Do you know how to declutter? Check out that closet up there. Does your closet look like that?
Full disclosure - that is not my closet.
If there is anyone out there who has a closet that looks like this - please tell me how you did it. You are miraculous!!
I decided to write a piece on decluttering after I read everyone’s goals for the New Year. So many of you wanted to organize your closets, or declutter, or purge the junk. Please feel free to add your 2019 goals to that post if you haven’t done so.
I think that this is very interesting as it has to do with health. Do you feel relaxed, unencumbered, and full of life? or do you feel stressed, weighed down, and overwhelmed? How do your possessions make you feel?
We have discussed weight as it relates to waist line but what about weight as it relates to how heavy your home is with all your stuff. My house definitely weighs too much.
What to do? You could get one of these and just toss everything in it that you no longer use.
That would be the simplest solution but not so great for the environment or your pocket book. But, I show the photo of the dumpster because that is where many of our things end up when we die.
This book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson is a best seller.
Why? Well, she tries to get you to think about your stuff as a burden for your loved ones once you are gone. It is a very different perspective than I have read before about our material things.
Here is what I found helpful from this book:
1. Take a look around. Does anyone want this stuff? Do you want this stuff? If you don’t want it, give it to someone who does or give it away. Surround yourself with the least amount of wonderful stuff.
2. Photos, letters, and things laden with memories are very hard to part with. Organize them and put them in a special box. Keep the best stuff.
3. Clean out your home before you die so no one is stuck with the job.
Giving away things to people who will appreciate them feels really good. I had a piece of artwork that I no longer enjoyed. Someone told me how much she liked it, and I took it off the wall and handed it to her. Now, I have something else up that I like much more and she is happy too!! Win, win.
I’m not so sure that this book deals with the mess of every day life but she gets to the heart of the piles of stuff in your closets, basement, garage, and attic. Don’t hold onto it if you aren’t using it.
Marie Kondo author of the life-changing magic of tidying up has her own Netflix series.
Now, you don’t have to read her book to see her in action (if you have a Netflix subscription). The show has Marie show up (like Mary Poppins) and fix the messy, cluttered household so there are systems in place that make life easier. Marie, if you are reading this, my house is perfect for your show!!!
Watch it and you may get inspired (or you may curl up into a little ball and give up) - could go either way.
Her main philosophies:
1. Tackle everything in a certain group of things all at once (all the clothes, all the books, etc.)
2. Toss, sell, or giveaway things that don’t bring you joy.
3. You don’t need a ton of stuff.
I used the “joy” method on my clothing and got rid of 5 bags of clothes. I can fit everything into my drawers and closet that I use. I haven’t been able to bring myself to clear out my books in a while but I gotta get on it!
Here are some strategies that are working for me on the fight to keep my house free of mess and stuffed closets.
1. Before I buy ANYTHING, it must have a place to be stored. If that means I get rid of something to fit it in my house then so be it.
2. Do not buy more than I need. Spending money on experiences is much more valuable to me. I will choose a massage over another coat (I have 3) any day of the week.
3. Choose doable small areas of the house - put them on my “To Do” list - and get them organized. It may be a slow process but it works. I find that breaking my house into sections is helpful.
Obviously, how you choose to declutter will be very personal to you. Sometimes the best strategy is to invite a good friend over for some wine and cheese and ask them to spend 30 minutes with you on your closet. It is amazing how a different perspective can help you get it done.
Please share your decluttering strategies. Let’s help each other lose the weight in our homes.