We are nearing the end of a year-long home renovation. As we slowly put our house back together after practically tearing it down to the studs, I want to be super intentional about anything we bring back into our home. White space is essential – in design and in our lives. Clearing the clutter in your physical space helps to clear the clutter in your mind as well.
If you feel stressed out and overwhelmed, take a look around you. Is your home a place of refuge and peace, or does it constantly feel messy and out of your control? If only you could learn to be more organized, you tell yourself.
Would you believe me if I told you that organization is not what you need? Trust me when I say that I love organization. I am a big fan of systems, routines, and habits. Walking into a room where everything has a place and everything is in its place makes my heart go pitter patter.
A lack of organizational skills is not the root of your problem, however. You do not need another tutorial on how to become more organized. What you need is less stuff.
Our society is obsessed with stuff, but there is a subtle movement brewing amongst the younger generation. People are slowly discovering that living an abundant life is not about accumulating more things, but having less, so you can live more.
Being a mom of three kids, I am acutely aware of how quickly things can accumulate. It is easy to become overrun with things that we don’t use or enjoy if we are not intentional about the things that we buy or the gifts that we accept.
Over the years, I accepted a lot of hand-me-downs, for fear of not having enough. The problem with that does not lie in utilizing second-hand goods; it is the attitude behind the acceptance of these gifts.
Like I said, there is nothing wrong with using second-hand items. In fact, I advocate the use of hand-me-downs if the item is something you actually need, something you will use, or something that brings you joy – bonus points if the item fills all three of these requirements.
If you are accepting the item out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings, the idea that you can never have enough of said item, or obligation to oblige because it’s free, however, you need to learn how to say no.
The same rules apply to buying things brand new from the store. Resist the urge to buy things you do not need, will not use, or do not love, for fear of missing out on a good deal.
If the concept of intentionality over consumption is new to you, like it is to me, I would venture to guess that you probably have a few areas in your home that could use a little extra attention when it comes to decluttering.
In week five of the Simplify Your Summer Challenge, I am going to give you the tools you need to declutter your home once and for all. You can start small with one area of your home, or build on the momentum and keep going until you have decluttered your entire house.
Instead of telling you where to focus your efforts, I am going to give you key questions to ask yourself and basic ground rules to follow so you can easily decide what to keep, sell, donate, or toss.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN DECLUTTERING YOUR HOME
Ask yourself these simple questions when faced with an item you are unsure about, and answer them honestly. Once you answer these questions, you should know in your heart whether the item should stay or go.
- Have you used the item in the last year?
- Do you have a similar item that serves the same purpose?
- Does the item hold sentimental value or bring you joy?
- Would you pay money to keep the item?
- Do you have a concrete plan to use the item?
- Is the item broken, torn, or stained?
- Does the item fit with your current style or taste?
- Do you have the space to store the item?
Get rid of things you do not use or have a plan to use. If you are keeping something you think you might use someday, but you do not know when or how it will be used, it’s time to let it go.
Do not hang on things that are broken, torn, or stained. If you haven’t fixed it by now, you aren’t going to fix it. Getting rid of it not only helps to clear the clutter but your to-do list as well.
If you have several items that serve the same purpose, consider keeping only what you really need and donating the rest. If you wouldn’t shell out money to keep it, or it no longer fits your style or decor, put it in the donate pile.
When you encounter items with sentimental value, decide whether or not you have a use for the item or the space to store it.
Letting go of things can be tough, but it is also incredibly liberating. The stuff that is taking up residence in your home and in your life has an underlying effect that you may not even notice until it is gone.
Be sure to let me know which space you decide to tackle first – your closet, your kitchen, the junk drawer. Any of these would be a good place to start, but only you know which would best suit you and your home.
Let’s encourage each other in the comments below. I would love to hear from you, so I can cheer you on!
To continue on the Simplify Your Summer Challenge, be sure to check back each week. I will post a new segment of the challenge every Monday. If you want to be notified when each post goes live, sign up for email notifications in the sidebar of this site or scroll to the bottom if you are on a mobile device.
If you are just joining us and want to start from the beginning, START HERE.
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