If you are overwhelmed with the idea of decluttering, or just a little discouraged by clutter creep, the simplest way to move forward is to get back to basics.
Getting rid of stuff comes with all kinds of complicated emotions and feelings, so it’s easy to get discouraged. Or, if clutter crept back in after a big decluttering effort last spring, it’s easy to think that the work was a waste of time. Where did all this stuff come from?
If any of this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Even though I decluttered a 2000 sq. foot home over the course of a few years to the point where we had empty rooms, I still have to deal with clutter.
A major benefit of consistent decluttering was selling our home and moving into a 750 square foot apartment. I love our small space, but it’s much harder to overlook clutter. When it’s time to declutter, I like a simple strategy.
Getting back to basics is the simplest way to find calm in the chaos.
Back to Basics Decluttering
Know your why.
Remember why you want to live with less stuff. It’s different for everyone. Some people enjoy more space, time or money, and others appreciate the freedom of owning less. Maybe you want room to dance, or bake, or entertain. Knowing your why gives your decluttering purpose.
Be clear on your approach.
This isn’t an organizing mission. While everything you own needs a place, you don’t need to own everything. Decluttering is not organizing. It’s getting rid of the stuff you don’t need, want, or love. If if doesn’t add joy or value, let it go.
Start with the simple.
Don’t worry about the sentimental stuff or the things you are really attached to. Start with the simple knickknacks, candle holders, junk drawer items, and clothes that don’t fit. Then look at the books you don’t read, towels you haven’t used in years and cords, and chargers that don’t work or don’t belong to anything. Getting rid of the easy stuff will give you momentum and inspiration to consider the more challenging items.
Lose the duplicates and the just in case items. Figure out how many kitchen utensils and place settings you really need and use and get rid of the rest. If you’ve been collecting place mats, napkins and linens for years, keep what you use and give the rest away.
Celebrate your efforts.
Of course there is more that could be done. There always will be, but this isn’t the time. Now that you’ve gotten back to basics and decluttered your home, or a room, or even a corner of the room, it’s time to celebrate. If you decluttered your kitchen, host a small dinner party. If your idea of celebrating is turning on music, grabbing a good book and relaxing in your newly decluttered space, do that. You deserve to celebrate your efforts in a way that resonates with you.
If you are still feeling overwhelmed or confused about the benefits of decluttering, simply remember that your home is not a container for your stuff, but rather a place for joy and connection. I can’t think of a better reason to declutter than to make room for more of that.