Decluttering 101: Channelling a Minimalist Mindset
“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”
― Joshua Becker
If you managed to stumble across this article, then you’re probably curious about how to get rid of some of the things that are taking up both physical and mental space in your life – and for some of us, that might be a bit harder than we think.
This is definitely something I struggled with. Over the years, I’ve accumulated so many things, especially given the fact that I do a lot of makeup reviews and tutorials on my Youtube.
It’s never just a simple and straightforward process. It can be hard to let go of things that have sentimental value to us. Over the past few months of deep reflection, there are actually a few things I’ve learned to zone in on as I’m decluttering certain areas of my life. While not all of these might work for everyone, they are still worth trying if you’re actually really serious about taking the next step.
1. Take it Slowly
This is probably the part of decluttering that overwhelms just about everyone. When you think about decluttering, some of us picture an entire weekend dedicated o cleaning, packing, organising, throwing things out – and the thought of that alone is enough to discourage us from the process entirely.
Start small. It doesn’t need to be an entire room or even an entire closet. It can start as simple as a shelf of the house that might just need a good dusting. As you begin cleaning that space, focus on the things that you are putting back onto it.
2. Declutter with Intention
There are a few points to keep in mind when you’re deciding what to declutter. These are the questions that you should be asking yourself as you go through each individual item you come across and makes a lot easier to actually let go of those items.
- Have I used this in the past 3 months?
- Does this spark joy/ make me feel confident?
- Did i remember it existed?
- Can someone else benefit from having/using this?
- Can i borrow or replace it?
- Is it almost empty? Maybe i should finish it off anf toss the container.
If you can honestly and confidently answer each of those questions as you go through your process, it will make things a whole lot easier when the time comes to finding a place for it in your space.
3. Create systems that keep you tidy
This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of decluttering your space. What good is tidying up if you’ll actually need to revisit that area again in a few days or weeks after it’s back to the same?
Focus on small changes you can implement to keep things in order. For example, you know that your desk tends to pile up with pieces of paper that serve no purpose. This change could be as simple as placing a bin within reach, so you can toss it before it moves in. If you come across a pen without ink, without realising, we might put it back where we got it from. Try instead to toss it right away. You’ll save yourself a lot of time the next time you’re looking for a WORKING pen.
Or maybe there’s a dress or shirt in your closet you’ve been holding on to because you swore you were gonna get it fixed so it can fit you better. It would then make more sense to ask yourself “Will I actually find the time to get this fixed? Have I been living fine without it?” If your answers are No and Yes respectively, it would probably make more sense to donate it to someone who might actually get it fixed or wear it as it is.
If you take a shirt off a hanger and realise you won’t wear it, put it back on the hanger right away rather than leave a pile on the bed that you’ll probably not wanna tidy up after a long day. (I’ve slept on mine before… Don’t do that! LOL)
The simplest of all systems is really just “Will it take me less than 1 minute?” If the answer is yes, do it right away. Don’t allow it to pile up. Consciously think about this every time you move something.
4. Follow the 4-Box-Rule
Everything you own can be placed into 1 of the 4 categories:
Essentially the rule is that as you declutter, you must have 4 boxes labelled as above, and as you go through it make a conscious effort to actually answer the questions from point #2 above. If it hasn’t been impacting your life in any way, it’s gotta go.
Whatever you choose to keep, be sure that you have a “home” for it – somewhere it will be kept, with other items like itself. (Clothes in the closest, cleaners under the sink, etc.)
What if I can’t decide?
If you’re having a hard time trying to decide whether to toss or keep an item, a genius tip is to put it somewhere out of sight, set a reminder on your phone about 3 months from then, and when that time comes, assess how often you needed that item, how many times you thought about it, did you even remember it was there.
Remember, as you go through this process, it’s important to remember that decluttering doesn’t have to mean throwing all your stuff out. Your “clutter” is essentially a collection of all the memories, adventures, each with a story of its own.
Try to channel the clarity and peace of mind that comes with a clean and organized space. Take baby steps, clean small areas. Break down your list to Rooms then Areas, and assign a time or day to take one area at a time.