Is there anything more refreshing than a clean slate? Personally, I find it hard to imagine. Recently I have found myself transforming into someone who can no longer tolerate clutter of any sort. Physical clutter slows me down, it gives me anxiety,
and I find myself spending copious amounts of my time trying to keep it in order. More than that, it reminds me of all the excess that I have surrounded myself with.
The physical affects my mood and mindset deeply and I have committed myself to removing clutter from my life in all forms. Of course the end goal is to declutter my “mind” so to speak, but I don’t believe I am capable of that with physical clutter still surrounding me. In my quest to declutter my possessions, I have discovered a few things I would like to share:
Don’t Start off Small: This might seem antithetical to the usual rhetoric of decluttering, but as someone who gets distracted easily this is the best method for me. Whenever I followed this classic advice I always ended up finishing the first couple of tasks and then slowly loosing momentum. However, I discovered that when I let myself be overwhelmed and go for it all at once I do a much better job. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I set aside an entire day to declutter and work all day long until I have finished. It’s like running a marathon versus doing small jogs everyday.
Don’t be Sentimental: I’m not much of a sentimental person concerning physical objects, but I have seen other people become incapable of tossing things that bring back memories. If something is incredibly special, keep it. But it’s important to be harsh in judging what is truly special. Give yourself tough love when tossing things. If you think for a second that it can go in the junk pile: do it; don’t second guess yourself.
Employ a Strategy: Logistics are important to any big event running smoothly and decluttering is no different. Preparation is key here: you need a game plan. And perhaps a teammate too. If you are someone who has trouble letting things go I would suggest enlisting a friend or a family member (make sure this person could NOT be featured in an episode of hoarders). What works best for me is to write down on a piece of paper every area that needs to be decluttered. Underneath the area I will write myself a few notes about my goals for this section. For example when I decluttered my kitchen my goals were: to narrow down my cookware to multipurpose items and essentials only, clear the pantry of expired items, and to throw out excessive kitchen tools. Do I really need four frying pans with only an inch diameter difference? Not really. In fact, the more pans I have the less I find myself wanting to clean the one’s that are dirty. Lastly, number the areas to be decluttered on your list from most to least important to you. Start with the most important and work your way down the list.
All of these strategies have helped me declutter my possessions in a way that I haven’t been able to in the past. The most important strategy that I can only hope to assist you with, however, is a perspective shift. A consumerist lifestyle is what most of us living in the Western world have been immersed in since birth; it takes a lot to unlearn that and realize that the type of lifestyle that feels best to us isn’t always what we grew up expecting it to be.