Tips to Decluttering and Simplifying Your Home and Life

One of our goals with the new move was to simplify our family's life. We are seeking to declutter and learn to live less materialistically. We figure that if we can eliminate the wastefulness in any form from our routine, that it will not only save us money, but will help us to concentrate more on spending quality time together. 

There are no rules for how we should or shouldn't live, so each person and family should assess their own situation and not feel pressure one way or another. I have found that one of the best rewards for taking simplification steps is that I don't have to follow the crowd. Each of us have our own direction, tolerance levels and temperament when it comes to organization. So do what's best for your life and your home.

In my case, as I prepared for the move, and as I have been unpacking and setting up house, I have learned a few tricks along the way; and since they are fresh on my mind at the moment, I thought I would share a few:

  • Start today. Don't put it off. There is no time like the present, eh?
  • When decluttering shelves/closets/areas, tackle sections at a time. Don't overwhelm yourself with too grandiose of a project. Make a goal to get through one section at a time - even one section each day (and even for just 15 minutes a day) - until you have completed it. Remember...baby steps are good.
  • Be prepared to part with things. If you are really ready to eliminate things, have a give-away box/bag and a trash bag at your side and make split decisions. Don't fret about it. If you don't use it or honestly don't think you will have a need for it, box/bag it right there and don't look back.
  • If there are some items that you just can't currently part with, create a mid-way (between tossing and keeping) box. Write the date on the top and then in six months, revisit it and see if you have needed to access the contents. If you didn't miss the items stored in the mid-way box, there is a good chance you can part ways at that time; but you will feel better knowing you hung onto it "just in case."
  • Bid farewell to excess papers. I am a book and magazine lover; and while I use my computer a lot to read on, I still think that nothing can replace the feel of the written word in your hands. But accumulating too many magazines, catalogues, junk mail, papers, bills, etc. can really overwhelm your living space. Unless you really need things for tax purposes or have important documents that you must retain, try to keep only the special paper items and toss the rest. It will free up more space than you can imagine.
  • Stay motivated. Incorporating new habits and making them stick is always challenging. Keep decluttering tasks in perspective and just do what feels right and fits into your schedule and aligns with your goals.
  • If simplifying becomes too daunting or emotional, take a break and step back from it all. Give yourself room to adapt as you progress through each task.
  • Soak in each of your accomplishments. Does it give you more peace of mind and help alleviate stress?  Celebrate your baby steps and enjoy your efforts!

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