Need some decluttering Tips? If you think your home is a mess, why settle? You can start having a clean and organized home in no time! Keep reading for some expert decluttering tips. I will not promise you it is easy, but I assure you that it is able to be done.
Decluttering Tips For A Stress-Free Home
“I like the spare look,” my husband told me one-day last autumn, approving of the way I had moved around some of the living room furniture in a way that made it appear less congested.
A few days later, he came home to an empty room where our large sectional couch used to be. I told him he should be careful what he asks for.
Maybe it didn’t happen quite like that. The truth is, my husband and I decided together to sell our sectional, and he knew I had placed an online ad to sell it. Where I live out in the country, things don’t sell as quickly as they do in more urban areas, so the ad had been posted for a week or two. Then suddenly it was gone.
I have been working on downsizing for a long time, intermittently for years. The couch plan did include the purchase of a new much smaller couch, and we eventually did so. But in the interim few weeks, when the living room was so empty I could hear my voice echo, I couldn’t help feeling that I might have gone a notch overboard in my clean-out endeavors.
There are a lot of reasons people amass collections of belongings, and just as many reasons why many of those same people would like to have fewer of them. Clearing out clutter is a tough thing to do, but it is worth it.
Clearing out clutter is a tough thing to do, but it is worth it.
Here are a few reasons why I think my life is better off without clutter:
- Less stuff is easier to keep clean. Dusting, vacuuming and tidying up feels easier when working around fewer objects.
- Having a lot of possessions can start to feel like it owns you, rather than the other way around. I feel freer and more in control without a lot of things cluttering up my house and my mind.
- It is easier to find things when I have less things to keep track of. Heading out the door without having to search for keys, and starting a project knowing where all the tools and supplies are is far less stressful than having to start out with an exasperating treasure hunt.
I grew up in a home that was always full of clutter and usually messy, and have striven for most of my adult life to avoid following in those footsteps. Luckily I am an overall tidy and organized person, but I’m in love with stuff. It is a real challenge for me to say no to a perfectly good piece of junk. I could just fix that hinge and fill that crack and put that leg back on and sand down the top and—or maybe not. For all my good intentions, I often end up with way too many projects on my hands, taking up space and making me feel stressed that I haven’t gotten to them yet.
I love things. Not only as they are, but for their potential. In addition to project pieces, I like to keep clothing that might fit me when I lose ten pounds, an old magazines I might get around to reading someday, and a stack of butter-wrapping paper just in case I take up large-scale butter-making someday. In my mind, that always made sense.
But when seeing others struggling under the weight of similar belongings—a relative who doesn’t let anyone into her house because there’s nowhere to sit, or the dear friends who celebrate Christmas with their grown children in only one room of the house because they are embarrassed to have photos taken in any of the other rooms—I was more able to assess my own situation objectively. I wasn’t at a place that seemed extreme, but I sometimes felt like I was suffocating under all my stuff.
I used to know a woman for whom keeping up with dishwashing was a nightmare. Every time I stopped by, her sink was overflowing with dirty dishes. I would often help her get them washed up, and it was quite a chore. It occurred to me that part of her problem was that she owned so many dishes. She had at least twenty bowls, probably twice that many plates, and so much silverware that she couldn’t fit it all in the drawer. As a single woman, she needed only a fraction of that collection. I frequently encouraged her to get rid of some of her dishes, but she resisted my counsel and continued to be crushed under the volume of her dishes.
If you are wondering if your life would be better off with less clutter, ask yourself these questions:
1. Does your home embarrass you enough that you don’t let people see it? No matter how mild or severe your level of clutter is, if it’s over your personal comfort level, a change is in order.
2. Does the amount of stuff you have make you feel anxious or stressed or frustrated? If so, maybe it’s time to clear your way out from under some of it.
But then comes the big question—how to get it done, or where to even get started?? I will not promise you it is easy, but I assure you that it is able to be done. Neither will I tell you that I have done it perfectly, but I do have some general guidelines that have been helpful to me.
I will not promise you it is easy, but I assure you that it is able to be done.
Here are my general guidelines to reduce clutter:
Do just a little at a time. If you take away just one single point, make it this one. One room, one tabletop, one corner, one closet—start there and stay focused. The satisfaction of having a nice neat shelf can inspire you to do another, and then another. Strive to have one completely organized room. Having that single perfect room makes me happy and reduces my anxiety about getting the rest done.
If you are able to get most of your house under control but still need a clutter corner, give yourself permission to do so. If possible, give yourself a closet or even a whole room in which you can set things to be sorted later. Knowing that it’s contained in a specific space keeps it from feeling too overwhelming.
Maintain the ground you gain. Once you get an area under control, keep it that way. Pick up as you go instead of letting it pile up for later.
Do it and be done with it. Don’t pick up clutter from one spot and move it to another so that you have to deal with it again later. That keeps it on your plate and prevents you from moving on. If you’re going to move clutter, put it where it belongs.
Remember that material goods do not equal relationships. Of course you will want to keep treasures and mementos that make you feel close to people you miss in your life, but you can’t let the need to do so run your life. You may want to keep Great Aunt Hattie’s jewelry collection or letters from a lost love, but keep it in perspective.
Do not acquire more goods than you absolutely need. This is a key component. If you do not buy it, you will not have to store it or make the decision whether or not to keep it. Reduce your clutter stress by reducing consumerism.
If you are on the fence about buying something, ask yourself three questions:
1. Where will I store it? Will it replace something that I will throw out, or will I need to find a new spot for this?
2. Will I truly be better off for owning this?
3. Sure, I can upcycle it into a thing of beauty, but will I? How many other projects are in line before it?
In addition to these general rules of thumb, consider this collection of unique de-cluttering hacks:
- I have a friend whose teenage daughter is often overwhelmed by a messy room, so much so that it’s hard for her to make her way through the clutter. My friend’s solution is to have her daughter put all the clutter into a box and set it aside. Now the room looks organized, and she can focus on what she needs.
- Another friend sets her personal bar of what to keep very high. If the very touch of that object does not give her joy, out it goes. This of course does not include items for personal care or cleaning or consumption, but everything else must pass the test of unbridled joy.
- Many people draw a line in the sand at one year—if they have not worn it, used it, or played with it within that time, they throw it out or donate it.
- Many people have an Achilles’ heel—the whole house is kept reasonably free of clutter except for the craft room, or collection of tools, or beloved kitchen supplies. If it doesn’t impede your peace of mind or your household function, you may not need to worry about it.
- If the item in question is still perfectly usable, try to rehome it to someone who will treasure it as much as you do. Sending it to a good home will make it easier to let it go.
Everyone has his or her own level of comfort with clutter. A room that consists of only a small table, two chairs, and a single wall hanging might be too austere for some. For others, a busy crowded room is too constricting. Once you determine which end of the clutter continuum works best for you, I encourage you to use my tips in a way that will allow you to enjoy a life of freedom… Freedom from stuff.
Need more tips on how to declutter? Check out this video from SuzelleDIY:
So do you think these tips are enough to get you started on living an uncluttered life? Let us know below in the comments!
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