Updated: Jul 13
“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris
The clutter in our homes does much more than take up space. It causes more clutter in our minds. You may not be consciously thinking about the excess items in your home or the piles of paperwork you’ve been meaning to go through. Maybe you don’t think you have clutter because on the surface your house looks tidy, but your cupboards are filled to the brim with stuff you not only do not use, but to be honest, you can’t even remember half of what’s in them. And what about your spare room or your shed/garage are they organised with only items that are useful?
The world has enough chaos in it,
we don’t need it in our homes too.
“Our homes are not containers for stuff, but rather a place for joy and connection. Let’s make room for that.” – Courtney Carver
It’s so easy to walk past the clutter and say to ourselves ‘I’ll get to that later” or maybe the clutter has been part of our lives for so long, we don’t even notice it anymore.
Picture your dream house… where’s the clutter?
It’s true though, isn’t it? If you have ever visualised your ideal home, I’m sure, like my dream home, it would be filled with your wonderful furniture and decor, with plenty of storage space for your special things, you and I know we could open any one of those cupboards and there would be nothing but useful or beautiful things in there. Every corner of our dream home would have nothing but wonderful things that make us smile or make our lives easier. So, if that is true of our dream home… why is it not true of our current living space?
Quite often the clutter in our homes is a physical reflection of the state of our minds, a quiet and relaxed mind does not live with clutter, it lives in a peaceful environment, which is why your dream home looks clutter free. A cluttered home, whether it be on display around the house or hidden away in a cupboard or in the drawers, probably means there are excess things taking up time in your mind, making it harder to see things clearly.
“Get rid of the clutter and you may just find it was blocking the door you’ve been looking for.” – Katrina Mayer
How do we accumulate all this clutter?
Clutter comes in all shapes and sizes, it could be items you have been holding onto for years or it can be that your shopping habits have got the better of you.
For me it was a combination of the two. At one point my cookbook collection was out of control! I remember walking through the mall and front of me I saw in a popup book stall right in the centre of the shopping isle, my pace quickened as I made a bee-line for the cook books, my son caught up with me and said in a jokey but serious way “Mum, step away from the cookbooks, you seriously don’t need any more cookbooks”.
This is when I started to realise that this may be turning into a problem. No cookbooks were bought that day. And eventually I did reduce the collection to books I actually used the recipes from (and I may have kept a couple just because they look good on the kitchen work top!) So, I justify it to myself that they are either useful or bring me joy as a kitchen ornament.
“If you’re not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You’re not going to start using it more by shoving it into a closet somewhere.” – Joshua Becker
It's all too easy, when ‘tidying-up’ to put things ‘away’ just so we cannot see them. As long as we can close the door on it and no longer see the clutter, we get a temporary sense of satisfaction because we can tick ‘tidy living room’ off our list. Although we may have ‘tidied’ the living room we have just cluttered up the cupboard or the garage or maybe the attic. Just because we can’t see the clutter, doesn’t mean it’s gone, nor has it been cleared from our mental to do list. Even if we put it to the back of our minds, it’s still there, and will remain there until we make the decision to either throw it away or put it to good use.
“What I know for sure is that when you declutter – whether it’s your home, your head or your heart – it’s absolutely astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life and your family”. – Peter Walsh
Whether you want to declutter just one aspect of your life or if you want to de-clutter your entire life, the principles are still the same, start with the physical and once you have some momentum and seen even small results, it will transfer over to other aspects of your life and if you stick with it, your life can be as clutter-free as your home. And once you have lived clutter-free, you’ll never want to go back to your old ways.
Simple steps to get you started today
Depending on the amount of clutter you have it can be overwhelming just knowing where to start, if this is true for you, in my experience I’d say, baby steps. Start small, but do it well.
It does not matter where you start, as long as you start. Is there one particular area that has been bothering you? If so, start there. If not and it seems too overwhelming to even know where to start, I would suggest either your bedroom or the kitchen as these are the two places in any home that people tend to spend the most time in.
Turning your bedroom into a peaceful clutter-free sanctuary is the best way to ensure that you relax before bedtime and get a restful night’s sleep.
The kitchen tends to be the hub of the family in a lot of homes, and it is where you create the fuel for your body. It’s much easier and more motivating to create healthy meals in a clean and clutter-free environment.
And don’t worry if you create a little mess as you go through all the items. It will feel amazing once it’s done!
Get yourself in a positive frame of mind, don’t try to do it when you are feeling completely negative. Put on some music, maybe a nice uplifting fragrance in your diffuser or a scented candle to life the mood. It will make the whole experience so much more enjoyable and easier!
Choose a drawer, a cupboard or a room (if you feel up to a bigger challenge) then go through each and every item one-by-one asking yourself “is this useful to me now?” if the answer is “yes”, then find a home for it where it is easily accessible when you need or want to use it. If the answer is “no” ask yourself “ do I find this beautiful, does it make me smile or make me feel happy?” if the answer is “yes” find it a home where you can see it so it brings you joy every day. If the answer is “no” then it belongs either in the rubbish bin, the box you can take to the second-hand store, or you can sell it on market place (or some other selling platform). Either way it does not belong in your home.
Use this decluttering guide to help you to declutter your home today.
Emotional ties can make these decisions so much harder and if you come across one or more items that you really struggle to make the decision about, then make a box marked ‘To decide when I’m stronger’. This way you can carry on with your de-cluttering project and not get too distracted by one or two items which may make you lose the momentum.
If de-cluttering is pretty new to you the decisions can be overwhelming but the more you de-clutter the easier the decisions become.
Don’t beat yourself up if some items are just too hard to decide upon, because as you get better at this, it becomes a lot easier (I say this from personal experience). If you keep building your declutter mental muscles you will soon be able to open your ‘To decide when I’m stronger’ box and the decisions will be easy, or at the very least – easier.
Once you get the hang of it, it can be quite cathartic, healing and very rewarding both mentally and physically. The extra space you have after all this de-cluttering starts to feel empowering. Your home feels more spacious and inviting. Your mind more relaxed and freer to concentrate on things that matter to you. You will find you have more time free to do the things that matter to you. Life becomes more simple, calmer and you feel better inside and out.
“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly, It’s your masterpiece after all.” – Nathan W. Morris
Click here for ideas to help you declutter your mind
Where will you start your decluttering journey? I’d love to hear.
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