Clutter can be a huge source of both stress and mess. It’s hard to think straight when you’re constantly bumping into things in your own home, and it can make you feel really messy. This is not what home should be.
Home should be the place you come to escape stress. Your source of comfort, your place to relax. Clutter gets in the way of this, and that’s why experts recommend decluttering for both your physical and mental health. A clean home is a well organized home, and it’s easier to feel good when you feel organized and in control.
So how do you get started decluttering? If you’re reading this article you’ve been doing some homework, and likely have discovered the myriad of methods available. The issue is finding an approach that’s sustainable, and that works for you and your home.
It is an unfortunate fact that a lot of de-cluttering approaches tend to be unrealistic and extreme. This is unfortunate because it increases the chances that you will end up giving up the system. That’s why I’ve developed tips and tricks for decluttering that are simple enough you can continue them at any time.
Your house won’t look absolutely perfect, but you will reclaim it from clutter and enjoy a clear place to come and think. This article is going to overview everything you need to know about getting started with a de-cluttering system, and how to set one up that you can actually live with.
What is de-cluttering anyway?
Simply put, de-cluttering is the act of getting rid of things you don’t (or no longer) need in your home. By reducing the amount of stuff you have to organize, you make cleanups easier and make the house run more efficiently. This doesn’t mean you don’t keep anything, and isn’t necessarily a minimalist approach, rather that you think about what you own and if you are still happy that you own it, or if it may be time for it to find a new home.
People use de-cluttering techniques in a variety of ways. The most intuitive is in house cleaning, and we’ve already touched on the fact that doing this alone will make you feel better. But there are other applications for de-cluttering.
What about your financial house? Are you keeping records for years knowing you’ll never be able to find them if you need them? What about mental baggage? Are you holding on to grudges knowing that there’s nothing to be done, but letting them rule your life? All of these domains are ones where the principles of de-cluttering can be applied. The key is to develop an efficient and streamlined area free of things that no longer need to be there.
Why is it important to de-clutter?
We’ve already begun to touch on this, but did you know that research backs up the claims that clutter causes stress? It’s hard to think straight or focus on one thing when there are 10-20 all around you.
In terms of the long term impact, being perpetually stressed has a host of bad effects. It can impact your mood, your health, and your mind.
That’s why it’s critical to de-clutter every now and then. Don’t purge your things every day, but every season or so go through the home and ask yourself if everything that is there really needs to be.
You’ll be shocked at how good this can feel, as tricky as it can be to learn at first. That’s what I’m here for, so relax and keep reading!
Getting started with a big de-clutter
The first time you de-clutter it’s always a bit overwhelming. You’re just getting into it, there’s a lot to be done, and it seems like your stuff is expanding rather than contracting. Don’t panic!
Just start off in one room at a time. Get something to hold the items you will be discarding, and pick up random things and ask yourself “do I need this?” The fuller those containers get, the lighter you will begin to feel – and the more motivated to keep going.
It is easier if you can keep an organization system in the items you’re getting rid of (books in one box, clothes in another, toys in a third). This will help in deciding how to dispose of the items (charity, giveaway, yard sale) and in itself can be relaxing.
Tips to help you continue
Once you get started, you’ll be surprised how quickly the flicker of motivation catches and before you know it you’ll be practically running through the house room by room. Here are some of the best tips I’ve found.
- When in doubt, begin. Beginning is the hardest part!
- De-clutter by item category, not by room. A lot of people try to go one room at a time, this can seem like a lot because it gets you stuck in a single room for hours at a time. Instead, try de-cluttering all your DVDs today, and see where that gets you.
- Don’t try to be perfect, try to be better – and know you’re already getting there!
Before you know it your home will start to appear in a form you haven’t seen before. It’s fun, cathartic, and relaxing. Enjoy!