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Clutter is a huge burden. Eliminating clutter can reduce the time spent on housework by 40%! What could you do with a few extra hours in your week?!
I know from experience that getting rid of excess stuff makes a huge difference in my workload. I also know that it is hard to get rid of clutter! Where do you even begin? I want to talk a bit about what I have learned in my own journey. Today, we will cover the first step: why bother decluttering in the first place?
Why Bother Decluttering?
Let’s be clear. Clutter isn’t just about our homes. It creates barriers to our goals and leads to feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelm takes a toll on our homes and our emotions. Living in a home that is bursting at the seams makes it hard to be productive and positive in life. How will you ever be able to enjoy your home if you look around and see nothing but work?
Even worse, feeling overwhelmed makes your efforts to accomplish everyday tasks feel pointless. Hopeless. Depressing. The good news is that there are a few ways to cut through the crap. Start uncovering the potential that your home has. The first step? Figuring out what your true goal is.
Related: 6 Steps To Organize Your Kids’ Toys Once and For All
Decide On What You Want To Feel In Your Home
In order to really achieve a functional space, you have to decide exactly what you want to get out of a room. How do you want that room to make you feel? What purpose will it serve? Does it need to be pretty for you to feel good, or just functional and clean? Get crystal clear about what you really want and need out of a space before you start doing anything else. Having a goal will make your progress tangible!
Related: Five Mindset Changes To Help Keep Your Home Clean and Tidy
Give Yourself Permission To Declutter
Before you start trying to sift through all of your stuff, get real with yourself. When it comes to struggling with clutter, sometimes the problem isn’t that you want to have all these things. It could be that you feel obligated or gain some kind of security by having them. This is a psychological hurdle that won’t be addressed unless you choose to dig deep and figure out why it’s there in the first place.
I know that I struggled with hoarding upcycling items-aka garbage-because I couldn’t afford to buy craft supplies. Hoarding trash and turning it into something is a great hobby(yep, still a fan of upcycling!), but it was unhealthy when it started to become a storage problem. Chris always complained about my junk, and when push came to hove and I got rid of over half of our stuff, I realized that he was right. Most of the “treasures” I had stashed could be replaced for about a dollar, and I had been keeping for years. It was not worth the space it was taking up or the overwhelm it was contributing to.
You Are In Control
Decide that it is okay to let go of things. Give yourself permission and authority over what stays and what goes. Dig deep inside of yourself, push everyone else out, and take control of your life. Ask yourself these questions when you are sorting, and then follow through with that gut response that you get.
I understand that sometimes the hardest part of decluttering is dealing with other people. When we moved from our parents home to our new home, we took almost everything that they had left so that the renters could move in. It has been about two years and I am finally reaching the end zone when it comes to decluttering.
My grandparents and other family members had given my mom so much stuff. These items were mostly heirlooms that we “weren’t allowed” to get rid of. She never had the heart to refuse to take the items and felt obligated to take care of something that someone else valued. To my mom, it was just more junk. Expecting another person to value an item that you treasure is completely unfair!
If you are in this boat, there is a way to handle it. First of all, remember that you are going through this cleansing process in order to reclaim your home and your happiness. If someone you love has a problem with you letting go of things they gave you, they just don’t understand why you are doing this. Have a conversation with anyone that you are concerned about hurting in order to explain why you are going through all of your things. Explain that you only have so much room, and energy to take care of it all. Let them know that you will be getting rid of x amount of stuff, and ask if they would like anything specific back just in case it doesn’t make the cut. Explain that the clutter is negatively impacting your life.
If you are doubting yourself, don’t! I am giving you permission to cut out all of the junk that you don’t want so that you can focus on the things that bring you happiness! Those things can be materialistic, like a clean home full of items that you love, or it can mean getting rid of the stuff that is stealing your time and energy so that you can focus on your true path. I know it’s hard, but you can do this.
Decluttering Is A Process
As much as I wish it were, decluttering isn’t something you do just once so be ready to learn about yourself. Try to accept making these decisions. The sooner you get in control of what comes into your home the better. Try to be mindful of what you use and what you struggle to keep sorted in your everyday life so that you can make educated decisions about what you may or may not need.
In my home, being organized and decluttered means that we have more time for fun and family. I get to enjoy relaxing because I don’t feel overwhelmed by my task list. My family helps keep things clean because it is easy to keep organized with less stuff. We aren’t running around looking for keys and shoes every morning, because we know right where they are. This change equals freedom!
The benefits of not living in chaos are great. The path to that vision is hard. Give yourself time and allow yourself to really breathe in the process while you sift through your stuff. You can do this.