One of the most effective ways to make your home feel larger, newer, and cleaner is to remove excess items. Often we collect things over time and don’t realize how much we have until there is no more room for anything new. Here are some tips to get started on your journey to a clutter-free home.
- Start small. Don’t try to tackle too much at once and get overwhelmed. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. The same principle applies to de-cluttering. Start with one category (clothes, books, movies, craft supplies, etc.) and allow yourself enough time to sort that one group of items.
- Keep what’s used and appreciated, toss what’s broken or guilt-inducing. Do not keep something because it was a gift or belonged to another family member. Memories can be held separate from objects.
- Don’t hold on to objects that make you feel bad like clothes that no longer fit, home decor that is no longer in style, or towels that are frayed or smelly. Make room for things that make you happy.
- Don’t feel like you need to keep aspirational items, things that represent the person you aspire to be, rather than who you actually are. For example, I purchased a yoga mat and instructional guide, thinking I might take up yoga. I didn’t. I bought a food processor thinking I might make bread. I haven’t. I bought craft supplies to make cards and scrapbooks. I did, but not so much now. It is okay to let go of past goals if they aren’t present goals. You don’t need stuff reminding you of what you used to want to do.
- Enlist the help of a brutally honest friend with a minimalist streak. I am that friend for a lot of people. They will give you the courage to let go of things you feel like you should keep but really shouldn’t.
- Consider how you can share what you have and borrow what you don’t. We all have things that we keep because we use them seasonally or sporadically, like the 6 foot ladder to get on the roof or the air compressor to blow out the sprinkler system. If you don’t have something, rather than buying it, consider borrowing from a friend. Then return the favor when your neighbor is in need. This way you can build a friendship rather than a storage unit.