For most, clutter is an inevitable problem. It starts positively, of course: we have an abundance of resources and tools and “things” that can be bought and ordered and shipped with the touch of a button. And we consume more and more with every passing year. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that, of course—unless you’re not also eliminating some of that excess from your life.
Because eventually you won’t have a space to fill—not just your physical space, but your mental one, too! Clutter takes up space in your home and in your mind. So, it’s okay that we consume things we will eventually outgrow or no longer need—or wonder why we bought in the first place. Just make sure you’re regularly taking time to review all that “stuff” and get rid of what you no longer need in your life.
Here are five simple steps to help you eliminate the clutter from your life, and create space for something new—even if only increased clarity and peace of mind—to take its place.
What’s most important you? Not just the material items that make up your home. What do you value? How do you want to feel? If you value learning or relaxation, then you might prioritize your growing collection of books. If you find efficiency and connectivity more valuable, your electronic devices might be more important to you. Neither is right or wrong—it only matters that you get clear on what’s right for you (and what’s not), so you can prioritize what stays and what goes in your home and your life.
Walk room by room through your space and get clear on the purpose of each. If your living room is for relaxing, do you really need the 5-lb. weights in the corner? If your dining room table is for reconnecting as a family, does it make sense for it to also be the place where you drop the mail . . . and your keys . . . and your phone? Once you’re clear on the purpose of each space, you can remove anything that doesn’t add to or align with that purpose, or anything you just know you no longer need or want there.
3. Start Small
Rome wasn’t built in a day—and we doubt it was decluttered that quickly either. Don’t overwhelm yourself by feeling that you need to declutter every inch of your home by sundown on Day One. Make a plan to declutter room by room over a couple of days or even weeks. Giving yourself the time to tackle one space at a time—and knowing that you have a plan to reach every corner of your space eventually—will give you the calm and clarity to thoroughly declutter each small space as you’re in it.
Now that you’ve cleared your space of clutter, find a new place to put it! Whether you offer your stuff up to a friend, donate it to a charity, or toss out what’s no longer usable, find a new home for all of that excess stuff. Once you’ve decided where everything will go, it’s that less likely to find it’s way back into your home—and may prove much more valuable to someone else!
Congratulations on decluttering! How great do you feel? (You should feel pretty great!) But you’re not quite done yet. It’s really easy for clutter to creep back into your life, so set up a process to ensure that it never returns. Set a weekly or monthly date on your calendar to assess your home (or office or bedroom) again and donate or toss out any additional clutter that may have creeped into your life.
What clutter can you eliminate from your life today? What do you want to create space for? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!