Are you stuck on how to begin decluttering your home? Not sure where to start or what to ask yourself? Decluttering means getting rid of material possessions that no longer bring you happiness or value. With the rise of consumerism, our homes are more packed with stuff than ever before. It’s time to lighten our homes. These are my general guidelines for decluttering. Check back soon for decluttering guidelines for specific categories (i.e. makeup, clothing, etc).
You can’t expect to gain any momentum if you start with the most crowded part of your home. Begin with what you find easiest to part with. For some it’s clothing. For others it might be office supplies or food. When I began my journey, clothing and shoes were the easiest to declutter. Now, as my values have changed, I find makeup and office supplies easier to go through.
Take Your Time
Set aside a few hours of time to really dig into these categories (one at a time, of course). It’s counterproductive to feel rushed when going through this process. I usually set aside an hour or two for clothing and thirty minutes to an hour for paperwork.
Move everything in your chosen category to a different part of your home. This could be a bed, couch, dining table, or the floor. Begin with a clean slate. Tidy up that area first so you will not be distracted by any surrounding mess (i.e. make your bed, wipe down the table or floor, etc)
Choose Guiding Questions
This should be personalized. Some examples are: Does this make me happy? Does this serve a purpose? Is this broken? (Follow up: Will I ever fix/repair this?) Do I actually use/wear this? Does this item fit into my ideal life?*
This is highly personalized because everyone will have a different perspective on their items. Is it important for you to have high quality, durable items? Is it important for you to have options? For some, it might be important to hold onto items because they cannot afford to replace them right now. That’s ok! Minimalism shouldn’t just be for the wealthy. Do your best to declutter on your own terms. Declutter and replace items when you are financially able to.
*It might be helpful to picture your ideal home or collection, given you had enough money and resources to sustain it. Then it will be easier to discern if an item you own fits into that image you created. More on this in a future blog post!
Keep, Sell/Donate, Maybe
I usually create three piles. I always try to put my items in the first two piles because those are firm decisions. It is sometimes necessary to have a third pile for things you aren’t sure about. Ask yourself why you aren’t sure about the specific item. Is it sentimental? Is it valuable? If you have the space, store it for a few months and see how you feel then. You want to make sure that every item is worth the space it takes up.
I had these thick, soft pajama pants that took up so much room in my drawer. Though I liked the design and softness, they never kept my legs warm and therefore didn’t serve a purpose beyond making me kinda happy. They weren’t worth the space they took up in my drawer and I have since decluttered them.
Finish The Job
Once you have separated everything you must finish the job. Put away the items you are keeping. Take photos of the items you are selling and post ads (if that is the route you are going). If you want to offer something to a family member or friend, contact them now. Lastly, if you can’t get to a thrift store immediately, put the items in your car so they are out of your home. (If you don’t own a car, then put the stuff by the door.) Do it now before you have time to reconsider an item or move on to anything else. With ads posted and your donation items out of the house it will really feel like you’ve completed the task.
I don’t always do this, but I think it’s important to living a healthy minimalistic lifestyle. Decluttering can be stressful. It may bring up uncomfortable memories or negative thoughts. After completing a category (or section of the house) I sometimes like to reward myself with something unrelated to material possessions. This could be watching a movie I’ve been wanting to see, lazily listening to music, or getting outside and exploring somewhere new. It’s healthy to get your mind off of material possessions for a while.
Below are some resources to aid you on your journey.