Two New Year’s Resolutions
Vowing to become a healthier person is one of my resolutions for 2019. I make that resolution every year and every year it eventually falls by the wayside. This year I intend to keep it and hopefully, this post will keep me accountable. Maybe.
My second resolution (Plan B, maybe?) is to get a grip on the clutter in my house. I’ve downsized twice in the past few years and for some reason, I end up with more “things” than I need. I don’t know how that happens but it does.
So I’ve been researching ways to declutter and stay decluttered. I’ve zeroed in on four good suggestions about how to go about this without burning out.
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits says that clutter is actually procrastination. That makes sense! We procrastinate clearing clutter and before you know it we’re at a breaking point.
Which is why you’re here!
1. The 80/20 Rule
This isn’t typically a decluttering rule.
You’ve heard that 80% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of the population or that 80% of production comes from 20% of the workers. It’s called the Pareto principle and you can learn more about it here but it makes perfect sense when applied to organizing a home or office.
For example, we most often only use 20% of what we own 80% of the time. So if you wear 20% of the clothes in your closet, you might consider getting rid of the other 80%.
Me, for example. It’s embarrassing to admit that I have clothing in several sizes. That’s not exactly motivation to shape up! Plus, my closet is packed.
Same goes for cooking supplies, games, books, etc.
Now, it might not be 80/20 in your house. Maybe you use 50% of what you have in whatever category you’re trying to declutter. Or if you use 60% of your clothing…you need to dispose of 40%.
You get the idea.
2. One Step at a Time
Seems like when we decide to clear clutter and organize our spaces, we are all energized and gung-ho about this great project and jump in with both feet.
We’re going to get it done TODAY! A couple of hours into the project we’re exhausted and stressed and the place is a mess.
Not a good idea. Decluttering won’t happen overnight. Make a plan, first. There are a couple of ways to do this:
- Make a list for your decluttering plan and follow it. Room by room or closet by closet, etc. If you decide to start with a closet first, have three boxes or bags and sort items by those you want to donate or consign, throw away or keep. Same procedure if you’re going to work in one room at a time. Then check that project off the list. You’ll feel awesome!
- Start with large objects. Have you got furniture or bikes or exercise equipment that you don’t want? Find new homes for those items…donating is an excellent plan and there are lots of charity shops that will come pick up your items and give you a receipt. Or take to a consignment shop or sell on a local selling website. Facebook probably has a Marketplace in your city or town which is another way to sell things you no longer want or need.
When you finish one project take a break. Think about how great you feel that you accomplished that task.
3. Ask Yourself Questions
Trying to decide what to keep and what to purge can be overwhelming. One thing that helps is to ask yourself these questions:
- Do I love this? Is it something you use in your decor and that you love? I have lots of decorating pieces that I love and I actually like changing out my displays from time to time so those pieces I keep for that purpose. If you don’t love it…get rid of it!
- Do I have an emotional attachment to this? If it’s the popcorn bowl your mother used when you were a child, you probably want to keep it. But then, you probably already use it so there you go. If it has no sentimental value but you like it but don’t use it, you should get rid of it.
- When was the last time I used/wore this? Take a tip from Oprah. Hang all of your clothing with the hangers backward. When you wear something, turn the hanger around. After a few months, you can see what you’ve worn and what you haven’t. No brainer!
4. Enjoy the Process
Leo Babauta suggests not thinking of decluttering as a chore or as something to be put off because it’s unpleasant to think about. Here’s what he says:
“The danger is to start seeing decluttering as yet another chore on your to-do list. Once you start doing that, it becomes something you’ll put off. Instead, reframe it to a liberating practice of mindfulness.”
It IS liberating! Think about how great you’ll feel when you’ve conquered this challenge. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your new, decluttered space. Celebrate with a party or maybe, at the end of the day, just light some candles, have a glass of wine or a cup of tea and relax.
So those are my favorite four ways to declutter but there are more I haven’t touched on.
Marie Kondo has six rules for decluttering that aren’t all that different from those I’ve chosen. You can learn about them in Spark Joy, an illustrated guide to her best selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up.
I hope you’ve learned a thing or two to make decluttering more pleasant. Honestly, I’ve got to get a grip on this, myself. I’ve already started by gathering things to take to a local consignment shop. I’ve got so many books that I brought with me to Arizona from Minnesota that I really won’t read, again, so those I’ll donate.
There’s a wonderful children’s home called Sunshine Acres near where I live in Mesa and they’ll send a truck to pick up items. They also have a fabulous shop where I bought a lot of furniture for my home when I moved to Arizona. There’s a to-die-for boutique, too.
You might have such a place where you live, too. Check it out.
There are other wonderful charity shops, too. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and St. Vincent dePaul are just a few. These people do such good work and support those who need it so donating is an excellent idea. Plus, you’ll get a tax deduction! It’s a win-win situation.
So thanks for stopping by. Please let me know which of these ideas you like best or if you have suggestions for decluttering that aren’t listed here!