After I wrote my post about the rules on decluterring, some people have reached out and told me that they really want to start their own road to minimalism. Unfortunately, the idea of decluttering alone can leave people exhausted and the task seems daunting. I know I felt the same way before which was also why it took me years before I truly started.
Since I have been on this path, I thought that perhaps I could give you guys a few tips here and there to help you get started on how you can declutter your own areas. Though I am not an expert, I have been successfully doing this for a few months now so I will share what I know and hope that it helps jumpstart your own trip.
A lot of people say that you just needto jump the gun and start big. When the idea of decluttering alone leaves you feeling faint and exhausted, going big will not be the best idea. Start small.
If you have a pile of magazines lying around, a pile of notebooks, little notes, receipt, or the like, start from there. Throw away receipts that are over a year old or have no value. Toss magazines that are 6 months old or better yet, donate it to the nearest salon. Get rid of pens that no longer write. Trash hair accessories that are frayed, old, or dirty.
When you start small, you accomplish more and it builds the feeling of being able to do the whole decluttering task little by little. This builds your confidence and whets your appetite to clean more. When you see that a space has popped up where there was just stuff before, you feel a sense of victory. It may be a small space but it is a space nonetheless.
2. Set a schedule.
Again, go for small victories rather than big herculean tasks.
30 minutes on a weekend, just go through random stuff and when you see something that you know you do not need, want, or use, toss it. It helps lessen the burden and lighens the load one paper at a time. When you make this a habit, you learn to minimize the clutter bit by bit instead of letting it build again. Soon you will notice that you tend to declutter in small ways: compiling things and putting them together instead of having everything all over the house. You will realize that now, before you stash a piece of paper into that one drawer everyone has (yes, that drawer that people just fill with random stuff) you will learn to think "Do I really need to keep this?"
3. List down what you want in your house and then list down the places you'd like to donate to for the things that you don't want or like anymore.
When you have a goal in mind, it becomes easier to let things go. When you know what style you want, what general items you want to keep, it becomes easier to imagine if a certain item has a place in your future. When you have a look you want to follow, things suddenly become wanted and not wanted.
When you know that there are people who will benefit from something you have, it becomes a lot easier to give away things you have been keeping just because. When you know that there are chidren who would need those notebooks more than you do, you can easily let go. When you have people who would need that extra shirt, cup, mug, or what not more than you do, it becomes easier to stack things and turn them over.
You lessen your clutter and at the same time, you're doing a good deed.
4. Have a YES, MAYBE, and NO box.
The yes box is for items you want to keep. The maybe is for those that are still undecided. The no box is meant for things that will be given away. Note that if you give away something, it should still be usable and not old, broken, or tattered.
The maybe box needs to be sorted at another time, preferably when you are not feeling emotional. When you go through it, ask yourself the following:
- do I really need this?
- when was the last time I used this?
- do I want to keep this or do I want to make space for something better?
5. When you have steps 1 - 4 down pat, repeat this cycle every quarter. Do sections of your house so that you clear space slowly but surely. You've already taken the first step, just continue moving forward. Work on your own pace but KEEP WALKING. It could take you months or years or it could take you days and months only. What matters is that you are doing your part in decluttering one small space at a time.
Have you started decluttering? Did these steps help? Let me know in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you.