As usual, the annual January decluttering bug hit. I think it hit harder this year than ever before because we’ve now been in our house for 3 years, and we’ve also had a spoiled child living in our house for those years (I’m convinced that children’s belongings are the catalyst for most decluttering projects). I am amazed at what Bean has amassed! Such is the life of the first grandchild.
In my quest to declutter, I stumbled upon minimalism. I was instantly intrigued. Living with less, having more life. It makes total sense, since most stress starts with disorganization and chaos in the home. At least that’s how I feel. It’s extremely hard for me to totally relax when I have a messy house looming over my head.
In my research, because I’m a big research and list maker, I found a few tips and rules to follow in order to declutter like a minimalist that really resonated with me. I have had pack rat tendencies since I was a child, I hold on to too many “things” because of the sentiment. Having some quotes to recite in my head when I’m trying to hold on to something unnecessary helped me finally get rid of things. The following are my favorite mantras for the wanna-be minimalist:
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“If I didn’t already own this, would I buy it again?”
I have Tico and Tina to thank for this one, they’ve got a fantastic series on exploring minimalism that you need to check out. I usually start with this question. It can be applied to decluttering any area of the house. If it’s a sound “YES”, then obviously it stays. If it’s a definite “NO”, then it goes in the trash or donation box. If it’s a “MAYBE”, then I ask myself a few more questions…
“Does this serve an everyday purpose?”
If you use it fairly often, then obviously you should keep it. If you use it once every year, then it might be time for it to go. Unless it’s seasonal, like holiday decorations.
“Think of the thrift store as your storage unit.”
This way of thinking has helped me get rid of so much stuff that I either a. thought I would use someday soonish or b. wanted to save for a project that I might do someday. If I REALLY had a need for it, I could always pick a replacement up at the thrift store for pennies. If I REALLY wanted to complete that “project”, I could probably find similar supplies at the thrift store. More in that same vein of thought…
“Just in case will probably never happen.”
Have you used it in the past year? No? Then chances are you never will. And the real estate space in your house is worth more than the item that’s taking it up.
“Could someone else use this more?”
Luckily the ease of donating things nowadays isn’t much more than making a reservation online and setting your boxes out on your front step. In our small town, there are 3 different charities that regularly make the rounds. I go on their websites, see who is coming for pickups the soonest, and make a reservation. Easy peasy, and I get to write it off on our taxes.
“If I had to leave the house because of a fire, what would I take?”
This question has helped me with dealing with sentimental clutter. The items that I would no doubt risk life and limb to grab in the case of a house fire could stay. Items that had me pausing to question, those had to go. Repeat after me, “it’s just stuff.”.
“A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.”
Mary Poppins was on to something here. If it doesn’t have a “home”, find one for it. If you can’t find a “home” for it, refer to the previous statements. This one is probably my most repeated and favorite decluttering mantra.
With the help of these mantras, even a former pack rat like me can rid the house of unnecessary clutter. Clutter-free is the way to be!
Are you on a decluttering mission? Which mantra resonated with you the most?