Clearing Out the Clutter: Where to Start

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! I hadn’t hit the point of clearing out the clutter in my life.

Clearing out the clutter is a difficult task for many. When you are ready to declutter your home and organize your life you will need to know where to start.

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As I grew older, my collection grew and I was constantly dealing with the task of rearranging to make more room. And let’s not forget the amount of time it took to dust those shelves!

Trying to Say Goodbye to Clutter is Harder than You Think!

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 collections! As I rushed to gather photos and important papers, not once did I have the urge to grab my collections. I realized then that my memories were held in my heart, not in those items.

Oh and if you are wondering, Hurricane Andrew made landfall very near my hometown placing us on the “bad side” of the hurricane and I actually lost most of my belongings. But that’s a story for another day.

I had no choice but to downsize and declutter!

Although I had that amazing epiphany, that collecting mentality still lingered in me.

Clearing Out the Clutter Is Hard Mentally

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 is difficult; it’s the mental aspect. We seem to rationalize in our minds that our memories need an item to attach to. Or that one day we might use an item. Or even better, one day we might fit in this article of clothing.

Clutter control can, at times, be mentally exhausting. Clearing out the clutter starts by asking ourselves a few simple questions.

Uncluttered desk and wall showing very tidy space - Stop Using Alt Tags for Pinterest Pin Descriptions

Deciding what should stay and what should go is truly a mental tug-of-war. But if you are here, it’s a war you are ready to tackle and ultimately win! You are 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.

Clutterers Anonymous 

My definition is a little easier.

“Clutter is anything not in its proper place or without a clear use.”

It is amazing how weighed down we feel from the clutter in our lives; both physically and mentally. 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 is the perfect time for clearing out the clutter?

If you are like me, when I am dreading a task I make excuses not to start immediately. But when you are ready to declutter your life, there is no time like the present to start!

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!

Say Goodbye to Clutter

If you are looking for tips on keeping a clean house, read our article 10 Habits for a Tidy Home.

Are you ready to change the way you think and take the steps 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 is where you need to make a mental shift…

If you hold on to EVERYTHING because it is special…then how special are these items?

Think about that for a minute.

Does everything you are holding on to hold a special meaning, is the best of the best, and is truly appreciated and loved?

Do these items make the cut of being the most beautiful, most useful, or the most meaningful? If they don’t pass these tests…then let them go, let them go, let them go!

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.

When I was younger, I told you I held on to everything. I hadn’t realized what was truly special in my life. Now that I have gone through ups and downs, divorce, financial windfalls and defeats, natural disasters, moves…I have a handle on what is truly special to me and what I need to survive. Now, I can easily distinguish the clutter!

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! I struggle with FOMO (fear of missing out) of the latest trends daily! But when I discovered that bread maker I just had to have, hadn’t been used in three years…I knew there wasn’t a NEED to hang on to it! There is absolutely NO reason to keep anything you clearly don’t 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 my stored 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! Holding on to these items not only clutter our home, but also make us carry unnecessary mental baggage that causes us to feel terrible about ourselves. Do you really need a reminder of the extra pounds or all of the things you can’t quite find the time for?

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, love chu-chuts (said exactly as it is spelled, only fast and means “little something”) that love to collect dust. She also loves to buy me chu-chuts as gifts. I cannot tell you how many “wonderful daughter” figurines I have had in my possession throughout the years. And through the years, I kept those chu-chuts out of guilt even though I hate figurines! It wasn’t until I moved to a new city a few years ago that I decided it was okay to let them go.

If it’s something you truly do not love, do not hang onto it! I give you permission to sell, donate, re-gift, etc. You will feel better in the long run.

Did you hear me? I give you permission to let them go!

When you are clearing out the clutter, these questions will come in handy!

Try this! Pick a small area in your home. Make sure it’s an area without sentimental items (for your first attempt at clutter control).

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.

When I say that I had a field day purging, that is an understatement!

Your best bet when you are determined to clear out the clutter is to donate or throw away what you aren’t keeping right away.

Shifting these items to another area will just create another cluttered spot in your home.

So are you ready?

Pick two small areas in your home and say goodbye to clutter this week! Tell me about your experience in the comments below!

Reduce the clutter and organize your entire home by starting with these tips. Decluttering is never easy until you tackle this.

Tips on how to declutter when you aren't sure where to start. Organizing and decluttering tips for the home start when you ask yourself these questions.

Decluttering your home is never easy when you don't know where to start. Clear the clutter easily with these tips and questions to help you clean your home.

Declutter your home is not always easy. Tackling the clutter sometimes is more of a mental task than a physical one. Organize your home by asking yourself these questions and cut through all of your clutter easily.

Clear the clutter with these steps to help tackle the mental aspect of decluttering. When you rid yourself of the clutter, keeping a clean and organized home is much easier to do.

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Uncluttered bedroom with how to start decluttering when you are overwhelmed text overlay - Stop Using Alt Tags for Pinterest Pin Descriptions
Cluttered room with ready set declutter when you are so overwhelmed it hurts text overlay. - Stop Using Alt Tags for Pinterest Pin Descriptions

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