White space is essential – in design and in our lives. Clearing the clutter in your physical space helps to clear the clutter in your mind as well.
This is why decluttering your home is so important. If you feel stressed out and overwhelmed, take a look around you.
Is your home a place of refuge and peace, or does it constantly feel messy and out of your control?
If only you could learn to be more organized, you tell yourself.
Would you believe me if I told you that organization is not what you need?
Trust me when I say that I love organization. I am a big fan of systems, routines, and habits.
Walking into a room where everything has a place and everything is in its place makes my heart go pitter patter.
A lack of organizational skills is not the root of your problem, however.
You do not need another tutorial on how to become more organized. What you need is less stuff.
Less is more
Our society is obsessed with the having of stuff, but there is a subtle movement brewing amongst the younger generation.
People are slowly discovering that living an abundant life is not about accumulating more things, but having less, so you can live more.
As a mom of three kids, I am acutely aware of how quickly things can accumulate.
It is easy to become overrun with things that we don’t use or enjoy if we are not intentional about the things that we buy or the gifts that we accept.
Over the years, I accepted a lot of hand-me-downs, for fear of not having enough.
The problem with that does not lie in utilizing second-hand goods; it is the attitude behind the acceptance of these gifts.
Again, there is nothing wrong with using second-hand items.
In fact, I advocate the use of hand-me-downs if the item is something you actually need, something you will use, or something that brings you joy – bonus points if the item fills all three of these requirements.
If you are accepting the item out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings, the idea that you can never have enough of said item, or obligation to oblige because it’s free, however, you need to learn how to say no.
The same rules apply when you are buying things brand new from the store.
Resist the urge to buy things you do not need, will not use, or do not love, for fear of missing out on a good deal.
If you are new to the concept of intentionality versus consumption, you will definitely benefit from decluttering your home.
Decluttering your home
In week five of the Simplify Your Summer Challenge, I am going to give you the tools you need to declutter your home once and for all.
You can start small with one area of your home, or build on the momentum and keep going until you have decluttered your entire house.
Eight questions to ask when decluttering your home
Below are some key questions to ask yourself when decluttering your home.
Also included are some basic guidelines to follow so you can easily decide what to keep, sell, donate, or toss.
Ask yourself these simple questions when faced with an item you are unsure about, and answer them honestly.
Once you answer these questions, you should know in your heart whether the item should stay or go.
- Have you used the item in the last year?
- Do you have a similar item that serves the same purpose?
- Does the item hold sentimental value or bring you joy?
- Would you pay money to keep the item?
- Do you have a concrete plan to use the item?
- Is the item broken, torn, or stained?
- Does the item fit with your current style or taste?
- Do you have the space to store the item?
The basic guidelines of decluttering your home
1 // Get rid of things you do not use
If you are keeping something you think you might use someday, but you do not know when or how it will be used, it’s time to let it go.
2 // Get rid of things that are broken, torn, or stained
If you haven’t fixed it by now, you aren’t going to fix it. Getting rid of it not only helps to clear the clutter but your to-do list as well.
3 // Get rid of duplicate items
If you have several items that serve the same purpose, consider keeping only what you really need and donating the rest.
4 // Get rid of things you would not purchase again
If you wouldn’t shell out money to keep it, or it no longer fits your style or decor, put it in the donate pile.
5 // Learn to let go
When you encounter items with sentimental value, decide whether or not you have a use for the item or the space to store it.
Letting go of things can be tough, but it is also incredibly liberating.
Find a way to use or repurpose those items that are most important to you, and let go of the rest.
Now, it’s your turn
The stuff that is taking up residence in your home and in your life has an underlying effect that you may not even notice until it is gone.
The less stuff you have, the less you have to clean up. Take a look around your home and evaluate what is taking up your space.
The things that take up space in your home also take up space in your heart and mind.
Choose one area in your home to tackle first – your closet, your kitchen, the junk drawer. Any of these would be a good place to start.