’s very easy to go overboard buying stuff (toys, clothes, etc.) for your kids. Everything is just so cute! But, you’re setting yourself and them the scene for ongoing stress and angst.
It’s impossible to keep a room tidy when there’s too much stuff in it. And, that’s for adults. Imagine how overwhelming it looks to a child when ToysRUs has seemingly disgorged itself on their bedroom floor.
Make life easier for everyone, set strict limits for your child’s belongings. For example, three boxes for toys. When they’re full, something has to go before something new can be added. Same with clothes.
Same with clothes. Keep it simple and make it easier for everyone.
12. Digital photos, files, and other clutter
Digital clutter might not be obvious but it’s still there and in the back of our minds, we’re still stressing about it.
When it comes to photos (and other images) sitting on your phone or hard drive, be ruthless. Quick and easy to delete images are dark, blurry and poorly composed. Delete those without a second thought.
With the rest, choose the ones you like best and put them in designated folders based on subject. And, delete whatever doesn’t make it to a folder.
With everything else, like freebie downloads, receipts, purchase orders and invoices, if it’s not a legal requirement to keep it, you’re not currently using it and/or you don’t need it for a specific future project, delete it.
13. Put things back where they belong
It’s a simple rule but so many of us adopt the ‘later’ approach to putting things back where we got them. Once you’re done, put it back, or in the bin or wherever it belongs.
If you don’t know where it belongs, figure it out. It either deserves a permanent home or it doesn’t deserve to be in your home. Simple.
14. Don’t let your home become a storage unit
If you’re an empty nester, don’t let your kids use your home as a storage unit.
All that stuff that wasn’t important enough for them to take with them when they moved out probably isn’t important to them at all. Put them on notice, either they deal with the stuff they left behind or you will.
Start decluttering today
If clutter is causing issues in your life, start tackling it today. Think about how much simpler your life will be when there are fewer things cluttering your space.
You’ll know exactly where everything is so you’ll be able to grab that widget when you need it, instead of giving up and buying a new one. That saves you money, time and stress. And, who doesn’t want that?
As a final reminder, here are the 14 secrets for decluttering your life:
- Stop putting it off
- Start decluttering one bite at a time
- Detach yourself from the dollars
- Understanding your clutter
- Make decluttering a priority
- It won’t happen overnight but it will happen
- No junk mail
- Don’t obsess over everything your child creates
- Let go of clutter from parents who have passed away
- Belongings of loved ones who have died
- Set limits on kid clutter
- Digital photos, files, and other clutter
- Put things back where they belong
- Don’t let your home become a storage unit
Are you decluttering your life? What areas have you found most difficult to tackle?
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