Living With Less // Decluttering

Here we are again! Another Wednesday!

Confession: I don’t like clutter very much, but I’m not a very motivated declutterer! This poses a big dilemma. So one of my Living With Less quests this year is to really dive in and declutter my spaces. 

To me, “clutter” is all the stuff that accumulates around you. Stuff that doesn’t have a proper home, or just never got put back where it belongs (or junk mail, ha!). Clutter isn’t necessarily what resides in the recesses of your closets. Because it’s not right in front of you, “cluttering” your vision and your mind. So that makes decluttering the act of putting the stuff away, throwing out the garbage, shredding/recycling the junk mail!

Decluttering is the first step to take before you can get to the real task of going through all your things and making the decisions that will truly have you living with less. Today I’m going to share a couple of tips to help you through this process.

Any Pinterest search for decluttering worth its salt will tell you that there are different approaches you can take in the battle against clutter. You can do a marathon session over a weekend and declutter your entire space in one fell swoop. Or you can take one room at a time and tackle your whole home over a month or two. Or, if you’re like me, you take one part of a room, make it look worse than when you started and leave it like that for weeks while you slowly make your way through it… lol, okay maybe that one doesn’t come up in a Pinterest search…

Of course there are different levels of clutter too. I live alone and manage to accumulate the clutter of at least two or three people. Maybe you have a roommate or live with your partner, or have children, or other family members living with you. Everyone’s situation is going to be different and thus may require a different approach. No matter your clutter level, hopefully you can find a helpful gem here today that you can implement in your attempt to combat clutter once and for all! Let’s jump in!

Start Small

If you’re lacking motivation, which lets face it, we all do sometimes, just start small! Put on your favorite playlist or podcast and work on something easy, something with little to no emotional attachment, to get into the groove. Get a win under your belt and you may just be motivated to keep at it! A lot of times I just call this “straightening up.” It doesn’t necessarily require having to make decisions about whether to throw something out or to donate/sell it, it’s just putting away the stuff that somehow took up residence on the kitchen island… or dining table… or bedroom floor. You know what I’m talking about, right? Or is it just me?

Set A Timer

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Okay, I know this sounds like a major cliché, but there’s something to it! I use my iPhone or Apple Watch timer and set it for 15-20 minutes and then start going through things as quickly as I can in whatever room I’m in. If I am relocating something from one area of the room to another (or between rooms), I then see what I can declutter at my destination. That way I’m not wasting my steps (and precious minutes) as I move to and from opposite sides of the room or levels of the house. Just do as much as you can in your allotted time frame and when the alarm goes off, you can take a break. Or if you’re in the zone, repeat your alarm and keep at it until you’re done (physically or mentally)!

If you do this practice regularly, maybe once a day or two to three times a week, the clutter shouldn’t get too out of hand.

Clear Flat Surfaces

Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

One fool proof way to get your home looking and feeling decluttered is to clear off all of your flat surfaces. Table tops, counters, the floor! Things pile up SO easily, amiright? Now, in theory, you could grab everything that’s landed somewhere and put it in a box or basket and stuff it in a closet and shut the door. Hey, no shame- I do that sometimes!

Hiding the clutter away may be fine for the short term. Maybe even for the long term. But doing a clean sweep and stash repeatedly could end up backfiring when you open the closet door next time and everything falls out on top of you! But if this is a once in a while type of thing, no worries. Save the deeper dive for when you’re really in the mood to make decisions about what to keep, what to toss and what goes where.

Add A Basket

Photo by lucas mendes on Unsplash

If you’ve been here for a while, you may know that I love a basket. I wasn’t always on the basket bandwagon, but now I am. They can be works of art, and they’re always functional. I used to just pile stuff on my stairway that had to be returned to the upper level. Sometimes it got VERY out of hand. And then I’d try to grab everything at once and lug it up the steps, dropping things along the way. A much better approach, if space allows, is to place a beautiful basket at the top and/or bottom of your stairs (or near the transition into/out of a main living space) to corral items that have to be returned to their proper home. Make it a point to empty the basket once it’s full (or even if just one thing is in it if you can’t stand the sight), on certain days of the week, or every night if need be (no judgement)! 

I hope one or more of these tips inspired you to tackle some clutter in your space. Let me know! But right now, excuse me while I go sort through my junk mail pile that’s been staring at me this whole time!

How do you tackle clutter?

Many thanks and much love,

Featured Photo by Onur Bahçıvancılar on Unsplash

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