Clutter is the beast that pops up most just when you don’t need it, when things are hectic and you don’t have time to get on top of it. But clutter can rob you of peace of mind just by its existence at a time when you most need calm. Another name for “decluttering” is “space clearing” – making space for yourself – space to breathe and to enjoy your surroundings. It’s hard to do that when you are constantly surrounded by too much stuff. In my experience as a home organizer, I find many people who have chronic “tms” “too much stuff”. But getting on top of that can be as easy as one- two- three.
Here are some tips to help:
1. Get three large boxes – one for things you want to give away, one for trash and one for things you want to keep but don’t have a home for yet.
2. Start with one room at a time. Taking on too much can be overwhelming. Finish one room before you go on to the next. It will be good motivation to go forward.
3. Decluttering is all about decision making. What do you love and need – what is yesterday’s news. A good rule is : if you haven’t worn it or used it in the last year – out it goes.
4. Release any guilt about items that should be sentimental but aren’t. You don’t have to keep all those greeting cards unless they really mean something to you. The feeling is in your heart, not in the object.
5. Don’t feel guilty about keeping some things that seem ridiculous. If it speaks to you and you love it, then it should stay. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.
6. Once you have decluttered, create a system to keep the clutter at bay going forward. For example: I will put all my papers to file in this basket, when the basket gets ¾ full, I will file them all.
7. One of the biggest clutter hazards is the daily mail. If you don’t have a system for how to deal with it, it can pile up quickly. For example, coupons go here, bills go here, anything I’m interested in but don’t have time to read right now goes in my inbox, the rest in recycling.
8. Invest in storage if you need it. It will be worth it in the long run. A chest, bookshelf or set of drawers could make all the difference.
9. Have a friend help you. Sometimes this can be a lot of fun and help you get the job done when you’re dragging your feet. Just make sure you make the decisions about what stay and what goes so you don’t feel resentful afterward.
10. Going forward, resolve to buy only what you truly love. It is better to buy quality and keep and enjoy it, than to continue to buy things that don’t quite do the job or aren’t what you really love. Sometimes if you add up how much you spent on the “imposters”, you could have bought the real thing instead.
Once you have de-cluttered, notice how much freer you feel. I think you will find that you enjoy your space more and appreciate what you have more without all the other things clogging up the space. Go easy, letting go of things can be emotional, but the benefits are huge. You are free to enjoy the things you love and less encumbered by the “other stuff” . You may find that you are less stressed , more productive and generally a lot happier. Try it and let us know how it goes!