Decluttering your home can be an overwhelming project to tackle. It takes time. Think about how long it took to accumulate all your stuff. Decluttering your home won’t happen in a day, and likely won’t happen in a weekend. But the dream of a clutter free reality is totally possible for anyone who is willing to be honest with themselves about what they truly want their life to look like.
This post is all about decluttering your home.
No one sets out to accumulate a ton of clutter. It just happens over the years as we live our lives and accumulate birthday gifts, Christmas presents, souvenirs, other memorabilia, and practical items along the way.
And then one day we wake up and realize: it’s a bit much. How can we even think amidst the mess? How will we ever get it all organized? Will we ever be able to take a moment to ourselves when there is so much to do?
Clutter takes on many forms in our lives. It’s not just the physical stuff taking up space in our homes. It’s the tasks and activities that stress us out, stretching us beyond our capacity to enjoy life. Whatever form clutter takes on, it all takes up our precious time and energy.
Minimalism and Decluttering Your Home
I spent many years misplacing my energy into organizing efforts, not realizing that the real problem wasn’t that I just couldn’t seem to get organized. For me, it was that I hadn’t figured out how to, or been willing to, declutter.
I heard about The Minimalists years ago. I thought they had some good ideas, but didn’t latch onto the concept of minimalism as a way of life.
The big reason I didn’t embrace minimalism sooner is because I hadn’t critically evaluated my entire life and what I wanted my life to look like. Which requires extracting what you think everyone else is thinking about you. And I don’t think I was ready to do that, as ready as I thought I was to just be organized already. Once and for all.
Watching videos on YouTube of other regular people who are living as minimalists has inspired me to evaluate all the items in our home. As much as I thought we were living kind of minimal, I realize now that we were not. We still have a ways to go. But we are making major strides in our decluttering efforts.
Decluttering Your Home and Beyond
I don’t think there’s one right way to declutter. I think you just do it in whatever way works for you, until it’s done. And then once it’s done, it’s done. You do have to keep up with it. But it’s a new mindset. Where you are able to evaluate items as they come into your life and identify them as future clutter or something to keep. Or something to enjoy temporarily, but without the obligation of keeping it forever.
My husband and I have been working together to once and for all declutter our home over the past month or so. Whether you are doing this alone or with someone else in your household, these are some of the questions I have found myself asking that have helped us cut ties with a lot of stuff that was taking up space unnecessarily.
Decluttering Question #1: Do we use it?
This question is super helpful when finding the courage to let go of things that simply don’t have a purpose in your home. Letting go of things that you know you (or someone else) paid money for and that are in perfectly good condition might seem crazy at first.
When faced with this dilemma of whether or not to keep a perfectly good item, assess it from the practical standpoint of whether or not it is actually being used. If the answer is no, remind yourself that someone else will be happy to put this item to use after you donate it. You are doing something good for someone else. You are also doing something good for yourself, by creating space in your home for something new, even if that is simply the peace of a clutter free space.
If you find yourself unable to store everything in the logical storage place for it in your home, then it is time to declutter. If stuff falls out of a kitchen cabinet when you open the door, or you have a drawer in the kitchen that doesn’t quite close, that’s a good indication that some items may need to go.
Decluttering Question #2: Do we love it?
If it’s an item you don’t use, the next question to ask is if someone in the house loves the item. There is room in minimalism for whatever you want, if it’s something you or someone else in your household want to keep.
Sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate a select few special items from the clutter. This is a very personal decision, but it gets easier the more you do it. If you are really having a difficult time letting go of an item, but you no longer want to hang on to it, consider taking a picture of it.
Decluttering Question #3: Does this item add value to our lives?
We all get to define what we value. We might not have always been taught that, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Does it add value? If there’s no other good reason to keep it, is it contributing to my life in any meaningful way? Or would I be better off just letting it go and freeing up the space for something (or nothing) else?
This process is about questioning everything and defining what works for you and your family, not everyone else.
Decluttering Question #4: Do we need it?
It’s amazing how little we actually need when it comes to the stuff we hang on to in our homes. When I think of minimalism, I envision a space that holds just the essentials, with a select few cherished items sprinkled throughout. It is such a beautiful concept: the idea that we can exist in a completely peaceful space, free from the burden of clutter and excess.
This question is useful for items that aren’t sentimental. We tend to hang on to stuff just in case we might need it someday. When you look back over the past 6 months or year (or more) and realize you didn’t need the item, it may not be a need.
Also, consider how much money it would cost to purchase the item again if you ever need to. If it’s relatively cheap (like $20 or so) and you are pretty sure you aren’t going to need it, consider the fact that you could always buy it again if you were in a jam.
Decluttering Question #5: Where does the memory truly lie?
We have so much stuff and so many pictures and videos because we are afraid we are going to forget something. But oftentimes the photos, and our own memories, are enough. Selecting a few sentimental items from the past allows us to trust in our memories and our ability to move forward.
We have our memories, and we have plenty of reminders, more than we probably even realize. Our memories are not held in things. They are held within us, and in the ways we choose to share them with others.
We can be free to let go of those things that simply do not serve us and only take up space that could be put to far better use in our current lives. Even if it’s just completely clearing a space and leaving it empty for a while, or for always.
Decluttering Your Home is Freeing
After starting the process of decluttering, you will likely find that you are able to quickly organize spaces in your home. It is so freeing to be able to have a place for everything. To have organizing bins that are not overflowing. To be able to quickly tidy up any given area in a few minutes.
Life can be stressful, no matter what stage you are in. Decluttering and minimizing are helping me find my way to the freedoms of space and time I have dreamed about.
I hope these questions help you on your decluttering journey. I think we are all on a decluttering journey to some extent, because we are all constantly acquiring things and needing to assess how much stuff we can carry forth into the future with us.
This post was all about decluttering your home.
Let me know in the comments what helps you declutter. I would love to hear all about it!