I’ll hear someone say they decluttered their bathroom or bookshelf and that is fantastic, but decluttering (to me) is so much more than a deep purge cleaning session. Decluttering is a part of life, so much that perhaps it needs another word – like whatever the opposite of a clutter bug is. I’m not minimal, or tidy, or even always organized. I just intentionally strive to be….. wait for it….. declutter-y. Decluttery? What a terrible sounding word. Anyway, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe to be Declutter Truths beyond a weekend closet cleaning session… if you want to be decluttery too.
So Truthfully, It’s a Long Process: Decluttering should go far beyond purging items out of frustration or disgust. Usually if you are making decisions about getting rid of things in a moment of heated emotion, you’re going to want it gone fast and void of much thought. There’s a place for that, but there also needs to be time to question other items that are not on your quick-rid list. Decluttering an entire home takes several weeks or months. It takes evaluating all-the-things you own and declaring proper reasons for what you decide to keep.
And Really, You Have to Reverse Clutter Causing Habits: Decluttering works exactly like a diet, either you have to get rid of more stuff than you buy, or you have to buy less so you can keep more. You can’t buy a bunch of stuff and keep a bunch of stuff and declutter. If we have clutter, it’s because we struggle with one of those two things – the outflux (keeping too much) or the influx (buying too much). Self-evalution has to take place and habits have change in order to consistently reduce our amounts of clutter.
And Consciously, Skip the Freebies: It’s OK to tell someone, “No Thank you” when they offer you a freebie. Most of us don’t go to conventions for the freebies. How many pens, magnets, pouches, key fobs, t-shirts or totes do you need? If you buy an eye shadow that comes with a free lip gloss, it’s ok to skip the gloss if you don’t want it. If an item is buy two, get one free and you only need two, only get two. If you wouldn’t pay money for it, skip the freebies. They are adding no value to your life.
But Really, Everything is Against You: I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist, but for this one it’s true. Order a burger in the drive-thru and you’re going to get a burger wrapped in paper, in a box, in a bag. Buy something online and you’re going to get that item packaged in several layers before it taped up in a box. My dog’s flea pill is the size of a Spree candy and it’s wrapped in a plastic card that’s placed inside of a box that could hold a small hammer. A little piece of me dies inside every time I have to buy one. Discard packaging clutter asap. Trash it, recycle it, or buy in bulk to avoid it.
And Honestly, Organizing Won’t Fix It: You can’t organize your way out of clutter, but you can declutter your way to easier organization. I don’t stress too much about organizing. I focus more on having everything in site. If you’re looking for hidden nooks and crannies to tuck things away to feel organized, you might just be creating hiding spaces. You can’t use something you don’t know where it is. I have too much happening in my life to have to remember what thing I tucked behind what other thing. Instead, I like to have as much as I can in site or visible as soon as I open a door.
But Mostly, Your Stuff Needs You: This sounds completely contrary coming from a decluttery person, but hang with me for a moment. Your stuff needs you, not you need you stuff. When we get caught up in believing that we need our stuff it’s easy to justify keeping too many things that become clutter, so let’s flip the perspective because when we do, it’s easier to let go. Your stuff needs you, or someone else, in order for it serve it’s purpose. Your toaster needs you to toast bread in it to properly serve you as a toaster. Your toaster can not be a true toaster if it’s sitting in a box on a shelf in the garage, and your toaster does not enjoy it’s own toasty, warm bread. If you’re not using the stuff you own, then that stuff needs someone else to use it.
And there you have it. A few simple truths I keep in the forefront of my mind as I live amongst our consumer driven world. I hope it helps you navigate through the insanity of it all. I’d love to know what you think, or what you do to live a Life Less Cluttered.
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