I’ve been quite happy lately, going through my home and purging some of the possessions we’ve managed to gather in the five years that we’ve lived here. I dislike clutter a great deal, but my husband is something of a pack rat.
So I was thrilled when he recently announced that he wanted to get rid of things (except his collection of action figures, of course) that don’t serve a purpose in our home. I couldn’t wait to get started.
While our home certainly wasn’t the most cluttered of places to begin with, it was still starting to feel a little too full for me. So going through everything, and determining what to keep, and what to haul down to the thrift store, was a cathartic experience.
However, it was still a little bit hard to know where to begin, especially since one room was full of odds and ends that we stuck there for no reason. I decided to approach things methodically in order to be more effective.
1. Start with One Small Area
I could have become overwhelmed with the thought of de-cluttering the entire house at once. Instead, I decided to concentrate on one small area at a time.
Some people find it easier to tackle the biggest problem, or the messiest area first. This is more my style. I like to start with the biggest mess while I am energetic and excited about the project. Then, as I wind down, I don’t feel overwhelmed, since what remains is a smaller problem.
Others, though, like to work up to the biggest mess. Decide what works for you, and then start with a specific area, with identifiable boundaries. Concentrate on chunking out the work, and it is less onerous.
2. Consider the Advantages of De-Cluttering While You Work
Think about all the advantages you will enjoy once you are done de-cluttering. I like the feeling of increased open space and breathing room when I’m done de-cluttering. There are other advantages as well.
If you are taking items to a thrift store to donate, think about the people you are helping. You can also hold a yard sale. View that pile of clutter as cash, or at least a way to help someone else, and it’s easier to keep going — and easier to decide to part with something that might have sentimental value.
3. Look for Ways to Avoid Adding to the Clutter
As you go about de-cluttering your home, don’t forget to look for ways to avoid adding to the clutter later. Even though it has been hard for me to part with some of my books, they really were getting to the point where they were overwhelming me. Instead, I decided to focus (one shelf at a time) on identifying the books that I most wanted to keep.
I have a Kindle now, so there is no real reason to buy physical books that I read for pleasure. I also sorted through the free review copies I received of many books, and decided to organize them to give away as well.
For the future, we plan to avoid adding to the clutter by carefully considering purchases. In many cases, it is unnecessary to buy items. By spending mindfully, we can reduce what we have the house, ensuring that it doesn’t fill up with useless items again.
What are some of your tips for de-cluttering?