neatly organized drawer
Mindset

Easy Ways to Declutter Your Life

What do you think of this new trend of minimizing, downsizing, and decluttering your life? Have you embraced it or are you still wondering what it’s all about.

Removing the Clutter

Maybe you don’t see the clutter anymore? Maybe you’re too embarrassed to invite anyone over because you are very aware as to your clutter.

The clutter is taking a toll on your inner peace and well-being.

I wonder how the Victorians survived with all their clutter! Perhaps they had organized clutter.

Currently we’re in a minimalist movement. I don’t know if we’ll go back to the times of the 1950’s and Danish Modern. But it will help you feel more at peace if you feel your house is organized.

There are many sites to help you get control of your clutter and slowly start organizing including FLY Lady and A Slob Comes Clean. Today I’ll talk about my two favourite organizers.

Peter Walsh

This beloved Aussie has been involved in decluttering for quite some time. He got the recognition he deserved being on the television program Clean Sweep as well as appearances on Oprah and Rachel Ray.

Peter Walsh has released a number of books on the subject of decluttering and getting organized.

His latest one was published in 2017 titled Let It Go: Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life.

Downsizing isn’t just spring cleaning. And it’s more than just decluttering or getting organized.

Peter says that downsizing requires you to seriously inspect your “stuff” and offload a large portion of it.

You could be choosing to do this because you no longer want to be defined by your stuff, or you’re entering a new phase of your life, or you need to shed items that are stuck to you with memories, sadness, anxiety, and guilt.

Be Aware the Tensions That Arise

When you start downsizing, there will be tension and pushback.

You could even get complaints and questions if you’re just trying to do some decluttering and organizing.

If you have adult children, they may expect you to hold on to their stuff forever. They need to be woken up to their responsibility for their treasures.

One mother I know would bring a box of items to her daughter every time she came to visit. The daughter got a clue after the third box, and then picked up the rest of it the following weekend.

If you have young children, you may feel like you should save their art work and projects forever.

With digital photography so easy and inexpensive, you can take a picture of everything and then recycle the actual art.

You deserve a peaceful home that has your stuff (or you and your partner’s) well organized and guilt-free.

Marie Kondo and her new Netflix Show Tidying Up

Marie Kondo

People love watching Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Marie has been a professional “tidier” since she was 19 when she tidied up her friend’s homes for some extra money.

She has published two books. The first is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and her second is Spark Joy: An Illustrated Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.

Marie’s show, like Peter’s, is an intervention-type show. She goes into someone’s home and helps them get control of their clutter without judgement.

Often, we’ve become numb to how much we own. Marie helps people get a “reality check” as to their belongings.

When sorting out clothing, she’ll have the person pile all of their clothes on the bed so they can have a visual indicator of how much clothing they own, and then evaluate what they really want to keep it.

Her mantra is to keep only that which brings you joy.

But What About the Folding

Marie teaches a few different methods of folding clothes to be the most space-efficient possible. That way you can store more in a smaller area, and make your space look cleaner with no clutter.

When you open up a drawer or a closet, you feel joy and peace at seeing everything in its place. And it’s easier for you to pick out your outfit for the day when the clothing and shoes are well organized.

Swedish Death Cleaning

This method of decluttering and downsizing is different than Marie Kondo’s method because you give away the things that bring you joy.

The question is “Will anyone I know be happier if I save this?” Your focus is on your loved ones instead of yourself.

It can be difficult to get rid of something that has a lot of memories for you but is meaningless to anyone else. Margareta Magnusson published a book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.

She suggests taking a moment with that item and your memories before letting it go.

You could also take pictures and journal what the item meant to you. Someone may not want the item but may treasure your story.

While this book is focused on older people, everyone can take away some useful lessons.

Categorize Your Items

Break down your clutter into categories. Almost everyone has clutter with their clothing and their kitchen. Other areas could be books and hobbies.

Then you tackle one area and sort things into what you want to keep and what you want to give away.

colorful paper quilt with words keep, recycle, sell, declutter, trash, and donate writtten out with black pen.

Japanese Konmari

The art of decluttering is called konmari in Japan. Amusingly enough, Marie Kondo’s website is konmari.com.

Marie’s methodology is more common in knowledge and practice in Japan. They tend to live more minimally.

Once a year as part of their New Years celebration, they participate in “oosoji” which translates as “big cleaning.” The belief is that if the house is cleaned and purified before the stroke of midnight, they will be blessed by Toshigama-sama, the god of the coming new year.

Benefits of Decluttering

Decluttering where you live and work will have a wonderful impact on your life.

Improve Your Finances

You can earn extra cash by selling your extra clutter. And if you have a rule that you can’t bring something in until you let something go, you’ll save money by not buying what you don’t really need, want, or love.

Improve Your Mental Health

It may seem silly, but there have been quite a few studies done that shows we think more clearly.

Why?

Well, when we see stuff left out, our brains think we need to do something about it. Then all of our mental energy is used up unconsciously thinking about all that we need to put away or organize instead of what we’re needing to focus on right then.

Go to the Roots

You got clutter because you bought too much, or were given a lot of things you didn’t have space for. Perhaps you were buying as a way of comforting yourself.

Spend some time journaling on what you have purchased. Do you still want it?

Often we hesitate to get rid of something because we spent a lot of money on it. This is often called the sunken cost fallacy.

Ask yourself if you would buy it again if you knew then what you know now. If the answer is no, see if you can sell, gift, or donate it. And no guilt allowed!

Pensive woman contemplating all of her clothes

My Final Thoughts

Decluttering can be a very difficult process full of angst.

You shouldn’t keep things out of obligation. But don’t get rid of something just to get rid of it. You may want it later on.

If you have some storage, you could put the item away for a few months and ask yourself if you missed it.

No matter which method you try, by the end you can reflect on how you are not your stuff. You won’t gain knowledge from all those books unless you read them.

Often we have items that we don’t care for but they’re so tied to some memory. The fear is that we will lose the memory if we give up the object.

You can always journal your memories and take a snapshot to remember the item.

As you reflect on your items, you may think someone else would enjoy it. You can offer, but please make sure the other person knows that it’s ok to say no.

What is important to you may not be important to someone else. Or perhaps it brings up a negative memory for them instead of a positive one.

And that’s okay. If you ever had something foisted upon you that you didn’t want but didn’t feel you could get rid of….well you know you don’t want to do that to anyone else.

Start slowly, and see how you feel doing some decluttering.

Have you done any? Read Peter or Marie’s books? What are your thoughts! Leave a comment letting me know.

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