Decluttering – what, why and how?
Feeling overwhelmed by the clutter in your life? Declutter! It allows you to let go of the unnecessary and create room for what truly matters. In this guide, we discuss the what, why and how. Exploring practical tips and strategies to help you declutter effectively and reclaim control over your environment (and head space).Read more
Decluttering is a term that’s starting to pick up traction over here in the UK, made popular by the likes of Marie Kondo, a tidying expert, author and star of Netfilx show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo”.
So what is decluttering? The first question we need to ask is actually, what is clutter? the dictionary defines it as:
“a lot of things in an untidy state, especially things that are not necessary or are not being used; a lack of order”Oxford learners dictionary
Synonyms – mess, disorder, chaos, disarray, untidiness, muddle, disorderliness
In reality, clutter can have different meanings to different people, for some a cluttered home may be a pile of clothes that’s been sat on a chair for a day but for other it may be when they have to start moving items to create a path through their house.
When most people think of clutter they are thinking of the physical or even digital stuff that saps away at us all. The things that are taking up space, gathering dust, in the way or not being used. More often than not reducing mental or emotional clutter is actually what we want achieve! Sorting the physical and digital stuff is key to sorting the mental and emotional.
In essence decluttering is the process of of deciding what items in your life are clutter, then taking steps to remove them so you are only left with things that bring you joy or enhance your space whether that is because they are useful, beautiful or sentimental.
For many people a common factor in wanting to declutter is that they feel suffocated or even overwhelmed by their space.
- Your home should be a place where you are relaxed and where the stresses of the day aren’t compounded.
- Your office should be somewhere you feel productive and in control.
- Your mind should be focused and clear of distracting thoughts. Mines a work in progress.
Embrace the decluttering mindset
What makes your space feel chaotic or disorganised? Decluttering begins with a shift in mindset. Recognise that letting go of unnecessary belongings doesn’t diminish your memories or sentimental value.
Instead, it opens up space for new experiences and a clearer focus on what truly matters in your life. Embrace the idea of a simplified and clutter-free lifestyle.
Sorting and categorising
Start your decluttering journey by sorting your belongings into categories. for instance begin with clothes, moving on to books or papers, then other items such as toys or trinkets and finally finish with the sentimental pieces.
Put these into a further four main categories: keep, store, donate/sell, and discard. Be honest with yourself and ask, “Do I really need this?”
“if something brings you joy, keep it!”Marie Kondo
Items that haven’t been used or don’t bring you joy can find new homes through donation or selling.
Storing items that you don’t currently need can be a great way to remove clutter without having to get rid of it permanently, like that winter coat in the middle of summer or those hiking boots that live at the bottom of the stairs. This is where Stowable can help.
Remember, less is more.
Avoid overwhelming yourself by tackling your entire home or space at once. Instead, take a room-by-room approach.
Begin with the area that bothers you the most, as the progress in that space will provide motivation to continue. Break down each room into smaller sections and focus on one section at a time.
Create functional zones
Effective organisation is key to maintaining a clutter-free environment. Create functional zones within each room, such as storage, workspace, and relaxation areas.
Designate specific areas for different purposes, and ensure that items are stored accordingly. Invest in storage solutions like shelves, bins, and baskets to keep belongings neatly organised.
The 80/20 rule
Apply the 80/20 rule to your possessions. We tend to use only 20% of our belongings regularly, while the other 80% goes untouched. Identify the essential items that you genuinely use and cherish.
Let go of the rest, whether through donation, selling, storing, or responsible disposal. Focus on quality over quantity.
I mentioned digital clutter before. It’s become even more important in this digital age as our digital lives can fast become cluttered and overwhelming.
Sort through your photos, emails, files, and digital apps. Delete unnecessary documents, unsubscribe from newsletters you no longer read, and organise your digital files into folders. Simplifying your digital space will enhance productivity and reduce mental clutter.
To maintain a clutter-free lifestyle, practice mindful consumption. Before making new purchases, evaluate whether the item aligns with your values and serves a purpose.
Opt for quality over quantity and consider the long-term impact of your choices. By being mindful of what enters your space, you can prevent future clutter accumulation and its beneficial for the environment as less stuff will end up in landfill!
Decluttering is a personal journey that brings peace, clarity, and an organised living space. Embrace the mindset of simplicity and prioritise what truly matters to you. Sort your belongings, one room at a time, and create functional zones within your home.
Apply the 80/20 rule and let go of unnecessary items. Don’t forget to extend your decluttering efforts to the digital realm. You might be surprised at the enhancement to your mental state and productivity as a happy side effect.
Finally, practice mindful consumption to prevent future clutter. Embrace the freedom and tranquillity that a clutter-free life brings, and enjoy the benefits of an organised and serene space.