Your kitchen counter is buried. Your cupboards are overflowing. You can hardly see the floor. Useless stuff has invaded your living space, and you feel “stuffocated.” Well, spring is here, and that means it’s time to do some spring cleaning – in other words, decluttering.
Getting back to basics
Decluttering means getting rid of superfluous items so you can see what you really need. It’s a time-saver, too: say goodbye to all the time you used to spend collecting things and looking for stuff in vain. Disorder is discouraging. You’ll be grateful to have a tranquil, streamlined environment that gives you a sense of relaxation and well-being.
A step-by-step guide to becoming a decluttering pro
✔ Step 1: Get ready
To declutter without creating a mountain of garbage, think about how things can be reused. With the right materials and an organized approach, you can sort your stuff in an efficient and environmentally-friendly way.
- Box 1: Items you want to give to friends and family.
- Box 2: Items you want to take to a charity or second-hand shop.
- Box 3: Items you want to sell.
- Box 4: “Maybes,” items you can’t decide about: keep or get rid of them?*
- Recycling bin: Items to be recycled.
- Garbage bag: Items destined for the dump.
*Keep the items in box 4 for six months, then make a decision. Did you miss the stuff that was stowed away in that box? If you didn’t, then it’s time to say bye bye!
✔ Step 2: Get into the rhythm
There are several ways to go about this. Some people prefer to do everything in a blaze of glory, while others take baby steps.
- 15 minutes a day: This is a great approach for people who don’t have much time and can’t think when they’ll be able to start the Big Sort.
- One room at a time: This is perfect for people who can free up a few hours on the weekend. Sorting out a whole room gives you that super satisfied feeling of accomplishment.
- The big clear-out: This approach is for the most drastic cases, people who like to start something and keep going till they’re done. Of course, that means clearing a whole weekend, but the feeling of freedom you’ll have is priceless.
✔ Step 3: Ask the right questions
When you’re trying to decide whether an item should stay or go, you need to ask some questions.
- Am I using this? If you haven’t used it over the past year, you probably won’t use it in the future.
- Does this item make me feel happy? Does that decorative object give you a special feeling? If not, out it goes.
- Do I have more than one of these? Does anyone really need 10 pots and pans?
- Could something else serve the same purpose? That automated apple peeler could easily be replaced by… a plain old knife.
- Am I keeping this “just in case”? If you bought that sweater four years ago but have never worn it, the chances are slim that you’ll ever wear it in the future.
Getting rid of material goods that serve no purpose means creating a tranquil, pared-down environment that’s ideal for reflection and relaxation. And no more searching in vain for that thing you know you have somewhere… This one is definitely a “like”!