I’ll be the first to admit, decluttering your home when you’ve been holding on to everything in your house for so long can be hard. Working up the nerve to say enough is enough and finally tackle that pile of clutter takes a lot of determination and effort, and most likely a lot of trial and error. Here’s how to declutter your home and your life, in 7 steps.
When I decided that my husband and I were packing around too much clutter and we had to do something about it now, I thought that if I had come to the realization that something had to be done, like I had, that it would be easy.
Decluttering wouldn’t be hard. I would simply go through our house and throw stuff out.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s not that easy! It can be tough. It can cause a lot of stress, and it can be overwhelming.
But do you know what is even more stressful and overwhelming than trying to tackle your clutter? Constantly living in a state of clutter.
Clutter zaps the energy and motivation right out of you, so it’s no wonder if you’ve been feeling extra sluggish and unmotivated lately.
After I made the decision to declutter our home, I realized that decluttering our home wasn’t enough. We also had to declutter our life.
So, I was stuck wondering how on earth we were going to do it. If you, too, are wondering how to declutter your home and life, I am happy to help.
I love helping other wives and moms who just feel stuck in the everyday grind learn how to declutter not only their homes but their lives also. Once you get started and make it a habit, decluttering will come naturally to you.
But, if you don’t start today it’s only going to get harder and harder the longer you put it off.
Life is too short to live cluttered. Are you ready? Let’s get started – it’s time to declutter!(THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE. YOU CAN READ OUR DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE.)
HOW TO DECLUTTER YOUR HOME AND YOUR LIFE IN 7 STEPS
1. REALIZE THAT DECLUTTERING YOUR HOME ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH
If you declutter your home, that’s great, but you can’t stop there. Clutter doesn’t just pile up in your home, it piles up in all areas of your life.
While your home may be cluttered, your car may also be. Your inbox could be cluttered, your mind could be cluttered.
Decide to make the mental shift to declutter all aspects of your life right here right now, rather than just the physical areas.
2. DECLUTTER YOUR MIND
The brutally honest truth is this:
The clutter in your life starts in your mind.
If this sounds weird to you, hear me out. Let’s say your car, inbox, and house are all cluttered areas of your life. If you could make the (not so) easy mind-shift to declutter your mind, you could easily eliminate the clutter in the other areas of your life.
Decide in your mind that you want to live a decluttered life – decide that you aren’t going to let any more clutter into your house, but instead, you’re going to get rid of clutter.
Once you’ve made up your mind it makes saying no to things a lot easier. If you get offered something for free that you really don’t need, when you’ve made up your mind to live a decluttered life you won’t have as hard of a time saying no.
If you see a cute little knick-knack at the thrift store that you just have to have, you won’t have a hard time passing it up when you know it’s really not something you need – it’s just a neat knick-knack.
3. BE ATTACHED TO THE MEMORY, NOT THE OBJECT
It’s no secret that it’s really tough to let go of things when you feel attached to them.
Do you find yourself having a hard time getting rid of stuff because of the attachment you have to it? If so, you need to learn to be attached to the memory, not the object.
Decide that it is time you stopped living in clutter, and change the way you think about your stuff. Everything you have in your house is just that – stuff, and it shouldn’t hold that high of an importance to you.
When we quit looking at our stuff as if we have a relationship with it like we do a human being, is when we are able to get rid of it.
You wouldn’t want to get rid of your family, would you? If you’re having a bad day, maybe don’t answer that.
Sometimes, without us even realizing it, we begin to feel attached to the things in our house as if we have real human-like relationships with it all.
It might sound bogus, but what would happen if you went and tried to throw out that keepsake you’ve been hanging on to for the last 10+ years?
You would feel an emotional attachment to it.
Now, I’m not saying you need to completely purge your house and get rid of everything in it, like that thing that you’ve been holding on to for 10+ years. But you should definitely go through your house and get rid of most of it.
While it’s fine to hold on to some keepsakes and special items, you won’t be able to hold onto them all. Some people find it easier to get rid of sentimental items when they take a picture of it.
Again, I’m not saying you should go get rid of everything that you hold dearly to your heart, but if you find nearly all the clutter in your house holds some kind of special story or memory, you should get rid of some of it.
To make getting rid of it all easier, remember that you can always hang on to the memories, but you don’t need to hang on to the object. Again, you can take a picture of it to help keep the memories alive.
4. DECLUTTER YOUR CAR
Now that you’ve decluttered your mind, you can start the decluttering things like your car and your house.
Starting with your car, there is likely more garbage in it than keepsakes and things that would be worth donating.
Take a trash bag, and a couple more bags, out to your car and get to work. Choose your starting point and don’t stop until you have every unnecessary thing out of your car.
Empty the trunk, back seats, underneath the seats, cup holders, pockets in the doors, pockets behind the seats, the glove box, the console, your visors, and the dashboard.
Throw all the garbage you find in the trash, and take any dishes, books, clothes, or anything else you may have in your car into the house.
Once you have decluttered your car you can then get a mini trash can to keep in your car to keep all the garbage in one place – rather than all over.
5. DECLUTTER YOUR DIGITAL LIFE
Everything from your inbox to the pictures you have stored on your phone can all be decluttered.
