I started to think about the clutter issues a few months ago while I was moving to a new place. I realized I was surrounded by things that I didn’t need or I didn’t even like. I categorized all the stuff that had no value to me as clutter and I got rid of them. But this was just a beginning because there are so many areas in our lives that need to be cluttered up. Every time I search for something in my handbag, I get mad about the mess I accumulate inside. It keeps reminding me that decluttering is not a one-time action, but maintaining things relatively clutter-free is an ongoing process I still need to work on!
Reasons you need to declutter
You may think that it’s not a big deal because everyone has some extra stuff, right? But too much junk can actually be harmful to your health. No doubt that clutter invites chaos into your life, it can distract you or weigh you down. In a messy environment, it’s harder to focus and process information, so you have to expend more energy to do everyday tasks. It also stresses you out as according to researchers there is a link between clutter and depression. This extra stress caused by clutter could be the thing that leads you to overeat. The bottom line is that however innocent the whole situation might seem, the cost of ignoring the clutter can be higher than you imagine. By devoting a little of your time to get rid of the things that aren’t functional and don’t make you happy anymore, you’ll reap the rewards of pleasing living areas, reduced stress, and a more organized and productive existence.
Time to take a massive action
Just look around you and start the process in order to simplify your life with easy items like useless receipts and similar papers. If you are one of those people who get super nostalgic getting rid of a train ticket, take a photo of it before you scrap it and throw it away. You can digitalize almost everything, so your memories can live in the cyber space forever without being a physical clutter. Then go room by room and drawer by drawer. You don’t have to do it in one day, but make a plan with milestones and deadlines. An important thing to keep in mind is, that every item needs a place where it “lives.” You never lose anything when you put it where it lives.
Going over all the things you have, you may find asking yourself questions that hold you back like “What if I need this one day?”. Instead of that think about questions that will work for you. My favorites are: Have I used this recently? Would I miss it if I lost it in a fire? Would I keep it if this was someone else’s stuff? Would I buy this today? If you are still not sure after that, I suggest you apply the method of the “unsure box”, where you put everything you are not sure about. You will keep that box for a month or two (write an exact date on it). During that period you are able to take anything you need from that box and these are the things you will keep. After the expiration date is over, you have to throw the box away with the remaining items as it is without opening it again.
If you find it difficult to get rid of something because you spent a lot of money on it, remember that the damage has been already made. It’s gone and just because it was expensive, it doesn’t mean it’s worth keeping. You will not miss it and after a month you won’t even remember that you had it. You don’t need to throw it away, you can donate it to somebody who will utilize it.
When it comes to downsizing your wardrobe get a friend, family member or significant other to help you with it. They will hold you accountable and give you an honest opinion. Put all the clothes you have in one pile. That way you will see the number of clothes you have and you will probably get overwhelmed. How much of that do you actually wear? Hold up each piece and ask some tough questions. Besides the cliché ones, like “When did you last wear something,” come up with hard-hitting questions that may make you feel a little uncomfortable, but definitely will bring the result you need. An example could be: “How did I feel the last time I wore this?” or “Is this a representation of my ‘fantasy self’?”
Since I’m on a massive mission to declutter, I was excited to discover the Kon Mari Method by Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo, whose book can walk you through her extreme strategy for simplifying, organizing and storing your belongings.
Now when you have done some decluttering, the good news is that you will be able to control your purchases easily. If you don’t know what you have, it costs you money. Try to keep your space airy and do not accumulate new things. Be smarter of what you are buying, because that’s where it all starts anyway. Don’t buy anything you are not sure about, don’t buy “good deals” and don’t buy back-ups! Be honest with yourself to find out the reason you are buying that because maybe you are doing emotional shopping or you are buying it because it’s cheap. You don’t want to bring these items at home because half a year later you will face the question whether you should get rid of it because you don’t use it. Take care of the things you have and you love, simplify your life and be more minimalistic. Be pure 🙂