With Minimalism becoming more and more popular with every passing day, it comes as a no-brainer that,
“Less is the new more!”
When it comes to your home, owning fewer things presents numerous benefits. These include but are not limited to,
- It is easier to clean, maintain and organize
- Provides a sense of calmness and happiness
- It is easier to find what you want as you do not have to go through piles of stuff
- Reduces stress significantly
- Cuts out unnecessary expenses and can actually save you a ton of money!
- Creates extra space in your home as it isn’t hoarded with things you do not need
- Less time cleaning means more time to do what you love!
I am sure by now you have enough reasons to declutter your home. But, before you learn how to DECLUTTER, let us first see what exactly CLUTTER means. The Oxford dictionary defines clutter as,
“A collection of things lying about in an untidy state.“
But I prefer this version better.
“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions!”Barbara Hemphill (Author of Less Clutter More Life)
Let us not postpone your decisions any further. I have outlined below how you can declutter your home in a few simple and easy-to-follow steps.
P.S: Even if you are a student living in a dorm room or renting an apartment, these suggestions will come in very handy.
1. Start with baby steps.
Decluttering can be overwhelming at first. Do not try to do everything at once. A full day of vigorous de-junking might make your home look spick and span momentarily. But it will not be long before it gets all messed up again. Decluttering your home should be rather a lifestyle change than a one-time cleaning spree.
Start small. Setting aside 5-10 minutes every day will get you kickstarted on your journey towards decluttering one room at a time!
Over some time, you will start loving all the excess space you get, all of which had been hiding under piles of unnecessary stuff that you did not even need! Your home automatically becomes much brighter, larger (having too much clutter makes a room appear darker and smaller), and vibrates positivity. Learn how you can spruce up your living room with a few simple steps here.
2. SORT, SORT, AND SORT!
When you begin your decluttering odyssey, sort everything in each room into 4 different categories. Do not skip anything. No matter how small, large, important, or trivial.
KEEP OR RELOCATE:
This pile should only contain things that you use regularly. Put only such items in the box, which you need to relocate to another room. If it belongs to the same room that you are decluttering, then place it in its designated spot right away.
DONATE OR SELL:
If you have not used something in the past 6 months, then most probably, it is not adding any value to your life.
Locate items that are in good condition which can be donated to charity or sold, and put them into this pile. Although giving away to charity is the best thing you could possibly do, you can also consider selling off a few pricey items online. This might come in handy if you are very low on cash at the time.
THROW AWAY OR RECYCLE:
Just like the name says, this pile should contain all those items that are not fit to be used or donated. In short, these are the stuff that you need to throw away to trash! Things that cannot be fixed or repaired belong here. Do not forget to segregate your waste before tossing it in the trash can!
Be mindful and recycle things like paper, cardboard boxes, recyclable plasticware, glassware, etc. Do not throw away recyclable items into the trash. It is not only a wastage of resources but also environmentally very damaging.
REPAIR OR FIX:
This is the final category, and it should have all those broken items that can be fixed or repaired. Broken electronics, torn clothing, and that chair that has been broken that you have been meaning to fix for months! All of that belongs in this pile. The point to note here is, get it fixed RIGHT AWAY!
If you aren’t planning on fixing it, then discard it!
If you are putting it away to do for a later day, it is just postponing decisions. We do not want that now, do we?
3. One simple question to ask yourself.
Are you having a tough time deciding if you want to keep or discard a particular item? Then ask yourself one simple question. In the words of the organizing queen Marie Kondo,
“Does it spark joy?”
If yes, then keep it! If it doesn’t, then you know what you have to do!
4. Get everyone involved in the declutter PARTY!
Decluttering, cleaning, and organizing your home does not have to be a one-man/woman task! Get your family involved. This can be a fun activity for children as well!
It is a fantastic way for the whole family to spend time together while also getting some productive work done! The more, the merrier and also, faster! This also helps to teach children the importance of letting go of things, the bliss of donating to charity, and the joy of owning lesser belongings!
