This decluttering journey has been a little harder than I expected because finding the time to actually get around to it with three kids is a little complicated. Not impossible, just complicated.
So a couple of weeks ago I set out on an adventure (who am I kidding calling it an adventure like its something super fun??) to declutter my whole house in 10weeks which turned out to be a bit of a mess because I didn’t get much done because of the expectations I set up to achieve, which were quite unrealistic to implement in my life right now.
The thing is, I set up a declutter list that would allow me to clear things out quickly but I really didn’t account for the amount of time I would need and the amount of time I actually had each day. Expectations and reality clash right there!
Instead of setting myself up for achievement, I found failure pretty quickly. Within the first week, to be exact. In the first few days, I already fell behind on my schedule on my list because of my poor planning and high expectations. So before I continued trying to organize my life, I had to figure out what I was doing wrong and change that! It took me a few months to sit down and find the causes of clutter (which I’ll share about in a different post at a later stage) and the best approaches to successful decluttering.
These aren’t set ‘rules’ that need to be followed to successfully declutter your home but merely guidelines to implement to your own planning and sorting. Apply them all or just the ones that you’re struggling with. Happy decluttering!
Create a list
Before you jump into the pile of things waiting around to be sorted, you need to create a list of things that you need to sort through and see what’s useful and what isn’t. This list will give you some ideas of items that you can declutter from your home if you’re stuck and don’t know where to begin and identify ‘useful’ clutter.
Create a schedule
Be realistic in doing this. If you know you only have time on a weekend to sort things, split your schedule up into simple sections so you can work at your own pace to get through your decluttering. If you’re planning on doing it during the week, look at working it into your daily routine, making sure to allow for some breathing space as certain sections of decluttering may take longer than others and you’ll probably need to use an extra day or two to work through them. Don’t make the same mistake like I did and overschedule everything, because it’s not always possible to stick to it and feeling overwhelmed won’t be fun.
Small and simple does the trick
Start with small and simple items in your home that won’t take up too much time and move to the bigger this as you go along. Seeing progress in your work helps avoiding feeling overwhelmed by a big mess and helps motivate you as you see how much you’ve already achieved.
Finish one, start next
Don’t hop around on your list. When you start decluttering one section, finish it before moving onto the next. The more you skip around, the less you’ll actually be doing and the longer it’s going to take. It’s one thing I’ve struggled with; not completely finishing a section and moving to another, and then a couple of days later, the first section I was busy with is still in a mess because I keep moving onto something else.
Duplicates must go
I still haven’t figured out why we need so many duplicate items which we don’t ever even use but all I know is that it takes up space and it has no real use. So if you have duplicates of things, let them go. Less clutter and more open space!
Put things in their place
Another thing I still struggle with because it takes effort to put things back in their place but then it takes days for me to find those items again, and always on the days I REALLY needed them. So to create less clutter, pack things in their place; it will help with cleaning, less things to declutter and keep things in order and tidy.
Let go of that guilt
Decluttering can come with a lot of mixed emotions; accomplishment, breathing space, happiness and guilt. Guilt about letting things go that you need to get rid off that have maybe been in your life for many years, holding sentimental value and memories. Don’t let the guilt stop you from doing what needs to be done. There’s a reason you added those items to your list, so don’t let your emotions crowd your judgement to do what needs to be done.
Document your emotions
If the emotional side is really an issue, then document it. Write about your feelings, write about why you’re doing this, the guilt you’re feeling, etc. Writing works as a great outlet. It will help with releasing what you’re feeling inside and also give you an opportunity to reflect back on times you need motivation to declutter again and the benefits you felt from doing it previously.
Don’t just chuck everything out after you’ve decided it has to go. Go through everything and see what can be sold, or donated or recycled. Something that you might not need could be of use to another.
Bring less home
To keep your house clutter-free, you need to take a stand with bringing things home that you don’t need. It’s also about accepting things from others that are given to you. Sometimes those people are only passing on their own clutter to you and you’re storing it without even realizing it.
If it’s not yours, don’t touch
If someone has lent you something, and you don’t have permission from that person, you can’t get rid of their things. I know it might put a damp on your schedule and clearing out, but you’ll need to first find out what the person wants to do with it. So until you know, put it aside and focus on your own things.
I hope these guidelines will help your decluttering journey and help you become organized and prepared for what you need to get done!
Do you have guidelines that can help with decluttering? Let me know!