I’m guessing you and I have something in common…that we want to get the most out of life. One BIG thing that seems to get in the way of living the life we want is all of our obligations. Obligations to care for our home and our family, obligations at work, and even obligations in other relationships.
Life can be overwhelmingly busy at times, and it can steal our energy and our joy.
This was me…not that long ago. A few years ago I was simply overwhelmed by life. Everything stressed me out. And I mean EVERY. THING.
This was because I was always on the brink of too much. Too much stuff, too much to do, and too much guilt. Everything that fell on my plate had the potential to completely unravel me.
It wasn’t until I learned to declutter my life that I was able to live a life I could actually enjoy.
The Comparison Trap
I felt so guilty about all of it. It didn’t seem like I was doing too much or had too much. In fact, other people seemed to be doing more and having more…and handling it just fine.
But of course, looks can be deceiving. The more I opened up about feeling overwhelmed all of the time, the more I realized almost everyone I knew was feeling the exact same way.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Do we just think it’s what is expected of us? Do we feel others will think less of us? Would we think less of ourselves if we couldn’t “do it all”?
The good news is, that we have the power to change this mentality. We can say, “enough is enough!” to it all. It is up to us to decide how much is enough so that we can begin enjoying our lives again.
Why You Should Declutter Your Home
I would like to argue that if we would take the time to declutter our life (home, mind, and schedule), and maintain it, we would be able to live a more meaningful life.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look back on my life and see that it was full of cleaning, shopping, and working instead of rich relationships and purposeful living. When we know what we want out of life, it is easier to spot what is distracting us from the life we want to live.
Less Stress, More Purpose
Unfortunately, we can’t declutter all of our obligations, but we can choose which ones are not necessary and remove them for good. This will leave us with a simple lifestyle that will cause us less stress and more purpose. A decluttered life is a free life!
To begin this journey, I want to look at our obligations to our homes and possessions.
If you are overwhelmed, like me, by the amount of cleaning and tidying up you need to do on a regular basis, it’s time to give a critical look at everything you own. You need to declutter anything that is adding to your overwhelm. I know that this takes time, but I strongly believe that it will be worth it!
To avoid burnout, decide to take small steps each day (or week!) to declutter your home. Put it on your calendar even. Make a “declutter date” with yourself.
You simply need to go through each area of our house and decide what needs to go or move to a better location. All of these small changes are going to add up to make a big difference.
The True Cost of Your Things
In order for you to understand the importance of decluttering your home, you need to know the true cost of your things.
Take your toaster, for instance. Your toaster costs you space, time, and money. It takes up space in your cabinet or countertop. It takes time to wipe it clean and empty the tray of crumbs. And, it costs you money on electricity every time you use it.
Now, I know that this doesn’t sound like much, but remember you probably have thousands upon thousands of things. And all of those things add up. Suddenly, where all your time goes makes more sense. Why you are running out of space in your home makes sense.
Having this mentality when you declutter is a tremendous help!
How to Declutter ANY Area of Your Home
If you are motivated to declutter your home so you can spend more time and money on what’s important to you, here are some general tips to get you started. Use these simple steps to declutter ANY area of your home:
1. Remove anything from your home that doesn’t serve an important purpose (i.e. you don’t love it or use it often).
This is the hardest part sometimes…simply making the decision on what to declutter.
For me, I started pretty liberally with what I decided was worth keeping. Over time, however, I was able to see value in less and less. Now, I am constantly editing how much I realistically need and taking the time to declutter even more. And, I am super picky about what I buy in the first place. 😉
Wherever you are right now…start there! You don’t need to worry about how much (or little) other people have. Declutter the amount that is right for you at this moment.
If you truly want to live a more simple lifestyle, you will likely go through the decluttering process over and over again like I did. Remember: you can always declutter again if you begin to feel like your stuff is still bringing you down.
Things that are broken are holding you back, because they are just taking up space and possibly stressing you out. You have to keep looking at these broken things and wondering if/when you will ever get around to fixing them.
Do yourself a favor and take care of it right now. Make it a priority. If it’s something you love or truly need, fix it. But, most likely if it’s been sitting there broken for a while, it’s time to just get rid of it.
3. If you decide something in your home needs to go, take care of this right away by throwing it away, donating it, or selling it.
For things you want to sell, take a picture and post it to your favorite selling website (i.e. Craigslist, eBay, Facebook) right away before you forget!
If you are donating items, keep a plastic bin or box for items to donate. Keep adding things throughout the week, then schedule when you will drop them off. Put “Goodwill” on your calendar once a week so you don’t lose track of time and end up with more stuff than you can manage to bring in one trip.
This way, you also won’t end up with a room full of things that need to be donated causing you more stress every time you see the pile.
4. Find a home for everything you decide to keep.
If you decided something was worth keeping, there should be a clear spot for it. Consider using a label maker, especially if you expect your family/roommates to put everything in its new proper place. Think about the purpose of the item, as well as how it makes you feel.
Let’s say you have a wall decoration that makes you feel motivated…consider moving it to your workspace. Or if you find that you are keeping things in a place that doesn’t make sense, move them to a more appropriate space.
Keep nothing in your homes that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” — William Morris
Want a decluttering checklist so you can see your progress?! Get your free printable decluttering checklist.
How to Maintain Your Clutter-Free Home
So, once your home is clutter-free, how do you maintain it? I mean, you will probably receive gifts, you have to go to the store, your kids will keep buying toys with their allowance….So how is it even possible???!!!
Here’s how: you have to keep evaluating, keep editing, and keep deciding. You may have to declutter again to find the right amount of stuff for your home. Again, put a date on your calendar a few months out to remind you to reevaluate what you own and how it all makes you feel.
Also, you have to be intentional about what you allow to come into your home. It will be fairly easy to maintain your decluttered home if you only buy items you love and serve an important purpose in the first place!
Another thing you can do is have a “one thing in, one thing out” rule. In other words, whenever you bring something into the home that isn’t consumable, you get rid of something.
This works especially well with things like toys and clothes. Oftentimes, it’s easy for us to find one toy our kids have outgrown or don’t play with anymore. And, it’s also usually pretty easy to find an item of clothing that no longer looks good, fits well, or gets used.
Decluttering your home is necessary for you to live a free, simple, and (mostly) stress-free life…at least when it comes to stress that is self-imposed.
When you only own things you love and that serve an important purpose, they won’t feel like clutter. So, keep your home clutter-free by being intentional about what you let into your home and reflecting/reevaluating regularly.
I hope you are ready to start taking regular, small baby steps towards freedom from having too much stuff!
Do you find it important to keep your home clutter-free? If so, what methods do you use to keep it that way? Share with us in the comments!