Declutter your life
There are many great reasons to declutter our lives and homes. They range from cutting down on housework – if we own less stuff, there are fewer things to clean and maintain – to the simple desire for a calmer life, one with more time and space for the people and things that bring us the greatest joy.
During 2014, after feeling continually busy, I decided to move towards a simpler life. To do this, I donated over half of my possessions to charity, stopped buying unnecessary stuff and simplified everything that remained. It was a lot of work and even a few tears, but on reflection, it was worth every minute of my time. As a result, my life feels lighter with more space, time and freedom.
My decluttering tips
Today I’m sharing my decluttering tips should you need a little help or motivation. When you’re decluttering, you could work on one room at a time, or you could address your possessions by type, for example, clothes, kitchen items and so on. Each area can be done in stages and approached as gently or as drastically as you wish. As with everything in life, it’s wise to go at your own pace and do what works best for you.
How to declutter your home
1. Getting started
Getting started can be tough especially when there are so many ways to procrastinate! To ease yourself in, why not set yourself a few small goals – like addressing a cupboard or drawer. When you see and feel the benefits, I’m sure you’ll be motivated to continue.
2. What to remove
The hardest part for me was knowing what to let go of, so came up with two questions: do I use it? and do I love it? With these questions in mind, the decision making was simple, and it helped me to let go of the things I was saving because I thought I might need them one day. You may wish to create your own decluttering rules, ones that align with your lifestyle.
3. Duplicate items
When it came to duplicates, I had an abundance of them; two tin openers, two bottle openers, hundreds of mugs and so on. I recommend taking a moment to think about what you use and what you can comfortably live without. I decided to consider how many things I use and what I need when my family and friends are visiting, and I let go of the excess. The process liberated my cupboards and made everything that remained easier to locate.
4. Out-of-date items
I decided to remove all my out-of-date food and toiletries. This generated more space, and it was liberating to let go of the toiletries and make-up I wasn’t using.
5. Unsure items
There were a few things I was unsure about letting go of, so I did a little research for reassurance. After Googling decluttering tips, I found an article that suggested boxing them up to see if you miss them. So, I put the items in a box and six months later I donated them all to charity!
6. Sentimental items
I scaled down my keepsakes and created one large box for sentimental items. I wouldn’t recommend letting go of your sentimental items, but if they’re taking up too much space and getting in the way, perhaps store them neatly away in boxes.
I’d been accumulating stuff for most of my life, so the decluttering process took a long time. I also found decluttering was at times an emotional task. There was a lot of guilt wrapped up in the things I’d spent money on and never used, and it took a lot of time to sort through everything. At times I felt overwhelmed – the process has certainly made me think twice before I buy anything new!
8. What to do with it all
Your unloved and unused items can be sold, given to family and friends, or donated to charity. I sold a few of my collectable items on eBay and Gumtree and I took the remainder to local charity shops. It was good to know it was all going to be re-used and nothing was going to landfill.
9. Have fun
Decluttering shouldn’t be a bore because the results are so positive. To make the task more enjoyable, I cranked up my music and took plenty of tea breaks. I also pulled out drawers and boxes and sorted through them while watching films. If you have a lot of stuff, you could even ask your family and friends to help you.
10. The onward journey
What I use now probably won’t be the same in the future, this means I’m always evaluating what I have. Getting into the habit of purging my belongings keeps the process simple. I probably take a few items to charity each month and it’s easy to keep on top of things because there’s less to manage.
If you have any decluttering tips to share, please leave them in the comments. And if you’re about to embark on a declutter, I wish you the best of luck!
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