In the Age of Consumerism and so many awesome and pretty, shiny things, we can’t help but to accumulate things in our life. You know, STUFF. And more often than not, all this stuff can be a recipe for unhappiness if it is not managed correctly. We all need a bit of decluttering in our lives, unless you’re the Queen of Organization (yo’, Martha Stewart!).
So, how do you know if clutter is affecting you negatively?
A cluttered lifestyle can lead to many issues…
You will probably already know if it is affecting you, and realize that it is time to take action. However, in more severe cases, such as borderline hoarding or not throwing stuff away, you may notice the following:
- You don’t want to leave the house
- You don’t want to come home
- You don’t want people to visit you or even see where you live
- You have a great day at work or at the mall, but once you enter your home, you feel gloomy or even depressed
- You constantly feel burdened
- You constantly feel you have more and more obligations
- You feel overwhelmed
- Your health is suffering
- You don’t have a healthy appetite
- You’re constantly tired or sleep a lot, or not at all
- You keep postponing stuff
Quite a list, yes, but believe it or not, the root of all these issues may be caused by too much clutter in your life. You may also experience these things when you live with someone who has a clutter problem. It might be time to have the talk with them. If all else fails, move out. It is for your own well-being.
Create a List of unwanted things
Once you see how many items you have on your list, take it as a sign to immediately declutter! Tick off whatever you have tossed or sold, and you will feel so much better. You can even break the list up into days or sections to make it easier for yourself, especially if you don’t have time. Remember to set a deadline for yourself to make it happen!
Get a Friend to Help
Or a family member. We bet that there are many people in your life that want to see you happy, healthy and mentally strong. They certainly won’t mind to help out. It will make it easier because they don’t share the same sentiment as you. They might convince you to get rid of things without feeling guilty.
And remember, you can always return the favour by helping them out, too. Why not organize a decluttering party with your friends and make it fun?
If you need some motivation, why not browse the web or look on Pinterest for great looking interiors. It might motivate you to declutter, sell your unwanted stuff and redecorate your place. If you sell your stuff, then you may want to use that to repaint your walls, or invest in some organization boxes, for instance.
Look for expiration dates
Especially when you go through your old makeup – expired makeup can be unhealthy for your skin and even cause skin problems. The same goes with that sweets drawer – and we know many people who have a munchie-drawer or a stash of midnight snacks. Toss the expired goodies away. While you’re at it, check the fridge, freezer and pantry, too!
Get Rid of Doubles
If you have something which you have two of, get rid of one. Or both! If you’re not using it, then you really shouldn’t hold onto it. See number 6 and 10…
Consider How Regularly You Use It
The most popular and easiest way of decluttering is using this method. If you don’t really use it, then you can most likely go without it. This goes for everything in your life, from clothes, books, jewellery, appliances and decor, right down to all those lunch boxes without lids which you are keeping in the kitchen cupboard.
Imagine a Life Without Clutter
Visualize yourself living a clutter free life where you can breathe. A clean workspace to work at, a lock-up-and-go apartment. This should be enough to convince you to go the route. If you need some inspiration of clean apartments, then check out Pinterest. Or, watch an episode of Hoarders. That will definitely motivate you, because it surely motivated us!
Consider the Minimalist Lifestyle
This is not for everyone, but minimalism is quickly taking over the world. Buy a book on the topic or search on Pinterest for ideas. The easiest way to do this is by getting rid of literally everything you own and start fresh. The idea of minimalism is that you get by with the bare minimum in all aspects of your life.
Things that fit into this lifestyle is the capsule wardrobe and sets of 4 when it comes to cutlery, crockery and furniture. Imagine going to a hotel and thinking “I don’t need more than this”. Yup, that’s the lifestyle.
Learn to Say No
It may not be easy for everyone, but starting to refuse unwanted things such as clothing which doesn’t suit your style but your friend gave it to you, or some kitsch items from your boyfriend’s family. Just say no. The more you do it, the sooner you will master it.
Get Over the ‘Just in Case’ Mindset
You know, those items that you keep for “just in case”. Consider how this is the start of hoarding items into your home and that it will eventually take over. Keeping all those empty yogurt cups? You’re not going to use them… Make a list of all the stuff that you are keeping “just in case” and you will hopefully realize halfway how unnecessary it is to keep these things.
Ask yourself a simple question
Does it make you happy, bring you joy, etc? Keep it.
If not, toss it.
Let Go of Your Guilt
Yes, easier said than done, but consider that your own well-being is at stake here, or even your mental and physical health. We’re just going to throw this out there and say: You have to be selfish when you declutter your life. And we mean this in the best way possible. But you need to look after yourself, and if clutter affects you negatively, like it affects most of us, then you need to get rid of sentimental items. If you want things to remain in the family, give it to a family member.
If you feel too bad to throw something out, then donate it or give it to someone as a gift.
Do it Systematically
Don’t get up one day and decide that you are going to sell, toss and donate everything. The chances are good that you will have many regrets afterwards. Decluttering is something you have to mentally prepare for, in a sense. It is easier to declutter systematically. For example, one room each week or set up a 30-day decluttering calendar for yourself.
Get in the Habit of Not Buying Anything
If you don’t accumulate for a while, then you will have ample time to get rid of clutter. It doesn’t help that you try to declutter, but more things are entering your house and your life. That will get you nowhere.
Unplug and Update
The same goes for all your tech and digital stuff in your life. Clear your inbox, delete old files, delete playlists you’re not listening to, uninstall apps you’re not using, clear the bookmarks in your browser (or is that just me?) etc.
We’ll stop here for now, but as you already know, there are so many ways to start decluttering and organizing your life. There are also so many areas of your life to declutter, such as your car for instance.
And remember, if you’re ever stuck and too unmotivated to clutter, always visualize yourself in a clean, clutter-free, breathable, magazine-worthy apartment and lifestyle.