I’d be lying if I said the act of decluttering my home isn’t one of my favorite pastimes. (I know, it’s a weird hobby but here we are.) Some people like video games, some like cooking, and I get a kick out of clearing out the junk from my house. It’s relaxing for me to clear away clutter; it makes me feel more organized and at peace. If you’re anything like me in this respect, read on…
Not everything in your home has to be useful.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: if it’s not useful, it’s not worth keeping. If you’re storing your grandma’s old wedding china in the attic or your husband’s favorite baseball hat from when he was 8 years old, then maybe you should consider getting rid of them. You don’t need to keep an ugly painting that was given to you as a gift from a distant relative who passed away years ago just because “it has sentimental value.”
If everything in your home has some kind of utility—whether that utility is practical or aesthetic—then throwing something away won’t be as painful for those around you later on down the road. (And if they do get upset about this decision, well…you were doing everyone else a favor.)
It’s okay to throw things away.
You are not a bad person for throwing things out. You are not a bad person for tossing that pair of jeans that has been sitting in your closet since the year 2000 and never fit you quite right.
You don’t have to feel guilty about getting rid of things. Your items don’t have feelings or emotions, so why let them bother you? It’s okay to get rid of something if it no longer serves a purpose, regardless of how much money you spent on it or who gave it to you in the first place!
The only thing we should feel guilty about when getting rid of stuff is wasting more natural resources by throwing away something that could be recycled or reused by someone else instead.
You need a place for everything, and everything in its place.
- Clutter can cause stress and anxiety.
- Clutter can be a fire hazard.
- Clutter makes it hard to find things you need.
- Clutter makes it hard to sell your home.
- Cluttering up your home with too many things can make it difficult to find new items when they’re needed, like when moving or starting a new job where you need different clothes or accessories than the ones at home right now.
Put things where you use them.
- Put things where you use them.
- Put things where you can find them.
- Put things where they are easy to reach.
- Put things where they won’t get lost.
- Put things where they won’t get damaged or ruined by moisture, heat, dust or other environmental hazards (such as cats).
Keep what sparks joy.
The KonMari method has four categories:
- Keep: keep what sparks joy.
- Discard: discard what doesn’t spark joy.
- Repair: repair items that can be repaired and use them until they break again (and then repair again).
- Organize: organize the things you want to keep in ways that make sense for you and your lifestyle.
Allow time for sentimental items when decluttering.
So, you have a lot of stuff. But, what if it’s not the right stuff? Don’t be too quick to throw out things that are sentimental.
For example, when I was younger my grandmother and grandfather gave me a collection of Christmas cards from their travels around the world. I don’t know why they had these cards or why they decided to give them to me but that’s not important now because I still have them! They’re currently sitting in a drawer in my house somewhere and no one knows where they are except for me and maybe two other people who could tell us where those cards are after having seen them last week at Thanksgiving Dinner. If we ever need those cards again (and let’s face it—we probably won’t), we can find them easily by looking through all their old pictures on Facebook or Google Image Searching “Christmas Cards.”
So how do we make sure this doesn’t happen? How do we ensure that sentimental items stay with us forever so that when one day we look back at our lives and wonder “what if…?” We can answer “yes! Yes there were wonderful moments spent together.”
Use a one-in, one-out rule.
A one-in, one-out rule is a simple strategy for reducing clutter. It means that if you bring something new into your home, it has to be paired with something that goes.
Let’s say you buy a new pair of shoes and find yourself with an additional pair in your closet. Now, instead of having two pairs of shoes and no place to store them all, you have three pairs of shoes but only two places to store them. That means something else has to go—and this happens with everything. If you buy some books at the bookstore or download a new app on your phone or even get a haircut at the barber shop this weekend—all those things bring more things into your home than what they leave behind when they leave (which are usually just crumbs).
Get the family on board–they live here too!
- Get the family on board–they live here too!
- Let everyone in your household know that you’re starting a clutter-reduction process. The more people involved, the better chance of success. If you’re married or living with someone, make sure they help you select what to keep and donate as well as what to throw away.
Take before and after photos of your progress.
Take before and after photos of your progress.
This is a great way to keep track of your progress, and also look back at how far you’ve come. You can take photos at different stages throughout the process, or just have one photo that shows the final result.
Share these photos with friends and family if you want to show off! They’re going to be impressed with what they see when they come over later on (which will happen more often than not).
When it comes time for another cleaning session down the road, compare your before and after shots so that you know where improvements can be made next time around. Make sure that all of your clutter was removed; otherwise there might be areas in your home that need attention!
It’s worth taking the time to get rid of most of the clutter in your home so that you can enjoy the things you really love and actually use in life.
It’s worth taking the time to get rid of most of the clutter in your home so that you can enjoy the things you really love and actually use in life. You can’t use things you don’t see, enjoy them when they are hidden away or lose them under a pile of other stuff. Your happiness depends on having access to what matters most to you, not what is hidden behind or disguised by all of your junk!
We hope these tips help you to reduce clutter and put away the things that don’t add joy to your life. It’s worth taking the time to get rid of most of the clutter in your home so that you can enjoy the things you really love and actually use in life.