If you’re anything like me, I used to have an inbox that was out of control. I used one particular email address for everything personal and promotional, meaning, I would email my family off this email but I anytime I signed up for offers from stores I would also use the same email.
I had a point where I had over 1,000 unread messages – and that was the point I just gave up on it. I decided that my inbox was past the point of saving, and I went ahead and started a whole new email – this time for personal emails only.
I haven’t checked my other email address in a year or so, and I would be too scared every to – I can’t imagine how many unread emails I would have in there.
All this to say, it doesn’t take much to clog up an inbox, and if you’re not careful and organized, it can happen to even the best of us.
Go through your email and delete any that you no longer need, unsubscribe to any emails that you no longer want to receive, and make folders.
Folders are your friend – in digital life and real life. Making email folders will help you easily sort your emails so your inbox doesn’t become cluttered and overwhelming.
You can also go through the photos you keep on your phone. Have you noticed your phone being laggy and glitchy lately? It could be from running out of space (especially if you have that full email inbox on your phone too).
If you don’t like to delete pictures, you can simply download them onto a computer, CD, or a flash drive to free up space on your phone, but allow you to still keep them.
You can also unclutter your social media profiles by unfollowing people that you no longer need to keep up with, or getting rid of your social media profiles altogether.
My husband and I decided to quit all of our social media profiles shortly after we got married, and we loved spending a year without social media. It really allowed us to focus on one another and took away the temptation to sit on our phones rather than have a face-to-face conversation.
I have, since, gotten a Facebook and Instagram account back mainly to run my business and to keep up with family, but my husband and decided he doesn’t need his back and he’s happier without them.
So go ahead and either give up social media for a while and see how much happier and productive you are with your days, or go through your profiles and weed out the people you don’t need to be in contact with to get rid of distractions and the temptation to compare your life with someone else’s.
6. DECLUTTER YOUR HOUSE
Of course, I wasn’t going to leave this one off of the list.
There are so many different suggestions and ways to declutter your home, it can become overwhelming if you’re simply looking for an effective way to start and don’t know which methods work better than others.
The method that will work the best for you, has to be decided by you. Since everyone works differently, it’s not fair to say that the exact method that works for one person will work for the next.
Some people like to declutter their homes by using the timer method, and I believe this can be a very effective method for many people.
When you declutter your home using the timer method, you simply grab a timer (it helps if it’s cute), put away all distractions – put your phone on silent in a different room, and get rid of anything else that could distract you, set the timer for 5, 10, or 15 minutes, then get to work.
If you’re wondering why you would set the timer for such a short amount of time, that if you’re in the decluttering groove already, why you wouldn’t just stay in it until you’re done, then a different method may work better for you.
The reason why the timer method works so well for so many people is because many people tend to burn out after a certain amount of time. If they were to spend several hours straight of just decluttering, they would likely only be doing a half-decent job by the end of it.
Taking short breaks helps people stay on top of their game and keep the motivation.
If the timer method doesn’t sound like it would work well for you, there are other decluttering methods that you could give a try.
Another decluttering method is to simply set a goal, grab your decluttering bins, and get to work. Think of what you would like to accomplish, in what amount of time.
Maybe you want to get the entire top floor of your house decluttered and gone through in ONE day – that may sound crazy to some people, but maybe you thrive off of a challenge like that.
If you do, it doesn’t matter that this method might not work for someone else. If it works for you, run with it.
Think about your life and how you like to get things done. Do you like to do stuff in small bits and pieces, or do you like to truck through and get everything done as soon as possible?
Create your very own method for decluttering – only you know what will work best for you.
7. SAY NO TO CLUTTER
While it may seem like I’m stating the obvious here, many people lose sight of this. They may have spent an entire week getting their home perfectly decluttered to the exact way they like it, then they may be shopping and see some items on sale and think they would go perfectly with their house.
This is where remembering to say no to clutter is important. Your best efforts won’t mean anything if after you have decluttered your house you just go out and buy more clutter.
When people offer you free stuff, if it’s something you really don’t need, don’t be afraid to kindly decline it.
I used to feel guilty for declining stuff that I was offered – I felt like I was somehow offending the person who was offering it, and that made it really hard to keep our home clutter-free.
The sooner you realize that you don’t need to feel guilty for saying no, the better off you will be. The same thing goes for sales and when you just come across something cute in a store – if you don’t truly need it, don’t get it.
If you struggle to tell yourself when you don’t need something, consider taking a few days to think about the item before making the actual purchase. Leave the store, empty-handed, then spend at least 3 days (longer is better, but I get that sometimes that’s just hard) without the item.
If, after those three days, you have decided that it is something you need (not want, but need), then you can go back to the store and get it. If after those three days you realize that this object really isn’t something you need, or perhaps you have forgotten about it all together, then great – you just saved yourself from buying something you didn’t need.
Learning how to declutter your home and your life doesn’t need to be hard – it merely starts with making a decision and deciding to stick to that decision.
If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of decluttering your home and life, take a step back and realize that you don’t need to do it all today. You can slowly start working your way to a decluttered life without feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
The important thing is that you start, not that you get it all done today.
Did you learn anything new here? Do you have some good tips on how to declutter your home and your life hiding up your sleeves? I would love to hear from you!
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