Declutwhat? Decluttering. It’ a word whereby most people activate their selective deafness. Cleaning your room, house or apartment might sound like the smelly hell on earth, but as a matter of fact it helps your productivity, health and mental situation. By removing and replacing all the objects you don’t need, you’ll feel as light as a bird. It really is worth the effort.
But… It isn’t easy. You’ll have to make a lot of choices like throwing out things that used to be important to you. But every time you’re facing such a dilemma, try to ask yourself: when was the last time I’ve used or thought about it? If the answer is a long time ago, the best solution is mostly to throw it away.
To-think-about: when was the last time you really had a productive time at your desk? Was it nice and clean or did it look like there had been a storm?
what is decluttering exactly and why should I do this?
What makes decluttering hard to explain is that it’s a matter of personal life. I can’t tell you what you have to keep, for the simple reasons that I don’t know what you have and what the story behind it is. The process of decluttering is based on what you need to be happy. No more, no less.
It’s a bit like the definition of minimalism. A minimal life is one where you have everything you need and do what makes you happy. In the short term but also in the long term. A minimal interior is mostly the same. In the end your apartment, room or house will only have the things you (and your family) need to be happy and function best.
Now the answer to why decluttering might be beneficial for you. Like I’ve already told you in the beginning of this article it helps your productivity, health and mental situation. For example when your desk is filled with all kinds of things like paper, books, your laptop and your stationary, your mind will easily be distracted. Seeing something in particular can make you think of other tasks that need finishing. This distraction can cause a lot of stress and stress causes so much damage to your body. (by the way, if you do experience a lot of stress, here’s how to become a no-stress princess with easy tips to reduce or handle with stress.)
To-think-about: ever tried to go for a run, start some knitting and making a phone call to your dentist all at once? Im-pos-si-ble! It’s the same with your brains. It’s so exhausting to do so many things all at once. So try not to multitask.
find the reason
Besides from actually getting your decluttering-project started, it’s important to know why you own all this stuff in the first place. Just throwing out the things you don’t want or need anymore, won’t necessarily solve the problem. Chances are that after a couple of months your room, appartement or house will be filled again. So start by asking yourself the question how it got this far.
The minimalists came up with some questions to find your ‘why’. I took the freedom to enlarge them so they’re more complete. Try to answer these, but be honest and don’t fool yourself.
1 | When did I start giving so much meaning to possessions?
2 | Do these things really have so much meaning as I think they have?
3 | Did I buy them for myself or to impress others?
4 | What’s truly important for me? (its finding your priorities, the post on how to live more simple helps you with that)
5 | Am I discontent with my life? If the answer is yes: how come?
6 | Who/how is the person I’d like to become?
When you’ve answered the questions, try to keep them in mind when you’re on the edge of buying something new. Do you really need it? Will you still use it after several months? Do you want to buy it for yourself or to impress others? Why do you really want them?
Tip: some people use a little trick to keep the amount of belongings more or less the same. For every item they buy, an item they already have, has to go.
how to get started?
Like most other activities getting your ass off the couch is the first part of the process. Important to keep in mind to get yourself motivated is knowing the benefits of this project and the ‘why’ you want to do this. After you’ve figured this out, you can start the preparation. Another help to keep yourself motivated are the articles on how to get shit done and how to stay motivated. (This second one even has a free printable.)
What do you need to make this decluttering not so bad? Boxes, a lot of boxes so you can sort your stuff. Which one you need is up to you, but here are some suggestions: throw-away-papers, trash in general, stuff you don’t need or want anymore and stuff you don’t use a lot. The things you want to keep can stay on your drawer, although cleaning after you’ve sorted, is always a good idea. Just swipe the dust away!
Note: keep in mind that there’s a possibility that you’ll have to use more than one box for the stuff you don’t want or need anymore. No panic, that’s a good thing. This way you’ll only keep the things you really need to be happy.
Now that you’ve found the boxes you need, it’s time to pick one room (even an area in the room). For example your dresser which has clothes on the inside and collected items on top of it. Grab an item and think whether you want to keep it or not. But be hard on yourself! Don’t say ‘I’ll need that someday’. If you’ve never used it before or won’t use it in the next month: you probably won’t use it at all. Keep repeating this process until you’ve seen everything on your dresser and all the objects are sorted.
Normally you now only have the stuff you really want to keep. These remaining things need a proper place. You don’t need to put it all in a drawer, because your place will look a bit too clean and getting inspired will be more difficult. On the other hand you also don’t want to stuff your dresser again so no one can see its original color anymore. It’s about finding the right balance and composition.
Now that your dresser is cleaned on the outside, it’s a good idea to take a quick look on the inside. If there are clothes, check whether you’re still wearing them. If you’ve stuffed it with even more things (as a way of ‘cleaning’ your room) sort those out too. Unfortunately this whole decluttering-thing won’t be finished after a couple of hours or even days. If you do it thoroughly, which I really recommend although it simply sucks to do, your head will feel more at ease when it’s finished.
Tip: to make the process less endearing, you can also declutter about 10 minutes a day.
Download here the 9 things to throw away list