5. Resist the urge to buy the stuff you do not require.
Once you have rid your home of all unnecessary things, take care not to start re-accumulating things! If not, you will end up in the same clutter soup all over again!
Do not buy something unless you actually need it. The next time you want to buy a new pair of sunglasses when you already have one that is in perfect condition, think again! Do you actually need it? Or is it just momentary temptation?
Having lesser things will gradually become more gratifying. Research has shown that individuals who live a minimalistic lifestyle are happier in the long run!
P.S: The definition of Minimalism is not solely restricted to owning fewer things! It is a lifestyle or a way of living. A key element of Minimalism is holding on to only those things that add some value to your life. Be it people or materialistic belongings.
6. Learn to let go and Declutter your Life.
While it is okay to hold onto some things of sentimental value, overdoing this might lead to hoarding. This is not good for your mental health or your home. Giving away some of these things can not only lighten your emotional burdens but will also make you more joyful in the long run.
This is nothing to feel guilty about. Letting go of things and moving ahead in life is not a crime! (This is a subtle way to say that it is okay to let go of gifts and heirlooms which you never even use!!)
Sometimes we buy expensive things thinking they would add value to our home or life, but we rarely use them. Do not feel regretful or worry about the price you have spent on such things. It is sunk-cost. Something that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. There is no point worrying about it. The best you can do now is either throw it away in the trash or see if you can salvage some money by re-selling it.
P.S: If this is too hard, you can consider keeping a MAYBE pile. These are things you are not yet ready to get rid of. Set yourself a specific deadline. Say, maybe 3 months. If you do not use it within that period, chances are you never will! So, GIVE IT AWAY!
7. Keep an eye on clutter buildup.
You know the problem areas. Tables, countertops, and any other flat surface in the house. These are, without a doubt, the pile-up zones for some of the most random things in the house. Keys, an old soda can, a laptop, or an old newspaper. You will find it all here.
There are two simple ways to tackle this problem. First, you avoid stashing junk on the tables! If you find this too hard, the second solution is to place a small tray to store all of this mini-clutter, like keys and chargers. But nevertheless, this is only for the small things. Ultimately, you will need to clear up all the unwanted clutter and make absolutely sure it does not pile up again. Get yourself into the habit of placing things where they actually belong. This way, things are easier to find, and the house remains spick and span as well.
8. Put yourself in the shoes of a visitor.
Let’s be honest! Every single one of us does this. Whenever we visit someone’s home, we have a quick little glance at everything. Passing judgments in our head about any mess that we might see or how their Christmas lights are still hanging!
If we could apply this viewpoint to our own homes, I’m sure many items would appear to be needless chaos. Do just that! Consider yourself as a visitor visiting your home and make a note of how you would like it to look. This helps a lot to give you perspective! Not just about how your home should look, but also what stuff should bid Adieu to your home!
- If you feel your hoarding practices have gotten out of control or your mental health is holding you from decluttering, please seek help from professional organizers. Living in unsanitary conditions can be very detrimental. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it the most.
- Know that increasing storage space is not a solution to deal with clutter. If you do not control your impulsive hoarding habits, no matter how many storage wardrobes you have, they will never be enough!
- When you store things on shelves, take care not to keep too much stuff in one rack as cleaning becomes herculean. Also, it can accumulate a lot of dust very quickly.
- Tame your digital clutter! All chargers, wires, and technological devices should have a designated place. If not, they will quickly find a place in every room, making it chaotic with tangled wires everywhere. What you need is a digital declutter!
- The coffee table should be a place to have coffee and conversations! Not to keep old magazines, laundry clothes, or laptops!
Now that you have learned how to create a clutter-free, minimalist home, put it into action, and if you have any other insights to share about how to declutter, please do so in the comments below.
Cheers to an inexpensive, gratifying, and stress-free lifestyle!