We’re all trying to make good use of our time right now by checking off those when I have time projects. What else can you do when you’re stuck at home? Decluttering seems to be topping many lists. But the question is how to clear the clutter when you’re already feeling overwhelmed with the situation unfolding around us?
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When I was younger, I had shelves upon shelves full of pretty items I collected. Mementos from family vacations, birthday cake toppers, pretty porcelain ballerinas, fancy dolls…you name the girlie item and I had it.
I saved EVERYTHING because I attached my memories to items. I just couldn’t let things go.
Now, let me take you back in time to August 1992…trust me this ties into clutter control, so just follow along.
Hurricane Andrew hit Florida and entered the Gulf with forecasters predicting my hometown as the next target. I rushed home because you see, I was on vacation in Florida during the first hit. Yes, that dang hurricane was following me!
With just a very small window to evacuate I packed the few things that mattered most to me and my family.
And what didn’t make the cut? My collectibles.
As I rushed to gather photos and important papers, not once did I have the urge to grab anything from a shelf.
This was the start of my decluttering journey but every once in a while, I see the old me creeping in.
How to Clear the Clutter
Are you ready to say goodbye to clutter? Trust me, I know it’s difficult to do.
It’s not the physical act of ridding your home of clutter that’s difficult; it’s the mental aspect.
We’ve attached memories to items and that makes it hard to let go or we hang onto things because we might use it one day.
And… There’s always the excuse that we’re going to lose weight and will wear it again. Raise your hand if you fall into that trap.
Letting go is hard but it’s necessary unless you want the clutter to take over your home.
Deciding what should stay and what you should toss is a mental tug-of-war.
But if you’re here, it’s a war you’re ready to tackle and ultimately win.
You’re taking the first steps to declutter HERE and NOW!
What is Clutter?
We all talk about it, but what is clutter and why is it so hard to say goodbye to clutter?
Clutter is anything we don’t need, want, or use that takes our time, energy or space, and destroys our serenity. It can be outgrown clothes, obsolete papers, broken toys, disliked gifts, meaningless activity, ancient resentments, or unsatisfying relationships. We may be selective in some areas, but not in others. Objects may be strewn about or wedged into drawers, neatly stacked or stowed in storage.
My definition is a little easier.
Clutter is anything not in its proper place or without a clear use.
It’s amazing how weighed down we feel from the clutter in our lives; both physically and mentally. Do you feel this?
The more we clear the clutter; the more unobstructed we feel.
We actually feel free!
I don’t know about you, but I am ready to take the steps to declutter.
When to Clear the Clutter?
Now is the perfect time to clear the clutter from your home. We’re home with extra time, so let’s stop the excuses, take charge, and start decluttering.
To do this we must arm ourselves with the proper tools – a list of questions to ask yourself to make the act of decluttering a breeze.
If you’re looking for tips on keeping a clean house, read our article 10 Habits for a Tidy Home.
Ready to Declutter Your Home?
Let’s get ready and ask ourselves these three questions:
Do I need this?
Am I keeping this for “one day”?
Is this something I love?
Now here’s where you need to make a mental shift…
If you hold on to EVERYTHING because it’s special…then how special are these items?
Think about that for a minute.
Does everything you’re holding onto hold a special meaning, is the best of the best and is truly appreciated and loved?
If they don’t pass these tests…then let them go, let them go, let them go. And do it now!
- Beautiful — If you saw it in a store today, would you fall in love with it and have to buy it?
- Useful — Does it make your life easier and is used regularly?
- Meaningful — This is the hardest category and will take the most time to sort through. But if you keep in mind that your memories are in your heart not in possessions you will be able to pare this category down.
Are you still having a hard time with clutter control?
Let’s get back to those questions and dig deep…
Do I need this?
Answering this question alone helps in simplifying your decluttering quest.
It really is easy…
Do you need it?
Have you used it in the past year?
If the answer is no, do you really NEED this item?
Trust me, I get it! I love all of the new shiny things and gadgets I see just like you! But there is absolutely NO reason to keep anything you clearly don’t use and need.
Am I keeping this for one day?
One day I will lose weight.
One day I will make that craft I pinned on Pinterest.
One day I will sew an outfit with this fabric.
Does this sound familiar? How many times do we wait for the elusive one day that never seems to come?
If the item isn’t useful today, then it needs to go!
Is this something I love?
No? Then toss it!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…I NO LONGER like collecting items. My mom, on the other hand, loves chu-chuts (said exactly as it is spelled, only fast and means “little something”). She also loves to buy chu-chuts as gifts.
Through the years, I kept those chu-chuts out of guilt even though I hate figurines and dust collectors. It took years to decide it was OK to let these things go.
If it’s something you truly don’t love, don’t hang onto it!
I give you permission to sell, donate, re-gift, etc. You will feel better in the long run.
Pick a small area in your home. For your first attempt at clutter control, make sure it’s an area without sentimental items.
I started with my vanity because I have collected oodles of items that I don’t like, are the wrong colors, or just don’t work as advertised.
Determine your starting area and get to work purging using the decluttering questions.
Once you’ve completed your task, donate or throw away what you aren’t keeping right away. Many of us just shift the clutter or bag it up and leave it in our car to create a different cluttered area.
So while we are all home and looking for productive things to do with our time, let’s all get to decluttering.