The holidays are over, the resolutions are made, and the chapters and articles on organization and home upkeep have been read and bookmarked. People are sorting and purging their belongings in a flurry like never before. If the thought of decluttering puts visions in your mind of selling your belongings and moving away, do not panic. Decluttering is beneficial for many reasons including an increase of wellbeing and happiness— no move required.
THE MANY BENEFITS OF DECLUTTERING
While paring down belongings will definitely create a more pleasurable living environment, the mental and emotional benefits to decluttering are also positive. A cleaner home is easier to maintain. For example, it is much easier to clean a kitchen when all that needs to be done is a simple routine of wiping down the sink and putting dishes in the dishwasher, rather than a full-scale kitchen cleaning.
Additionally, when a home is straightened, the inhabitants tend to be less stressed or overwhelmed without the sight of mounting chores and piles of laundry.
Upon making the choice to part with some items in a home, the most overwhelming part can simply be deciding how to begin. There are a variety of methods available from which to choose. A popular one currently is the KonMari method, named after Marie Kondo who wrote the number one New York Times bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This method helps determine which items to keep based on feelings of joy.
Another popular method is called the Four Box Method. To declutter this way, simply take four boxes, and label them with the following phrases: put away, give away, throw away, and undecided. Then take items and sort them accordingly into each box.
A third method, the Packing Party, might seem a little more daunting, but can be quite effective. This method also works particularly well if you are moving. It requires you to pack up the entire house (decluttering as you go). Then unpack items as you need them over a three-month period. At the end of the three months, immediately donate everything still packed and unused.
Regardless of which method is selected, it is important to set aside some time to complete the task. It is highly unlikely that the entire decluttering process will take place in one session. So, make sure to plan on spending an hour or two daily for several weeks.
How much to invest in decluttering is completely up to each individual. However, a few standard tools will help take the stress out of this endeavor. Paper clutter is one of the most arduous tasks to sort through. A scanner can scan items into digital copies, so you can recycle the originals. A shredder ensures safe disposal of financial and other personal statements.
Other worthwhile tools to invest in can include a camera to take photos of physical objects that hold a special memory but you no longer wish to keep. In this case, a picture really is worth a thousand words.
Once you finish combing through and sorting items into piles to keep and discard, consider how to dispose of the discard pile. Sometimes it is fairly obvious what to do with things. However, a general rule of thumb is if the item is worn out, broken beyond repair, unusable, or hazardous, it should be thrown away.
Donate items in good condition; drop them off with charity or some will even come to pick up items. Remember, if the item is not something usable, throw it away rather than donate.
Consider selling items of higher value. Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, and Ebay are some popular ways to make some cash while decluttering.
Once you decide exactly which items to keep in the home, it is time to put a system in place to maintain everything. Start with the storage that you already own. This includes cabinets and closets in your home as well as extra storage containers. Next, evaluate the needs for each space and the items you will keep there. Now is the right time to invest in things like a closet system and/or jewelry storage to make it easier to keep your possessions organized in the future.
Regardless of how you choose to declutter, or how long the process takes, treat yourself when you are done. A massage or other pampering gives you something to look forward to. Just make sure whatever you choose will not add any more clutter to your newly uncluttered home.