Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of decluttering? Marketing convinces you to buy the newest products to clean your floors faster, to make your grass greener, and cook your supper faster, but all these things have to go somewhere.
Those piles of stuff aren’t only in your way, they’re weighing on your mind. It all represents things to do, goals to meet, and decisions to make. It takes up space in your home and your day, without moving you towards your most productive, happy life.
The benefits of decluttering are not about making your home look showroom ready. Achieving an organized, home, office, or vehicle can greatly reduces stress in your life.
The start of a new year is a great time to reassess your clutter and manage it effectively. It’s time to start decluttering and start reclaiming your space.
"Clutter is actually a pile of decisions that haven’t been made."
So how do we know what clutter is?
We all have a different clutter battle. Maybe it’s the books you’ve read years ago, or that leaning tower of papers by the computer, or the piles of miscellaneous things taking over the garage. Over time, the objects you bring into your space and your life can start to overwhelm.
If you think about it, clutter is actually a pile of decisions that haven’t been made. The piles on your countertop are made of things you’ll look at later, or projects set aside for that rainy day.
So how do we start to declutter?
So why is it so hard to declutter? Maybe you feel guilty for wasting money, or tossing objects connected to old memories. Maybe you think “I might need this later,” or “this could be worth something.” Or maybe you’re just feeling overwhelmed by a big pile of crap.
Only you can decide what things have meaning to you, and which are just clutter. As we get clear on what we don’t want in our lives, we then start to gain clarity on what we do want. This often carries over into other areas of our life. We then free up space for new experiences, new relationships, new career opportunities and new goals.
Make decisions immediately, before the clutter can even start. If you pick something up, learn to make a decision then and there about it, and either put it where it belongs or discard it. Don’t let yourself move things from one pile to another pile again and again.
Be proactive about decluttering. Think twice before bringing something new into your home/office/wardrobe/life. Think about where you will store it, how long will you have it, or need it. Sometimes I like to use the, one in, one out rule when making a new purchase. This may help you decide if a new object will really add value to your life, or become more clutter.
If you are an impulse shopper try taking a break from shopping. Instead, go for a walk or meet a friend for coffee, and focus on using what you already own. Reward yourself with meaningful experiences rather than things.
Another great tip I learned is you can unsubscribe from sale emails and unfollow your favourite stores on social media. If you declutter your newsfeed, you’ll be less likely to find yourself tempted by deals on things you don’t need.
"Hiding clutter is not the same as tackling it."
Don’t box it up
Out of sight, still in mind. Being organized is one thing, but hiding clutter is not the same as tackling it. Pulling everything out can simplify your decision-making process by letting you clearly see what you have.
Chances are, if something’s been packed away in a box, you haven’t missed it. If you haven’t used something in the last year or more, you’ll probably survive just fine without it. Donating to a local charity or thrift store is a great way to pass on items that no longer have a purpose for you but are still in great condition
Get honest with your clutter
People often associate objects with old accomplishments, goals, identities, or relationships, which can make it harder to part with things. Remember you can still cherish the memories without the things they are attached to. Give yourself permission to recognize when an object no longer serves a purpose for you. Freeing yourself from clutter is a form of self-care.
"Learn to say no to some things so that you can say yes to yourself!"
How about decluttering your calendar
To do lists and packed calendars can make your schedule feel as chaotic as your closet. Don’t be afraid to cut out or set restrictions on activities that no longer add value to your life.
Trying to do to much can feel just as draining as trying to have too much. If you are unable to eliminate tasks try to finish one or two significant tasks at a time, rather than trying to tackle several at the same time.
Learn to say no to some things so that you can say yes to yourself. It is common to overcommit ourselves and wind up not being fully present and enjoying the activity or event because we’re already mentally moving on to the next thing. De-cluttering your schedule allows you to slow down and enjoy life more.