Get clear about why you want to get rid of the excess
There is no one set way to de-clutter. We will all have our very own ways of experiencing the world and will value very different things so it is important to first be clear about WHY you want to get rid of the excess and what you will gain and make room for in your life.
Which items really add value to your life?
Once you work out what you want more of in your life, whether it is space to pursue a hobby you’ve been meaning to do for years or whether it is to reduce stress and have fewer decisions to make about your stuff; the things that ARE important to you will become clearer and it will be easier to see what is just excess clutter that adds no value to your life.
We often trick ourselves into thinking that things are more important than they really are to justify ‘just in case’ items so be careful not to fall into these traps. Question your thinking of each item. You’ll be surprised how much stuff you hold onto for the future without it ever being a REAL need.
If you’re suffering from ‘just in case’, The Minimalists who we are avid fans of suggest that they have only had a few cases of needing the ‘just in case’ item and when they did they ‘never had to pay more than $20 or go more than 20 minutes out of our way to replace the item’.
Where to start?
There are endless way to de-clutter. Marie Kondo suggests starting with less sentimental categories and tackling them one at a time for example starting with clothes, books, kitchen paraphernalia, junk drawers ending with photographs and important documents/paperwork. Others suggest, de-cluttering one room at a time. You might go drawer by drawer. Ryan, one of The Minimalists boxed up all his possessions and had a packing party, taking out only items he needed over the course of a month.
How much time to spend de-cluttering?
This depends on you. If you’re like us, we tend to have de-cluttering phases but you may feel like you want to tackle your stuff once and for all. In this case, it might be worth taking a week off for just this purpose.
It also depends on how much stuff you have. If you have accumulated excessive amounts of stuff over the years it will obviously take time and may be overwhelming to tackle all at once in which case you may choose to do an hour each evening or pick a few weekends.
De-cluttering will be easier for some than others. Sentimental people may find it extremely challenging and it may take longer but be really clear and remind yourself WHY you are making space in your life.
De-cluttering can also be quite addictive and some of us would happily get rid of most of our possessions and move to a tiny house but that may not be appropriate due to current circumstances so bear this in mind.
Be mindful that de-cluttering is not the ultimate outcome; living an intentional life that fits with your values is what we are encouraging. Be careful not to get caught up in getting rid of stuff and not focusing on what you will add to your life, whether its time for hobbies or mental space for relationships.
Questions to ask yourself
- Does this item add value to my life?
- Do I really love it?
- Am I keeping it ‘just in case’?
- How often do I really use it?
- What would I gain if I got rid of it?
- Was it given to me and am I just keeping it because I feel guilty?
What do I do with my unwanted items?
- Give items to friends that you know they will like
- Donate to charities
- Research what is in your local area for specific items like glasses (opticians), bicycles (up-cycling centres)
- Warm clothes, toiletries for homeless people/women’s refuges
- Furniture up-cycling organisations
- Craft/hobby supplies for schools
- Props for local theatres
- Gardening equipment to community farms
- Re-cycle at your local waste centre
- Sell items online or give away to someone on freecycle