I'm on a mission to make life simpler for me and my family and I'm starting with our home. Here's my plan for living with less stuff and clearing all the clutter from our own home.
Anyone else feeling the overwhelm of life right now?
Oh good, it's not just me!
And I'm ready for a change.
I've been itching to clear the mental clutter from my mind and I I think it all starts with all the material possessions in our home.
Here are the steps I'm taking to make better decisions, have fewer items and hopefully see my stress levels go down.
Living With Less Stuff and Clearing Clutter
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With each New Year, there is hope for a fresh start.
The first step in living with less clutter is to begin the hard work. A step in the right direction, no matter how large or small is still something to celebrate!
Just do it!
And the great thing is that every little bit counts!
I think you could ask anyone if they have too much stuff and I bet the majority would say yes!
There is something very appealing to me about the minimalist lifestyle and I've been learning that it can be more beneficial than just tackling a clutter problem.
Are people happier with less stuff?
I know this goes against the well-loved old saying 'retail therapy'. And taking time to treat yourself is something I think is important to do. Unless it becomes too much.
But overall, clutter not only affects our physical health by introducing dust, mold and possibly fire hazards.
It also can truly impact our mental health as well. Scientific studies have shown that a cluttered home can impact not only your mental state, but also your social life.
Suddenly you aren't inviting friends over, or there isn't space to do the things you love.
Your home should be a sanctuary where you can rest and recharge instead of being your enemy that is taking over your life.
What happens when you clear clutter?
I could go off on a tangent with what I've learned from many articles I've read on why we should declutter.
Joshua Becker, a minimalist living guru, has an amazing website full of tips on how to learn to live with less. This article was especially helpful for me!
But the bottom line is what is the outcome of living with less?
Less stress and a simpler life.
Think about the act of spending time cleaning all the little things that pile up year after year.
Now imagine that half of those items were gone.
Cleaning would take less time and allow for a fuller life with those around you instead of devoting your time to unnecessary things.
How do you declutter when you don't know where to start?
I get it! I truly do!
You are already in a state of overwhelm.
The thought of starting any decluttering method can make anyone want to bring the tires to a screeching halt.
And I'm right there with you. I'm juggling three businesses we run while also working part-time for a company, and transporting a busy teen all over the place.
So carving out time to tackle this is a very daunting task. There are a few articles that actually encouraged me, like this blog post.
Here's where I've started and hopefully this will help you get the ball rolling.
1. Start with items you aren't emotionally tied to
The first place I started was with physical stuff that wasn't sentimental, like cleaning out the fridge or pantry, or going through your bathroom.
A fridge or bathroom shouldn't take much time to organize and declutter. Plus expired food and old makeup need to be thrown out on a regular basis.
And there aren't any items that I would be upset if they went in the trash bin.
So if the act of tossing anything freaks you out, don't focus on the entire house.
Start small with areas of your home that won't take a lot of time or tug at your heartstrings.
2. Tackle the nonstop paper clutter
One of the most challenging forms of clutter is paper.
Now this is a big step for us.
I'm married to someone who held on to his high school music papers for more than 20 years.
And we have 2 huge bins in our basement filled with hundreds of drawings our boys made when they were little that he won't let go of.
It's taking up storage space and we honestly never go through them and look at them.
Our plan is to move them to digital and start the process of scanning these to keep forever and only hold on to our most favorite drawings.
We already started this process with our taxes last year.
But receipts, mail, newspapers, school fliers, medical forms never stop hitting our inbox and can easily get out of control.
And it's something that could be handled on a daily basis.
Blogger Abby Lawson writes about how she is using the Marie Kondo method to control the paperwork in her life. It's a great article and has given me to urge to purge all those unnecessary items like manuals and which important things to keep.
3. Use the Touch It Once Rule
One of my favorite declutter tips I heard about years ago is the "Touch It Once" rule.
The concept is simple.
Whenever you are handling a single item - your keys, coat, mail, laundry - you touch it once by putting it in it's proper place the first time you set it down.
It's a good idea and has taken me a long time to learn.
I'm a drop-your-coat-and-ditch-your-shoes-immediately kind of girl as soon as I get home. That means I may have a few pair of shoes piling up in a corner instead of putting them away in my closet when I get home.
It makes good sense, doesn't it? But it's been a challenge for me to unbreak the habit.
I plan on being more intentional with this method this year.
4. Turn those hangers around backwards
We all have those clothes we hang onto in the hopes of getting back into them one day.
But the harsh reality is that if or when you can fit in them again, they are likely out of style or your tastes have change.
Here's a great way to go through your clothes slowly.
When it comes time to swap out the seasonal clothing, hang them up with the hook of the hanger facing you.
After you've worn and washed the piece, you hang it back up normally.
At the end of the season, those clothes that are still hanging up backwards means you didn't wear them all season.
So if you didn't get any use of that dress for months, why hang onto it?
We plan on going through our clothing this year and purging those pieces we've kept for years.
5. Clean out home decor with each season
Another trick that I like to do is to purge decor when it's time to swap out for the season.
We just did this with our Christmas decor.
It's best to organize it after you decorate at the beginning of the season getting rid of what seasonal decor you didn't use.
As soon as we set up our holiday decor, we sorted through what was left over.
Start with the broken items or dated decor that you just don't like to display and place those into give-away box to donate.
Remember, you set out your favorite items, so why hang on to the decor you haven't displayed for years?
And you will find it easier put it all away into those plastic containers with less stuff to go through.
Plus, setting up when the season comes around again will be easier since there will be fewer things to go through.
So this is how we are taking the first few small steps to have a clutter-free home.
It doesn't have to be an entire lifestyle change all at once. And the good news is that even simple ways to change can make a huge impact.
I hope that taking steps to own less stuff will help me find a simpler life.
Stay tuned for the next big overhaul we are about to tackle - my decor storage closet!
What changes do you hope to make with decluttering your home?