I love my home. It is my happy place, quiet, full of light and blessed silence for most of the day. We are surrounded by green and wildlife and as I sit here typing with my two dogs at my feet, I feel good. These peaceful mornings are spent writing and reading. My afternoons are occupied with cleaning and organizing. I am keeping only the best of what we own, while getting rid of the rest. Time to declutter my way to lightness.
For example, yesterday morning after writing for a while, I dumped a drawer on my bed and went through it quickly. Choosing something to sort and streamline each day is part of my ongoing decluttering project.
I have been removing unnecessary items from every corner of our home while attempting to organize and simplify what remains. As a family, we are enjoying lighter living, a simple clean and unencumbered rebirth.
Frankly, I have been sorting and tossing, organizing and ordering for years, but this year we are getting into the real boxes from the attic and storage. Through multiple climates, ten states, and thirty moves, we have bought and sold many houses and their contents. It is staggering to consider the amount of stuff we have carted around. But this year, I have decided to go next level and really change it. My declutter has taken on a life of its own.
Specifically, we are letting go of the past and moving forward with our renewed marriage and renewed outlook.
With that goal in mind, I also want to share my new found lightness with you. To help readers move beyond the daily pickup, dishes, and laundry, here are some of the tips I have gathered while decluttering and organizing my way to a better home life:
Quick easy start: Basic clean up and instant declutter.
- Do a quick basic clean up of your overall space.
- Clear the surfaces of trash and debris.
- Clear the floors and return items to their rooms/homes.
- Toss the trash, wipe off the surfaces, sweep, and vacuum.
- Start a load of laundry, run the dishwasher..
Next, do your one spot a day organizing in 15 minute or 30 minute increments:
- Start with one drawer, one shelf, one file, or one closet. Go through every single item and get rid of what you can. With every clean drawer, you will feel better. Doing it one at a time is less overwhelming.
- Keep the best. Toss, shred, sell, or donate the rest. Toss is my favorite, but useful donations are a blessing to someone.
- Each time you clean or organize, REMOVE the no longer needed or wanted items from your house IMMEDIATELY. If you leave them sitting in the garage, you will have to deal with them later, a-gain. You will probably forget that you were planning to donate or toss and have to go through them again. Remove them, trust me on this. Finish that clean up with the removal or it will seep back into your space.
- Do another drawer, closet, shelf tomorrow. Remember, 15-30 minute increments. Like making your bed or cleaning your kitchen, put it on the daily to do list and just do it a little at a time. Every. day.
Next level for big satisfaction:
- Choose the worst disorganized overfilled offender, the place that gives you the hives to think about it, and do a basic clean up when you are feeling energetic. You will immediately feel lighter and get more energy for the next project.
- Don’t forget to reward yourself as you go. Not with stuff, but with experiences.
- In your excitement, get rid of something BIG that must go like a piece of furniture that is no longer used. That ugly chair or oversized scratched up coffee table makes you feel awful, so move it out. The space will invigorate you. We have been making trips to the local charity.
My husband and I acquired additional stuff through the deaths of our parents and grandparents, so we are up to our eyeballs in the stuff of life. Some of it is dear to my heart and I use it every day. Other items need sorting. My job is to go through the piles and figure out what is important. Keep some, toss some, give some away. Donate. It has been a big job, but I am doing it in small increments. 15 minutes a day on declutter jobs I don’t like.
Understandably, my husband and I are decidedly different in what we “collect,” but we both agree that the mounds and piles are going. A clean organized lighter, more beautiful home awaits us. We are working on it in earnest. Keep the best, get rid of the rest.
One day last month I spent over two days just shredding, but the lightness from being rid of all that paper and boxes of old files is staggering. Every time I think of being rid of all that paper and boxes of files and clutter, I feel giddy.
1. The more we reduce the amount of things we keep, the less we have to maintain, organize, or store.
How many hours do we spend on things we don’t use all the time? Tossed into the garage, closet, or attic, things you don’t use won’t get used any more than when they were underfoot. Let them go.
2. Freeing space for the things we really use and love will make us feel great.
Best method to make it work, keep it working:
- As you go, group like things together. Consolidate and put all the things related to an activity together. As you sort into grouping piles, toss the debris and allow yourself to trash the broken or useless. If you realize you no longer play golf or live where there are no hockey rinks, get rid of the items. It is okay to let go of your past.
- Make homes for all the things in a group. A closet for winter clothes for instance, a shelf for art supplies, or a section of your garage for home repair or gardening are all homes for groups of like items. Each group needs a home, so you will know where to find it when you need it.
- If they do not have a home, consider not keeping the items. Stuffing them into boxes and putting them into the attic where you won’t see them isn’t going to make you use them.
- Consolidate everything down to the essential and beautiful things that make your life amazing.
For peace of mind, maintaining order, or to step up your decluttering commitment:
- Place a moratorium on new purchases. Do not purchase anything besides food for the next 30 -60 days. Break your habit of shopping.
- Consider it a badge of honor not to add anything new until you have cleared the old.
- If you receive or buy something new, get rid of the thing it replaces.
- Additionally, when you buy a new top or new pants, remove something/anything from your closet, same with shoes, accessories, or any other personal items. Keep your closet full of things you love, not cheap “I bought it because it was on sale” clothes. If you don’t feel great in it, don’t keep it. Better to have a few items that feed your self esteem than to wear things that make you feel old, bad, fat, or frumpy.
Keep only the best and most useful items that you actually use. Toss, shred, sell, or donate the rest.
Remember, the less you keep, the less you have to store, maintain, move, or look at.
Ask yourself do you really need an item? Why do you need it? Does it have a specific important use? Does it make you happy to look at it, store it, or use it?
Why are you willing to create storage for something you haven’t used and forgot you had and that is covered with grime and honestly doesn’t even work?
That is stressful. Just remove it. Right now. While you are thinking about it.
Every item you remove will create a lightness inside that you cannot replicate any other way. Getting rid of the past and all its garbage is mind expanding.
I am the photo guru. Consequently, I had so many picture frames that every time I thought about it, I felt stressed. Boxes of framed photos, broken frames, and mats made me feel overwhelmed, so I went through them ruthlessly and got it down to a manageable group. I immediately tossed or donated the rest, so I could not would not change my mind. I feel so much better.
Remember to get it out of the house immediately, so your freshly organized space doesn’t refill.
Let go of the guilt of “I bought that and I need to use it.” Yes, you will use it, if you can find it and it hasn’t been broken or ruined by being tossed into a corner of your wet basement.
If something is really important to you, you should give it an important place in your home. If it is broken, in your way, or no longer needed, toss or donate.
The way to do that is to rid your home of the unimportant, uninspiring clutter of life. Your home should be about today’s you and your real life, the activities and things you truly want to participate in. How much time is being wasted maintaining things you don’t really want?
It is ok to keep a personal items from the past, but boxes and boxes?
Liberate yourself. Let some things go.