As I pack up our holiday decorations, I am met with the desire to declutter. Early spring cleaning? Maybe. Though I have a feeling this desire to declutter stems from all the additions that were brought into our house this holiday season. I may not buy much in the way of Christmas gifts for our family, but we still receive items as loving gestures from those around us. Ensuring that every new item has a place within our home causes me to ride a decluttering wave and make room for them to enter.
To have a minimal home, you must understand that decluttering is a constant process. It may seem overwhelming at first, but decluttering will always be worth it. Rather you have already completed regular decluttering cycles in your minimalist journey, or you are just beginning, know that the hardest part of every decluttering session is getting started. In turn, I decided to supply you with a few tips and tricks to make the process easier.
Tip 1: Question your intention.
Have you taken the time to truly think about your minimalist intentions? Do me a favor and grab a pen and paper. Write down your answers as you go, and keep these notes close to you as a constant reminder for why you are on this journey.
- Why is minimalism a journey for you?
- Where do you see your life going from here?
- Do you think minimalism will make your life better? How-so?
Now, take the time to look around at your current living situation. Make notes about what you see and feel.
- Are you overwhelmed with your consistent inability to find things?
- Are you unable to focus due to the overwhelming number of items you have in your space?
- Is clutter a source of stress or depression for you?
Tip 2: Start Small, declutter 1 room at a time.
I’ve read so many articles about decluttering, and most of these recommend that you enter a room and pack every item inboxes. You then leave the boxes in the room and over a period of a month you pull out items you need as you go to use them, and promptly find a place for them in the room. At the end of the month, you donate the boxes that have items left in it.
This method seems rather intense, drastic and time-consuming…so I thought I would give you another option. Have a donate box and a large trash sack ready as you enter the room. Start decluttering by throwing away any trash you may find. Then move on to duplicate items. Eliminate anything you don’t use on a regular basis. If you don’t use an item, but it brings you joy – keep it! If it doesn’t, put it in the box to donate it.
Tip 3: Buy a storage tub and label it “Treasures”.
Yes, minimalism is about getting rid of things…but I am not here to tell you to rid yourself of the “treasures” you hold as value. For example, everyone in my house has a tub that fits in their closet on a top-shelf. That tub holds the items we hold dear, but don’t need to be displayed within our home. From a photo album from the time I backpacked across Europe, to the cards my husband gave me on my scavenger hunt to his proposal; there are just some things I don’t need out – but hold so much value to me, I could never part with them.
Remember: EVERYTHING CANNOT BE A TREASURE, but it is okay to store some items that you just don’t foresee parting with.
Tip 4: Remove one extra item a day from your home.
Even if you have already decluttered a room, there is always more that can go. Make a goal to remove one extra item from your home every day for 45 days. My suggestion? Answer these questions to help you declutter.
- Do you love it?
- Is this something you truly need?
- Do you actually use it?
Tip 5: Declutter in waves.
Break down your space slowly. I do not recommend going from all to anything in one fatal blow. The first time you go through a space, eliminate items to the best of your ability. Then revisit the room, decluttering again a few months later. This time allows you to become comfortable with the items you decided to eliminate and think about what you still need to hold on to.
Please know, to fully embrace minimalism you must have a mindset of constantly decluttering. In a family of five, there are always new things entering our household. Though I typically do an annual purge after Christmas, I regularly purge items throughout the year.
Tip 6: Have a place for everything.
So often when I post photos of my house people are shocked by the lack of toys everywhere. My response is always the same. “We have toys, but everything has a place and after we are done playing, the items return to their place.”
As you declutter your home, make sure that everything you own has a place. If an item does not have a place, find one. If you are unable to find a place for an item, get declutter more until there is a place. After finding homes for the items you are choosing to keep, make sure that after you use the item you always return it to its home. This habit will not only keep your house clutter-free, but it will also help you keep your home clean.
Tip 7: Remember the 1 in – 1 out rule.
There will always be new things that enter your house, but as they do, employ the 1 in – 1 out rule in your life. That means as you bring a new item home, eliminate an item in the process. The goal of this rule is to help you maintain a comfortable number of items in your home at all times.
Tip 8: Immediately take things to be donated.
This tip makes me chuckle because it is something I have personally discovered. At times, I have left a pile in the garage to take to Goodwill, leaving it long enough that my children and I second-guessed our intention for donating items. We then bring these items back in the house and around six months later we decide to donate them again (this time for good). My point being, trust your instincts. If you choose to get rid of something, do it…then follow through immediately.
Minimalism is thought to be a lifestyle of having less, and decluttering is part of this process. In the grand scheme of things, you will find that despite all you are getting rid of, minimalism actually gives you more. Minimalism gives you more free time. It gives you room for things you are passionate about and it gives you time to enjoy the people that you love.