It’s spring time and so it’s the perfect time to declutter your home.
For most of us we have too much stuff. Clutter fills our homes from attic to basement and closets are so jammed packed we can barely close the door.
I’m a firm believer in having only beautiful things in my home and that provide me with joy and happiness. I learned and embraced this concept after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Mari Kondo.
I mean what’s the point of just trashing all your possessions if you find yourself longing for something you discarded that you really loved. So, the best way to decide what you love and what brings you joy is to hold each object in your hand and ask the questions, ‘Does this item bring me joy?’ Then and only then can you know for sure if you should toss or keep. To me, this is at the heart of learning how to declutter your home.
Although I personally love this method, I know that many people feel that other questions must be asked before discarding an item and so I’m going to ask you to challenge yourself and ask some basic questions as you ponder what to toss, what to donate and what to sell.
Keep in mind that after each of these questions you’ll then ask yourself if the item sparks joy (per the Kon Mari Method). In all cases, if the answer is ‘no’ you’ll dispose of it.
The reason you’ll ask the second question is that we only want to keep those things in our home that we love, and that provides us with a beautiful environment. If the item does neither of those things for you, you should toss it.
The reality is once you start the process to declutter your home you’ll begin to feel better – almost lighter and your home will look better too.
Before you begin, grab two garbage bags. One for things you’ll toss and one for things you’ll donate. Don’t worry about how you’ll deep clean and reorganize your space. That will happen after you’ve completed the process of deciding what is being discarded. If you stop and start cleaning and organizing you’ll lose the momentum of decluttering your home and the project will be derailed. When at all possible you should declutter your home in one fell swoop so you can enjoy the benefit of a space that has been fully decluttered.
Let’s start by looking at the questions you’ll ask yourself so you can start making decisions about what to keep and what to toss.
How To Declutter Your Home Fast
1. Have I used this in the last year?
We have the best of intentions. We hit the store see something that catches our eye and decide to purchase it. The problem is most of what we buy we never actually use, or we use once and never touch it again.
Pick up the item and ask yourself if you’ve used it in the last year. If the answer is yes, then ask yourself if the item sparks joy?
If no, toss. If yes, keep.
2. If I were shopping right now, would I buy this?
We have many things in our homes that we bought on a whim or a prayer. We also have gifts that were given to us that we probably don’t even like. If you would never buy this today or want it as a gift, then your answer is clear.
3. Is the only thing that’s keeping me from disposing of this item is I don’t want to waste money?
Boy, I get this! In my hay day of overindulging, I bought so many items of clothing that my closets and drawers were overflowing. Of course, there was no possible way I could wear it all, and so when I was faced with purging my clothes, I felt an immediate sense of guilt for all the money I had wasted.
Holding onto clothing or other possessions because you feel it’s wasteful to toss them provided a constant reminder of your past. It’s best to let go of these items once and for all. They provided a valuable lesson for you and hopefully moving forward you’ve learned a great deal about how to spend your money more wisely.
Only keep what brings you joy and let go of the rest.
4. Am I holding on to this for sentimental reasons?
I wrote an entire article on this very subject, and there are some great articles on the internet like Nobody Wants Your Parents Stuff that speaks directly about the problem with inherited items.
When I was faced with this dilemma, although difficult, I kept only those items that brought back wonderful and joyful memories and things I absolutely wanted to keep. Everything else was sold at the yard sale or donated to charity. It was hard to see those things go, but I knew they didn’t bring me joy and would only overwhelm me to have to keep them.
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5. Do I have a similar item that serves the same purpose?
We love duplicates. Most of us have three staplers, five measuring cups, three hammers and many other duplicates in our home. If you find yourself with duplicates, pick the item in the best condition if it serves a specific purpose and sell or donate the rest.
Of course, a hammer may not bring you joy, but you’ll probably need on occasion. The question becomes do you need three?
6. Do I have a realistic plan to use this?
How many times have you saved and stored something because ‘someday I may use it?’ Well, what often happens is someday never comes, and you’re left with an item that doesn’t spark joy but instead takes up space and leaves you’re living space jammed.
If someday is in the equation and you don’t have a realistic plan to use the item, get rid of it.
7. Does it fit me or my living space?
Our living space is sacred. We want only those items that are beautiful and bring us joy. If an item does not meet that criteria its time to part with it.
8. Am I holding on to the broken item to fix in the future?
Anything that is broken should be tossed particularly if has been broken for longer than two weeks. Anything after that time frame will more than likely NEVER be repaired and is just cluttering up your home. This goes for broken toys, games with missing pieces, and puzzles.
We need to start looking at our houses like the safe sanctuaries they were meant to be. The world is full of chaos. The last thing we want to replicate is the chaos of the outside world in our homes.
Take the time this weekend, pick a room and start to declutter your home. My suggestion: start in the bedroom so you can create an oasis you deserve. In the end, the peace and tranquility you’ll feel once you’ve rid yourself of the excess and clutter will be worth the effort.