Whether you are selling your house, moving into a smaller space or just trying to make better use of the space you have, you could probably stand to de-clutter your life. It’s one of the main points of staging a home, and while many people choose to hide their stuff for the sale and then drag it to the next house, this only adds more work with very little pay off. Why not take this opportunity to free yourself from clutter? Bid adieu to the stuff – it’s only weighing you down.
The truth is, many of us have very little free time and often feel pulled in too many directions. When you add piles of stuff to the mix it’s enough to overwhelm anyone. I know you’ve been meaning to get organized but let’s face it: if you have an office filled with stuff, you can spend your time and money on organizing and get it all stored away, but at the end of the day you still have an office filled with stuff. And that clutter is zapping your energy, so let’s lighten your life – get rid of it.
Where to begin? Get some boxes and label them: recycle, garbage, for donation and storage. What should go into these boxes? Well, for starters, things that you don’t use on a regular basis, clothes you haven’t worn in the past year and anything you’ve been “meaning to fix”.
We often have emotional ties to items – I’m not suggesting that these aren’t valid. They may not, however, contribute to your current emotional well being, and if you are feeling overwhelmed your knik knaks might be contributing to that. So if you have things you don’t use but can’t bear to part with, like that lamp from Aunt Hetty or the t-shirt from college, you have a couple of options. You can put them in a box and label it “memories”. Store the box in a garage and revisit it in six months to a year. Maybe it’s fine to stay in the garage, or maybe you will want to get rid of some of those items when you realize how little you missed them.
Another option is to take photographs of the things that are important to you. Maybe you want to combine the images with a little story about the memory attached to the item. Maybe the photo is enough. In any case, with your new record of the image, you are free to get rid of the item itself.
Once you’ve gotten rid of the clutter, clean as you go – this one sounds obvious, but if you don’t make it a habit you’ll find clutter creeping back into your life. Suddenly your house is a mess again, requiring way more energy to clean. Train yourself to put things away after you take them out and file paperwork on a weekly, if not daily basis. It’s easy to slip into the habit of intending to put things away later, but be diligent. Schedule 20 minutes a day and a couple of hours on the weekend to tidy and organize. By doing it bit by bit on a regular basis, the clutter will be far less overwhelming.
Setting rewards may help keep you motivated and besides, you deserve them. But you’ve worked so hard to cut down the clutter – don’t add to it. Instead of getting yourself something new as a treat, treat yourself to a service or activity instead. Take yourself to the movies, get a massage or manicure or schedule a couple of hours to get into that book you’ve been meaning to read (then pass it on!).
By making a few simple changes you can de-clutter your home for good. You’ll be amazed at how much lighter your life will feel.