Declutter your home – and your life – with this simple 3 step process that will help you avoid overwhelm, and create space for what really matters. Time to become a total spring-cleaning legend.
Too much ‘stuff’ makes me so maaaad.
Excess clutter around the house seriously stresses me out; to such an extent that I happily label myself as a minimalist.
I recently told my mum how stressed I felt about my partner moving in to my tiny studio apartment (and bringing a lot of ‘stuff’ with him) and she said, “yeah, you were always a bit weird that way” (lol, thanks mum).
Having a lot of clutter has always made me feel physically burdened.
Plus, I love the freedom and adventure of travelling, and owning a lot of stuff makes that seem hard:
- Where would it all go when I leave?
- Would someone have to look after it? (pain in the butt)
- Would I have to store it? (waste of money)
Living abroad and spontaneous long-term travel has been possible for me – at least in part – due to my simple living habits.
However, I’m still human, so I often manage to accumulate a whole lot of dross without even really realising.
This is where decluttering comes in handy.
Less clutter, more freedom
When we declutter, we create space.
Physical space and mental space, that is.
When we declutter, we’re forced to evaluate what we use, what serves a purpose, what brings us value, and what’s truly meaningful to us.
For example, I try only to own things that are either useful (such as kitchen utensils), or bring me joy (such as my paints, my yoga equipment, or my Kindle).
When we only own:
- What’s useful
- What serves a purpose
- What brings us joy
…Then we’re surrounded by only these things, which increases the chances of us actually using them.
Nowadays, if I’m bored, I’m much more likely to grab my paints and have a jam session with my canvas (because I see them there on my shelf), rather than just killing time by scrolling on social media.
Tidy house, tidy mind
Decluttering essentially helps us simplify our lives, and simplicity always seems to lead to a sense of calm.
As my mum always used to say, ‘tidy house, tidy mind’.
And let’s face it, it’s much easier to keep a house tidy if there’s less stuff to tidy up in the first place.
Decluttering also encourages good habits for the future; onve we’ve done it, we’ll be less likely to continue mindlessly accumulating stuff.
Instead, before we buy, we’ll question whether this item will truly bring us value, or serve a definite purpose.
How to declutter, one room at a time
It’s important not to overwhelm ourselves when decluttering, so I recommend tackling one room at a time.
To get started, all you’ll need is something to store your stuff in (no need to buy anything, cardboard boxes or plain old bin bags will do).
1. Get rid of anything that stresses you out
If there’s anything you own that:
- Doesn’t work
- Has rips/holes in it
- Stresses you out (e.g. it’s difficult to maintain)
Do yourself a giant favour and get rid of it. Life’s too short.
For example, I have a pair of socks that really stress me out. I know, it’s weird. But they don’t match anything, they make my feet too warm, they’re a little too small… and yet I still wear them, because they were a gift.
Then one day I was like, enough with this nonsense! Why am I torturing myself with a pair of socks?! (*facepalm*).
I threw those bad boys out with the trash and relished it. I suggest you do the same.
2. Pack up everything you haven’t used in at least 6 months
Be ruthless here. Pack everything you haven’t used in at least 6 months (or 3 months, if you want to go hardcore).
- Items with sentimental value
- Expensive things you don’t use
- Clothes which still have the label on
- Gifts from other people
These items can be the hardest to get rid of, because we usually keep them out of politeness, or ‘just in case’ we need them.
Recognise your ‘just in case’ syndrome when it rears its ugly head, surf the urge to cling on to the item, and bravely throw it in the box.
And if you do end up needing it, you’ll still be able to retrieve it (see the next step, yo).
3. Put the box somewhere you won’t see it
Move your box somewhere hidden – for example, in your garage, under the bed, or in an unused cupboard.
And then, we wait.
Set a reminder in your calendar to check in on your box in 3-6 month’s time.
If you’ve put something in the box and find yourself in desperate need of it, grab it as required (but dodge the temptation to get any other stuff out).
If there are items in there that have been left untouched, you can pretty much guarantee it’s safe to let these things go.
Take the leap and sell or donate the stuff; let somebody else get value from your beloved items.