Decluttering is the enemy of the hoarder. We all lean one way or the other, and it can be painful to get out of the habit whichever way you prefer. However, a lack of decluttering can be far more visible, and pretty overwhelming. If you’re in a home full of “stuff” take a look at our guide to decluttering.
Take it in stages
There’s no use pretending that mess and clutter isn’t a symptom of a bigger problem sometimes. When that’s the case, or even if it’s not the case, it can feel very overwhelming trying to tackle it all. Start small. You can start with a room, or even better, a drawer, and work your way through. You might even find that you get into the groove once you get started and start enjoying yourself. Some people like seeing everything again, some people get some peace from a less cluttered space.
Make a list
Some people swear by making lists. It breaks a big project, like decluttering and organizing the house and breaks them down into pieces that are easier to digest. It’s a common method for dealing with big projects at work, so why not at home? It means you can tick off every one of your tasks as you go, starting with the simpler things that don’t worry you too much, and building up until an entire room looks like a showroom.
Do without it for a while
There are the things you’re sure you want to keep and the things you’re sure you want to toss, but there is always a big chunk in middle that you’re not sure about. If these things have no sentimental value, but you “might use it someday”, put it in a box marked for storage. Rent a storage unit and put everything you’re not sure about in there for a few months. If you haven’t used it by then, or sought it out in any way, get rid of it.
Separate sentimental from coincidental
You might be holding onto something old that holds some sentimental value, but really, it’s just a coincidence. A grandmother that left you a pendant isn’t going to mind if you throw out that wooden spoon she owned. I’m sure she loved baking, but you’ve got to be ruthless here. Between the two things to remember her by, the wooden spoon has to go.
Think about whether the things you’re keeping are actually sentimental. A sports trophy from childhood is a great sign of an achievement, sure, but it’s not doing its job as a sentimental object if you didn’t actually like the sport, didn’t pursue it, it brings back bad memories, etc. There’s no point in holding onto a ticket stub from a date with an ex you have no intention of seeing again, for example.
Really think about the feelings the items provoke. If they’re in any way negative, they need to go.
Find a place for what you pulled out
Inevitably, while you’re going through everything, you’re sure to come across a few things that you want to pull out. You might have an idea for somewhere they can go, or you might just know you want to see them again.
If you’re looking for places to display your new old things, use your vertical space. Add shelves or get a tall cabinet to use up the space that would ordinarily be empty or taken up by a poster.
Use space you wouldn’t normally think of. Store items under your bed, or under a side table. Create space in your kitchen with lots of small changes. And enjoy a clearer home with a clearer mind.