how to simplify your home
I usually write about de-cluttering when I’m in the midst of a purge. At the moment I’m going through a lot of my clothes; applying a newfound ruthlessness to the process and saying goodbye to some much-loved but no longer worn items. I’ll admit, it’s a relief to open my wardrobe every morning and actually see everything (no searching required). Whilst I have written many posts about de-cluttering I don’t think I’ve ever really shared how I do it. There’s no tricks of the trade but I have found, over the past few years, that a certain mindset is required for a successful simplify.
The act of simplifying is profound – for your home and your life. It’s a beneficial process on every level and whilst I won’t go too deeply into the emotional side-affects I will say that it gives me both clarity and satisfaction. When you simplify you are ultimately creating breathing space; regardless of how small the room is. Let it be known that calm and clutter do not go hand in hand (in my experience, anyway).
However, if you set out to de-clutter your entire home it’s expected that you’ll feel overwhelmed; for some it’s a daunting task that gets put off over and over and over again. But there are some steps you can take to ensure it gets done, quite literally, one drawer at a time.
- consider the home you want to live in – do you want to be surrounded by stuff or surrounded by space?
- be determined and focussed and have a clear goal in mind.
- apply the 15 minute chore rule (set the timer to keep you motivated and stay clear of online distractions). Start with a drawer or surface/benchtop that is used regularly eg. cutlery drawer, tupperware drawer, bathroom cabinet, hallway shelf where the keys, mail, miscellany lives
- when de-cluttering the kitchen have a good think about the items that you use at least once a week – keep them and then place everything else to the side. Do you really need it all? Probably not (I had a big clear out of my kitchen cupboards recently and took everything to the op-shop – the next week I found a $6 cast-iron frying pan waiting for me – op-shop karma).
- go through your pantry, your medicine cupboard and your bathroom and throw out everything that is out of date. Be warned, you might not feel so good when you witness all that waste.
- your energy and motivation will easily wane. Keep reminding yourself why you’re de-cluttering…create a mantra if you need to.
- some people like to wander around the house, choose 30 items and take them straight to the op-shop. A good option for those who prefer spontaneous, ruthless de-cluttering.
- when deciding whether to keep or donate an item, ask yourself: do I need it? What does it mean to me? Is it beautiful? Is it necessary?
- think of the stuff on benchtops, under beds and jammed into cupboards as distractions; items that weigh you down. Clear space and you’ll breathe easier and sleep more soundly.
- when it comes to baby clothes keep the sentimental/really beautiful items and pass on the rest. If you are planning on having more children remember: there is always someone ready to donate a bag of wondersuits to you.
- look at your wardrobe – if you haven’t worn something for a year then you might want to consider whether it’s worth keeping. Or just get rid of it.
- consider what you buy
- don’t fall into fashion fads
- ask yourself if you will be bored with this object by next year?
- will it endure my family’s lifestyle?
- do I really need another one?