Time to declutter! In this episode of Simple Living Radio, I explain the process I went through this past spring to do some major decluttering. We are going to downsize our house by about half in (hopefully) less than a year from now, and so I was determined to get rid of as much extraneous stuff as I could so that I wouldn’t have to when it came time to pack.
First, let’s define clutter: things you don’t need, but that are taking up space in your home nevertheless. Clutter needs to be gotten rid of, not stored. I had all sorts of clutter everywhere. Garden tools on bookshelves, a pile of papers on the kitchen counter, toys everywhere except the toy shelves.
The most efficient and effective way to declutter is to, first of all, focus on just one area at a time. One drawer or one room. If you think about doing the whole house, you will go into overwhelm and then not declutter anywhere. Next, you remove everything in the room from its place and go through each item one by one, and sort into three boxes or bags: one for keeping, one for giving, one for tossing.
Be sure that the items you place in the give-away pile are in good condition. Threadbare, ripped, and/or stained clothing; appliances that no longer work; dishes with big chips or cracks; and so on, need to be trashed, not given to a charity. Do unto others.
Once you have your three piles, put away the things you want to keep. Organize them in containers, and/or arrange them on shelves, inside cabinets, etc., according to where they belong. Books go on bookshelves, not chairs or the lid of the toilet tank, for example. What about things you’re not sure about? I ended up with some toys that I wasn’t sure Benjamin was through playing with. If he asked for the toy in the next few weeks I would have felt bad, and had had to endure a tantrum.
I compromised. I put such toys away in a closet, and decided that if he didn’t miss them in the next month, then I could safely give them or throw them away.
Decluttering gives you a sense of peace, which helps to reduce your mental stress. Unfortunately, it also is an ongoing process. Get in the habit of decluttering some part of your house every day, even if it’s just the coffee table or kitchen counter, and life will get simpler.
Stay happy and healthy,