When it comes to getting organized, one of the key elements must be decluttering. However, for many people, the very idea of getting rid of their possessions is right down scary. As with any other process, it often helps to have some rules in place. Consider these six rules of decluttering to help you take steps toward living a clutter-free life.
1. Bring Less Home
The most important rule to set before you even begin to purge items is to make a sincere effort to bring less stuff in. There’s no point in putting forth the effort to declutter if you undo all your progress by buying more stuff. Setting a mindset to shop with intention is the first step to clearing out the clutter for good.
Think before you buy. Consider what old item is the new item replacing. You not only decrease clutter but also save money. Of all the rules of decluttering this made it to the top of the list because it’s very helpful in preventing trouble before it starts. Less stuff = less organizing needed.
2. Document Your Nostalgia
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion that can lead us to hold onto clutter. An effective compromise is to digitize your prized possessions. You can scan the images of things like certificates or kids’ artwork into your computer and organize them into folders. For three-dimensional pieces like trophies or prom dresses, take a photo of the item to add to your digital keepsakes.
3. Begin with Small and Simple
One way to gain momentum in the paring-down process is to start with the easy things. Begin boxing up items that don’t hold much emotional attachment. Doing so will lead to a sense of accomplishment and provide motivation for you to keep going when the decision-making becomes tougher.
Another idea: start with a small area, such as the coat closet or the bathroom drawers. If you were to pick one small space a day at the end of a month you’d have 30 areas of your home decluttered.
4. Say Goodbye to the Duplicates
Another relatively easy decluttering task involves getting rid of unnecessary duplicate items. So take a moment to go through your home and gather up all your duplicate articles of clothing, dish sets, and books. Then sort through them, keeping only your favorite colored piece or the one that is in the best condition.
5. Stop Feeling Guilty
An empowering decluttering strategy is to get rid of things you’ve been holding onto out of guilt. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for that stylish coat if it’s not being used, and unwanted gifts are something else you should part with immediately. These things are yours. The decision of whether to keep them is also yours.
A touchy part of this is inheriting items from family members. Thinking of getting rid of it causes guilt. However, if you have no use for it, getting rid of it doesn’t mean you are love that person any less. You have to detach your emotions for a person from the items you associate with that person.
6. Give All Things in a Place
Another way to bring organization to your home is to make sure all of your possessions have a designated place and to always return them there. Knowing where stuff belongs makes it easier to keep everything tidy and lowers the chance of clutter becoming a recurring problem. This rule completes two things. First, it prevents the clutter from returning. And second, it helps you see when you have too many belongings. If items never have a place, that’s a sign you have too many belonging to keep organized.
These rules of decluttering aren’t the definitive last word on an organized home, and they won’t remove all of the difficulties from the process. Hopefully, though, they will serve as guidelines to help you begin your own decluttering journey.