(My favourite song for de-cluttering:)
I accepted a dare of ‘no clothes shopping for a year’ a couple of years back, and strived for a simpler year. I also tried to give up watching T.V. at the same time. It helped me so much, with the biggest benefit being the time saved since it cured my shopping addiction.
I also realised a lot of fashion and models look really silly – not something I want to copy.
People with less stuff (so long as they have their basic needs) are happier! Having too many possessions is not a blessing – it is a burden.
My home still gets messy, but I don’t waste as much time dealing with things rather than spending time with loved ones.
There is no such thing as giving too much! The more I have given, the more I have gotten back. It is really hard to keep stuff out of the house, as just when I have donated lots of stuff, I have been given bags and bags of stuff just, seemingly out of nowhere!
My favourite online professional organiser, Alejandra – she is the real deal:
De-cluttering is not a static goal – it is a way of living. Output has to exceed input. For example, if I buy a new toy, I need to give some away.
I had to change my perspective to let go of stuff. For example, I had to stop thinking that objects = memories. I can still treasure a memory but let go of the object. I can take photographs, for example, and discard the original item. I did this with a huge box of drawings my parents had collected from when I was four years old. I had never used it, for my entire life. I kept a few of my favourites, took photos, and then threw out the whole box. Have I ever needed or missed them since that time? Never!
Feeling overwhelmed is quite common for me. Starting with the most obvious, messy areas is most effective. For example, I could de-clutter a closet, or the lounge-room. De-cluttering the lounge-room is going to improve my everyday experience a lot faster, because I use it all the time. I can just shut the closet and no-one will see the mess. I can leave the closet and other small, detailed jobs until I have done the ‘big picture’ stuff.
Starting with the root of clutter is very effective too. The root of clutter in our house is the garage. It is where all the un-used stuff ends up, and when it gets over-crowded there’s not enough storage space. Fix that, and then I can move all the stuff in there that I’m not using.
I have literally prayed for help, and I believe God has helped me to see more things I don’t need, or am not using so I can pass them on.
Redeeming time that could have been wasted is priceless. I had a huge suitcase full of old diaries and journals, that I was planning to type up and publish. When I calculated the time it would take it could have been years of my spare time!! My sister was helping me de-clutter and she suggested something I never would have considered – get rid of the diaries. I kept the ones from the most interesting and special times of my life, and threw out a huge box full. Whew! What a relief.. Now I can use my time for something more important.
As a big picture person I love the box technique. Pack what I’m not using in a box. Label it with what’s inside and date it. Leave it for 6 months – 1 year. If I haven’t required it within that time (unless it is an heirloom or irreplaceable keepsake), pass it on. I have found it better for me to pass things on without handling them again because touching objects revives a connection and sense of ownership, and decreases the likelihood of giving them away.