Happiness is a place between too much and too littleFinnish proverb
A step by step guide that will show you how to declutter your home without feeling overwhelmed.
Decluttering means deciding which unnecessary items to get rid of, right? Wrong! Instead, think of it as deciding which necessary items you want to keep.
During my retail career, I managed a kitchen / cook-ware store. Some 99% of customers skimped on both quality and price when it came to purchasing ‘everyday use items’.
However, the majority of them agreed when I told them, ‘for the very reason, that you will use it every day, we should find you something that you really like, are proud to use and will last, surely?`
Gone are the days of saving the good stuff for special occasions. Surround yourself with things that you love and love to use – every day is your new special occasion.
1. BEFORE YOU START
Sit down and take a moment to reflect, ask yourself: ‘what do I want from my home?’
Picture yourself surrounded by the laughter of good friends at your dinner party or cuddled-up reading, in the comfort of a cozy armchair, find your purpose.
How do you want to use this room? What are you creating that space for? What are the pieces in your wardrobe that match your lifestyle? Are you planning to prepare easy and time-saving meals? or is it your dream to cook Michelin-starred dishes?
Be meaningful about your decluttering.
Once you know what you want to keep (and why!) it will be easier to let go of all the rest.
2. FIRST SET YOUR CRITERIA
A clear out works best when it’s organized and this means setting guidelines before starting. If you do you’ll make better choices and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
When I started decluttering my kitchen, I decided to get rid of anything that couldn’t fit in the dishwasher. Meanwhile, when I tidied-up my closet I decided to say goodbye to anything that I hadn’t worn in the last two years.
The clear criteria helped me stay on track when losing focus.
However, not everything will necessarily fall into your guidelines, so please do not feel guilty if you need to set aside a ‘maybe’ pile to revise later, perhaps with a fresh criteria.
Just make sure it doesn’t become a huge pile of ‘just in case’, such as that pair of skinny jeans you wore the first time you met your husband or that unboxed sewing kit from years ago… as you recall the countless unrepaired sock holes.
3. DEALING WITH SENTIMENTAL ITEMS
The most difficult part will be when it comes to sentimental items. Letting go of an item that reminds us of a happy moment in our life doesn’t mean letting go of the memory of it.
Decide which items are part of important memories and see if you can find a place for them in your everyday life. When I cleared out my house, I purposefully chose select items from my daughter’s early years’ wardrobe that I did not want to let go of and instead – I made a quilted blanket with them which adorns my daughter’s bed. Every night she loves going through her favorite patches and it’s actually become a special shared moment together. Everything else was donated.
4. MAKING PEACE WITH YOURSELF
The main reason why the majority of people struggle to start the decluttering process is the fear of facing the waste of money accumulated over the years.
The burden that will pile up before your eyes will be painful. But it’s ok to feel angry or upset, as long as you bear in mind that you are doing this for yourself.
A way to ease the guilt and lessening the damage is by selling when possible or donating to others who might need it. A kind act is never wasted.
Lastly, don’t forget you are doing it to achieve a happier, everyday life; this will save you lots of money in terms of needed massages or that well deserved glass of wine!
5. AFTER DECLUTTERING
Decluttering teaches an important lesson about considered shopping and once it’s done you should question the real need of an item before splashing your cash on it.
Less clutter means less to clean, less to organize, less to store and less mess. Your favorite items won’t be lost anymore at the back of a drawer and it will be so much easier to find a place for everything.
Decluttering expert, Marie Kondo, supports the logic that every belonging needs to have its place. Get into the habit of putting things back where they belong after using it, so you know where to find things when you need them again.