Learning how to get rid of clutter can be the best thing you do for yourself.
In this post, you are going to learn ten steps you can take to eliminate clutter from your life and live well – even if you feel overwhelmed.
Let’s jump right to it.
HOW TO START DECLUTTERING
1. DEFINE & IDENTIFY CLUTTER FOR YOURSELF
Clutter is a build-up of stuff. However, we have stuff we love, stuff we use, and stuff that gets completely ignored.
What may look like clutter to me, may be your happy place.
The first step to attacking clutter is to take an honest inventory of what you have and what you use. This is best accomplished by moving through each of your spaces, one at a time, and identifying how each item is serving you.
I don’t believe every item needs to have a practical need but each item needs to serve you.
For example, a lamp is practical and useful for providing light. It’s obvious how the lamp is serving you from an outside perspective. Yet, an old photograph of a lake can also serve you; perhaps that lake is a reminder of something in your past or someone you love. If it makes you feel good, it is serving you in a way that only you may understand. Those items add value to your life and are worth keeping.
While you are taking inventory of what you have, stop adding to the mess with new stuff.
Question: Is your stuff taking up space or serving your needs and desires?
2. EVALUATE HOW YOU ACCUMULATE STUFF
Once, you stop clutter from coming in, it’s time to evaluate what you have.
I realized I was shopping for sport and not for necessity and the clutter was a result of some of my poor choices. I started looking around and quickly saw I had much more than I needed.
I realized I was shopping for sport and not for necessity.
Knowing that I would have to do a massive purge, I decided to begin evaluating what things I really valued and what things were FOMO (fear of missing out) purchases.
Did I really need that thing or was it just a trendy must-have I wanted to try?
I had stuff that was never opened, never worn, and never used (I’m looking at you exercise equipment). You too?
Question: How much of the stuff you have to you absolutely love and value? How much of it was bought out of boredom or FOMO?
3. PURGE: GET RID OF THINGS YOU DON’T NEED
Purge sounds like a bad word. I know.
But after evaluating everything you have, you will likely come to the conclusion that more than 50% (I’m being generous) of all the stuff can be purged. Yep. For every two items you can pick up, one can be discarded.
It’s not easy.
If you are like me you really believe you will use that thing, wear that thing, or make time for that thing.
I’m encouraging you to let that thing go. Sell it. Donate it. Get it out of your home.
It’s a process that can be overwhelming but think of each item as a weight to be carried. Every time you let something go, you get lighter.
At the end of the process, hopefully, you are only holding on to the things that give you real enjoyment and value. That’s truly living…only holding on to the things that matter.
Question: Are you ready to do a massive purge? Can you go through rooms in your home and get rid of things that aren’t adding value or purpose?
4. BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT NEW PURCHASES
Decluttering can become a cyclical process without a system or process for stuff coming in and going out.
To stop the buildup of stuff from happening again and again, make up your mind to take control and be intentional about every purchase.
For example, when I need personal items like socks. I go through all my socks, get rid of the ones that are worn, and then I purchase more.
How does this help?
- I’m proactively deciding I need something.
- I’m choosing to remove items that are no longer quality.
- I’m replacing the items with new items I know I will use right away.
I no longer go to the store and look around and hope to find things I want. I am intentional about how I spend my resources and I use a process.
I’m in control of what’s coming in (no more leaks).
Question: Are there some processes you can put in place to control how much stuff you allow in your home?
5. BE OK WITH OWNING LESS
Less isn’t a bad thing.
Talk about aha moments. I used to think the more I had the better but that’s not true at all.
- I don’t need more shoes, I just need a few pairs of quality shoes.
- I don’t need more products, I need quality products that work.
Shifting from a focus on quality instead of quantity is life-changing.
I have more space to do cartwheels (not really, maybe some stretching and squats) and I save money.
Owning less lowers stress about how much I have to manage, clean, and organize. I look around my home and mostly (I’m always a work in progress) everything has a purpose and that makes me smile.
Question: Are you OK with owning less. Can you do a massive purge and not feel the need to replace everything. Can you accept having beautiful open spaces in your home?
DECLUTTERING VS MINIMALISM
Decluttering is a process that can lead to minimalism and that’s a choice.
Some people think that minimalism is about depriving yourself of luxuries but I disagree. Minimalism is a spectrum and if you can live with less and be happy then go for it. However, if you are giving up enjoying life to prove you can live with less, that doesn’t seem worth it.
Stuff can be replaced but having a clutter-free home is an experience I think you will enjoy. I hope these tips help you declutter and focus on the people, events, and experiences that really matter.
MORE DECLUTTERING RESOURCES:
- DECLUTTERING APPS
- DECLUTTERING BOOKS
- DECLUTTER YOUR HOME CHECKLIST
- DECLUTTER QUOTES