Being as this is the first week of the new year I have decided to put together a basic everyday decluttering post for those who have stumbled onto my blog looking for help with their New Year’s resolution to minimise their possessions. So without further adieu I present you with the basics of decluttering your home with the slow and steady approach.
Keep it simple ~ Everyday decluttering is about decluttering slowly and deliberately one item at a time. There is no need to disrupt your household by pulling everything out of a large area causing a huge mess, making rash decisions on what to get rid of and taking hours to regain control of the area.
Pledge to remove, on average, at least one item a day ~ Simply walk into a room spy something that you not longer need, use or care about and remove it to your departure point. If it is not convenient to do this immediately, make a note of the potential clutter items for later removal.
The departure point ~ Designate an out of the way area to place your decluttered items until you are ready to take the next step. The next step might be to through it in the bin, recycle it, sell it or donate it.
Start with the easy stuff ~ A surefire way to deter yourself and give up early in this mission is the make it too hard on yourself to begin with. So start by getting rid of the stuff that you care the least about and is easy to part with. As you get more excited about your progress you will become more ruthless.
Don’t reclutter while you declutter or ever again for that matter. Learning to let go is one thing learning not to acquire potential clutter is a whole other kettle of fish. It may take a little more willpower to achieve this status quo. I would suggest banning yourself from all other shopping except the essentials for at least three weeks. Read my Alternatives to Shopping post for ideas on how to keep yourself out of the shops. Hopefully after three weeks you will have strengthened your resistance enough to at least reduce recreational shopping if not eradication it as a pastime altogether. If you find yourself weakening and considering buying things you don’t need use the advice in this post by Cindy to make yourself think twice about a potential purchase.
There is no speed limit ~ If one thing a day is too slow for you declutter as many things as you like just be sure to keep within your comfort limit. Don’t set a pace too difficult to maintain or it will all get too hard. Speed up and slow down whenever it suits you but be constant in regularity. Try to do something everyday to maintain your momentum.
Be mindful about your decision making ~ Don’t declutter items just for the sake of getting rid of things. Give each item careful consideration you. You don’t want to find you are replacing items a month or two down the track because you got over zealous. Similarly don’t keep items for the wrong reason’s either. I have a declutter decision making guide to help you with this process so use it if you feel the need. You want this decluttering effort to be a lifestyle change not a mad dash to the finish line only to find yourself back at the starting point in another six months.
Be responsible about disposal ~ Please dispose of your decluttered items responsibly. Sell, donate or give away everything that is still usable, recycle the things you can and only put in the trash items that are no good for anything. Yes this can complicate the process but consider that your penance for accumulating stuff environmentally irresponsibly in the first place.
So that is it in a nut shell. In summary everyday decluttering is about reducing your belongings slowly but surely without the mess and back breaking drudgery. As little as one item a day will make a huge difference in the long run and is a lot less stressful than disrupting your entire household with one of those week long possession purging marathons that are a one off event rather than a lifestyle change.
(We will return to the normal routine of Mini Mission Monday next week.)
Today’s Declutter Item
This treasure chest has been around my house since Christmas 2000 it has escaped decluttering up until this point due to sentimental reasons. Yes I can still be a little sentimental about things at times. My husband purchased this box in which he secreted away my Christmas gifts during our first exciting winter Christmas in Seattle. He would go shopping on the weekends leading up to the big day, tell me to close my eyes of I was nearby when he returned with the latest addition and place it in the box. He even had the cheek to padlock it. Up until recently it contained keepsake clutter but now I have reduced that to a more reasonable level and this box is no longer justified. It has been sitting in my clutter collection point awaiting the final verdict to actually declutter it. I am ready to let it go. Now I wonder what took me so long, it is just a box after all and I still have my husband and my memories.