View from the grand canyon in winter
I recently had a question from a good friend of mine. She was asking for help!? She knows she wants to start decluttering but doesn't know where to start and feels overwhelmed!
I figured quite a few of you might be in the same boat and wanted to offer a few tips on how to get started, just in time for the weekend.
The first thing to remember is that decluttering is not a race and there is no end point. Decluttering is a process. It's iterative. It never ends. As long as you are alive and bringing stuff into your home, you will always have something to give away.
With that said, it's a slow process. Take it easy, don't force yourself to give away more than you can.
I've spent the last 3 years really decluttering and trying to live with less. It all started when we moved cross country so many times. We moved 8 times in 6 years. By the third time of dragging your stuff cross country, you are just about ready to chuck it out the window. :)
What moving taught me was this - when we moved, all my special stuff (and at that time ALL my stuff was special) seemed to get damaged or broken. Bookshelves broke. Mattresses had holes torn in them. My precious curtain rods, damaged beyond repair. Furniture had big dings. I found movers using my yarn as packing materials around dirty muddy shoes (!!!!). My light shades crammed in with cooking supplies, cracked.
It made me really mad, didn't they know how special all this stuff was to me?
But they didn't, to them it was just stuff. Letting go of all the broken stuff, accepting the damage got me into the mindset that it was just stuff too. Stuff can be replaced, people and experiences can't. If I spend my time taking care of my stuff, do I have enough time to live the exceptional life that I want to? Am I cultivating my friends or cultivating my stuff? That is the question I asked myself.
So I started decluttering. I started in one room and worked my way around the house, room by room. The first round I maybe gave away 0.1% of the stuff. Then, the next time I worked my way around the house room by room and this time I found I was OK with giving away a little more, say 2%. Around and around I worked giving away more stuff with each pass. Around and around I still go, the process never ends.
The lesson here is, if you can't find yourself allowing yourself to give certain items away, it's OK. You might find yourself giving them away later.
Here are some tips to get started -
Step 1, Gather equipment
Gather 1 give away box, 1 put away box, 1 can't decide box and 1 trash bag.
Grab a timer
Step 2, Commit!
Commit to decluttering for 20 minutes in one space
Step 3, Sort!
Set your timer and start sorting. Put the easy wins, the things you know you can give away in the give away box
Put the trash in the trash bag
Put the things you find that belongs somewhere else, like in another room, in the put away box. Don't leave the room to put it away then, you'll get distracted!
If you're having a hard time getting rid of something but you're not sure if you should keep it or give it away don't decide right now, put it in the can't decide box
At the end of 20 minutes, put away the items in the put away box.
Commit to doing this 2 times a day for 20 minutes each. When the boxes or bags are full, put the trash in the trash can and the donate box in your car and grab another fresh box. Keep going, moving from one space to another. Don't spend too much time thinking about getting rid of something or not. You know deep down in your gut if you want to keep it. If you truly can't decide, put it in the can't decide box and keep moving. Get rid of the easy stuff, the stuff you know you don't need and save the hard decisions for later.
What I do is put everything in the can't decide box in my closet and then put a date on it. If I haven't used it or thought about it in 6 months than I truly know that I don't need it and I donate it.
So how is your pick 5 going this week? What have you gotten rid of? Have any tips on how to start decluttering?