When you know you have guests coming over, do you run around tidying up for an hour first? It’s very likely you do. That’s pretty common for most of us. But what if we all kept our homes as neat and tidy all year round rather than just when guests are coming over.
Because, let’s face it, keeping your home clean is good for your health and wellness. Decluttering is something we should all do often. Think of it as an important monthly appointment rather than a yearly dreaded task. Decluttering often means you’ll keep on top of the mess. You’ll never have to do a major clean up, rather a continual check in.
Think about what makes you happy
You’ve probably heard about the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In it, author Marie Kondo urges readers to hold up each item they own and ask “Does this bring me joy?”.
“The inside of a house or apartment after decluttering has much in common with a Shinto shrine… a place where there are no unnecessary things, and our thoughts become clear,” she writes.
“It is the place where we appreciate all the things that support us. It is where we review and rethink about ourselves.”
She says we should do an immediate purge, throwing away or donating the items which don’t bring joy into your life. You’ll soon be dissuaded from buying new goods and begin using that same strategy to only bring items into your home which bring you joy.
Our mental state is reflected in our home
If you’re trying to live a simple, more minimal life this year, decluttering is a powerful first step. The items we own and have strewn around our homes can begin to influence our lives and our mental states. Once you deal with the clutter in your home, you’ll begin dealing with the emotional clutter we all tend to carry in our lives. Decluttering your home is the first, powerful step in improving your entire life.
Starting on your simplifying journey
Decluttering is simple. It’s getting starting that’s the hard part. But it really is that easy. All you have to do is convince yourself to start. Here are some tips and tricks.
Organise your cupboards. This is an easy step which can help you build momentum. Get to your cupboards and purge the items you no longer wear. You’ll know quickly if you haven’t worn something in six months. If you don’t want to wear something often, it shouldn’t be in your cupboard.
Keep your surfaces clean. One of the quickest ways to make your home look messy is cluttered counters, coffee tables and other surfaces. Be sure to pack away or get rid of all items which shouldn’t be on your surfaces.
Think about your style. If all of your furniture consists of old inherited family pieces which you don’t love but feel some form of obligation toward, get rid of it. Pull Granny aside and explain to her that you won’t be keeping her ancient, leaking fridge. That way you can browse new fridges for sale online with no guilt at all.
Commit to a colour. No, you don’t have to have just one colour in your home. But you shouldn’t have all of the colours. For a cohesive, attractive design you should choose a simple base colour, like white, and one or two pops of colour. Blue and yellow are often popular choices.
Embrace storage. You’ve probably noticed a theme. You need to pack your personal belongings out of sight. And if you never retrieve them from where they’re packed, you need to get rid of them.
Think about your lifestyle. Think about your life right now and what your needs are for this stage. If you’re out of school, why are you hanging onto your old books? If your kids are grown up, why are you keeping their baby clothes? If you have three dogs and four cats, why do you have a white, leather couch?
Add more plants. Okay, yes. This is adding when all the other points have been about subtracting. But adding plants means you’re adding life and oxygen to your home. They are, just about, the very definition of cleaning and simplifying your living space for a more joyful life.
Now is the time to organise your home (and your life). Get started and consider each item. You’ll have a clean home and mind in no time at all. When in doubt, remember the 5 Rs for keeping clutter out of your home and life – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle.