A Step-by-Step Guide to Decluttering

Moss and Fog has an intriguing post about decluttering. It offers ways to get rid of the things you do not need and how to store thing you want to keep, which is useful to make room in your home. Go check it out. -via Nag on the Lakeā€‹

However, I've been slowly decluttering my house for some time now, and I also have a few tips that might help you. The hardest part of the project is getting started, because it seems like a monumental task. Getting started is easier when you begin by telling yourself that it doesn't have to be done by a certain deadline, and that every little bit is a step toward the goal. Remember that. One task every day will get you in the habit of working on the project. Some days you will get a lot done, and other days you won't, but since you don't have a deadline, forgive yourself for the lapses and get started again.

"Getting something done" every day doesn't have to include actually getting rid of things. The sorting and cleaning are worthwhile tasks, too. Things to trash go by the trash bin or into the truck bed. Giveaways go in one room, or in your car trunk. And you don't have to finish sorting any particular type of thing to make a run to the thrift store, recycling center, or the dump. Just do it when you have enough to justify a trip. That also goes for having someone pick it up for you.

While raising children, I got into the habit of keeping everything in case it might come in useful later. A few years later, you have to ask yourself honestly, what are the odds that I will ever really use this? Or that I will use this much of it? Out it goes. It's not ever going to be useful after being stored for years anyway. Sure, you'll have to buy one thing you just got rid of, but getting out of that mindset is worth it to get rid of a ton of clutter.

If you think your superfluous stuff may have any value, have a yard sale. It's a lot of work, but satisfying. You might even make some money. But you'll get tired, and the idea of hauling any unsold stuff back into the house for storage will change your mind about its worth. Take it straight to a charity dropoff or to the dump instead. You won't miss it.

Confront your feelings about sentimentality. Grandma loved her collection of knick knacks, but do you? There is no obligation to keep it all. Pick out one or two things to remember Grandma by, and give the rest away. Others may want to remember Grandma, too, or they might want to start collecting themselves. More power to them. As for your own collections, which of them give you an ongoing thrill, and which are taking up too much room? Sure, you like baskets, but do you really need a dozen of them? Always look for an opportunity to give possessions to friends and family. If they need it or want it, they will appreciate it, which is more than that stuff is worth cluttering up your house.

Over time, you will start to see daylight. The more you get rid of, the more you will enjoy the activity of getting rid of things. Your home will look better, you'll be able to find things easier, and cleaning will be simpler. The trick is to get started. Whether you ever get finished is another question, but you will make progress, and that will feel good.

(Image credit: Jonathan Billinger)

#clutter #decluttering #minimizing  

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