Decluttering your house is one of those things that is easier said than done. The clutter in your home could have accumulated over years and years of indecision. It can be incredibly overwhelming, and the process of cleaning up the clutter is often more stressful than just living in the clutter. But the payoff is worth it. Living in a clutter-free home will significantly improve your quality of life, making the stress of decluttering worth it.
But, where do you start? You can’t just grab a trash bag a box and go nuts. You need to have a plan. The absolute first thing you have to do before you can accomplish anything is believing it’s possible.
For some of you reading this, your house has probably been cluttered for so long that you’ve given up hope of ever being clutter free. If that’s you, then the first step for you is to really believe that you can do this. Your home can be clutter free. You will never get rid of the clutter in your home if you don’t remove the clutter from your mind and allow yourself to believe it’s possible.
The “Hurricane List”
When you’re ready to start, a first thing to do is to decide what you would replace if you lost everything. If a tornado or a hurricane came through and just destroyed everything you own, what would be the first few things you replaced?
Don’t do this sitting in your home. Go to a friends house a coffee shop, or the library; somewhere where you can’t see any of the stuff sitting in your house. Just sit down and make a list of everything that would be on your list to replace immediately. Don’t worry about model numbers or brand names either. If your TV is the first thing you’d replace, just write TV. Once that is done, you can go back to your house and start cleaning, armed with a list of the things that are truly important to you.
Short, Focused Bursts
Once you’re ready to clean, it is best to work in short, focused bursts. It took a long time to accumulate the stuff, so it’ll take a long time to organize it and get rid of it. Don’t expect to complete a marathon session and get it all done in one day. Make a plan that targets specific areas you’re going to declutter, clean up, and organize over an extended period of time. Then stick to that plan, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Something that works for a lot of people is picking one room, and then working on it in 30-minute bursts. Declutter for 30 minutes, and then rest for 30 minutes. The point of this is to avoid the emotions and stress that come along with decluttering a room that hasn’t been touched in years. When you start, set a 30-minute timer, and drop whatever it is you’re doing when it goes off and walk away. Leave the space completely and allow yourself to detach for 30 minutes before you come back. Then rinse and repeat.
Utility Over Sentiment
Anyone that has decluttered their house before will tell you the absolute hardest thing to do was get rid of sentimental items. It’s very easy to get attached to things. Maybe you’ve had them since you were a kid, they have a special meaning to you, or because they represent the hard work that went into buying them. That’s completely normal; everyone has things that are sentimental to them. When you’re trying to declutter, though, you need to be able to separate yourself from those feelings.
What Does This Do For Me That Nothing Else Does?
Think about the utility of the item you have. Why is it unique? What does it do? Can it do more than one thing?
Do I Own Anything Else That Can Replace This?
This is the point where you line up all of your staplers and decide which one is best. Because really, who needs eight staplers? Pick the stapler that does the best job, and that holds the most value to you. The other seven aren’t necessary.
Does This Have Sentimental Meaning To Me?
When you’re deciding which appliances or electronics to keep, those first two questions are pretty easy to answer. However, when you start looking at things like old photos and knick-knacks, utility doesn’t really apply. Sentimental value is important; we’re not here to downplay what something means to you. Just try not to get overwhelmed by how much everything makes you feel versus what it does for you and how much space it takes.
You can apply those three questions to everything you own. Give yourself the appropriate time to review everything instead of deciding a room or closet is fine just the way it is. It probably isn’t. Even if it seems okay to you, that box in your office full of old papers needs to be shredded. You’ll be much happier when they’re gone and they’re not crowding you at your desk.
Take A Deep Breath And Go
This won’t be easy. This is going to take time. You aren’t on an episode of hoarders, so there isn’t going to be a fleet of dump trucks and a team of movers and psychologists that show up to help you out.
But you can do this on your own or with the help of a select few loved ones. Start out by making your plan. Take it room by room and day by day. Work in thirty-minute bursts and don’t overextend yourself and get overwhelmed.
Once you’re done, you are going to thank yourself for working so hard to get everything cleaned up. You deserve all the advantages of living in a clutter-free home.
This guest post was graciously shared by Anna Kucirkova. Anna speaks 3 languages and has a passion for kids and writing. While she has been to many places in Europe and SE Asia she still wants to explore the rest of the world. The link to her original piece is here.