Does this sound familiar? You walk into your house after an exhausting day, look around at the mess called your living room, and seriously consider walking back out the door. If you’re like me, it’s impossible to relax when my environment is cluttered with junk. Home is supposed to be our refuge – our safe haven from the frantic, loud, lightning-paced track most of us call life.
Clutter and disarray can certainly lead to some serious stress and anxiety for you and your family. It can even make you feel like your life is spinning out of control. So the question is: How do we go about decluttering our lives?
Start small and tackle one room at a time….
Begin in your bathroom. Start by choosing to clean one surface at a time. This will help prevent you from getting discouraged early on. I like to start with one cabinet or shelf. If I get discouraged I come back another day to tackle another one. Don’t forget to throw away or donate all the products you’re not using including all that old nail polish.
Donate, recycle, sell, or toss…
Just get rid of it. Your junk is taking up your precious mental energy. How about having a garage sale to earn a little extra cash while freeing up space? Ask your friends to help. Contemplate using sites like Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook to sell unwanted items. Consignment shops are a great place to conveniently sell furniture and housewares for a small fee. Here are several areas where junk tends to accumulate.
•Old Electronics: Recycle old appliances and electronics that are littering your garage and laundry room. You can check with your local government for pickup or drop off locations.
•Books: Got stacks of romance novels leftover from the college days choking your bookshelves? Consider donating them to your local library or sell them online.
•Unworn Clothes: If you haven’t worn it in the last few months (years?), you’re not likely going to know it’s missing. Say goodbye to that decade old bridesmaid dress and that frayed Snoopy t-shirt and say hello to tax deductions!
•Unused Kitchen Items: You can make some serious dough off the appliances you never use in your kitchen. Take those items (that are likely still in the box) and sell them. Don’t forget to declutter the spice rack and utensil drawer. While you’re at it, clean out the pantry and donate what you don’t use to a local food bank.
•Kid’s Stuff: I have never amassed so much crap as I did when I had a baby. Not only is your time more limited but now you have to organize a whole other person’s stuff too. There are many opportunities to sell/donate the items that baby outgrows. Try to stay organized along the way so it doesn’t seem like such a daunting project. I like to buy the XL ziplocks and throw in similar size clothing and toys that baby outgrows.
•Paperwork: I seriously dread our files. I know we’re harboring at least a ton of paper that we don’t need or ever look at but we’re afraid to throw it out. If you don’t need it for taxes, chances are you won’t need it – especially because everything is available online these days. Go ahead – go grab a trash bag and call the shredding company.
Try following these tips to keep your environment decluttered:
1.) Give away one item every day
2.) For every new item you purchase, donate or throw one out
These simple rules can be extremely helpful in keeping ahead of the clutter. Remember: stuff holds us captive! If you’re scared, try to remember that you’ll always have the memory in your heart and now you’ll have all that free space and peace of mind.
Declutter your mind and your senses…
Our society is overstimulated by noise and technology. Reduce the time you spend watching television and listening to the radio. The news can be so depressing! Limit time on social media. Discovering that your second cousins’ dog had puppies is not as scintillating as you think. Don’t forget to take care of you! Meditate, start journaling, exercise, and have an adventure in nature!
Declutter your time…
Cancel part of your busy day and keep it that way. Schedule in the things that make your heart sing and make you lose all track of time because you’re having so much fun. Consider hiring someone to clean your home, do your laundry, or clean up your yard so you can spend your free time with the ones you love. It’s worth every penny.
“Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein