Two years ago I packed up my entire home into boxes for a move to a new house. Ultimately, we didn’t move to that new house and I was stuck with all my stuff in boxes. While it was disappointing at the time, I look back with gratitude because it enabled me to do something very important.
I didn’t have the energy to immediately unpack everything because I was still quite disappointed with how things had turned out so I just unpacked what I really needed for that week. After that first week there were certain special items I missed having around me so I unpacked those. Within the first month I had unpacked what I really needed and what was very important to me and nothing more.
Months passed and what I came to realise was that I had been harbouring a LOT of stuff that I thought I needed, wanted, or would one day use that was just cluttering up my space and my mind. The really important result of not having all that extra stuff out is that I had the space both physically and mentally to re-evaluate my life a bit and see what I wanted to do next and how I wanted to live.
“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”
It seems that when you have all the stuff from your past still cluttering your home it becomes difficult to see the changes you actually want to make. Your stuff holds you back. I highly recommend clearing out the clutter to make space for the new to come in. Once I had everything out of the way I began to see how I could make my home’s style a better reflection of who I am now and what I’m aiming for.
“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.”
I don’t expect you to go and pack up your whole house as I did to figure out what is worth your space and what is not (although if you can it works well) but I do have a strategy that I think can help you reach the same results in increments. Instead, pack up room by room.
- Go into a room of your house and pack everything up. Take this opportunity to clean the room top to bottom.
- Leave this room over night or as long as it takes for you to go into the room to do something.
- Then unpack only what you need for the task or for a week.
- After a week unpack the things you really miss having around you but be strict about this. Only the stuff that truly means something to you like photos, special gifts or ornaments, etc. Do not riffle through boxes and pull out stuff just because it has a memory attached to it because that’s all your stuff. Just those things that can’t be replaced.
- Throughout the first month only unpack those things that you need, those special things that you enjoy having around you and which are in line with your current mindset and home style. Leave everything else in the boxes.
- After that first month anything that remains in those boxes you should consider donating, selling, or throwing away.
Move from room to room in this way and if you are honest and strict with yourself you should have cleared out plenty of clutter and maybe even made a bit of money from it. When it comes to clothes the one month rule won’t apply to seasonal clothes so you may have to revisit your wardrobe each season and cull those pieces that don’t get worn within one month. Give it a try and see how you do. Do it every year if you want to. Like everything the more often you do it the better at it you’ll get.
If you find yourself needing a real push to help you declutter you might want to read famous Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It is jam packed with quote-worthy motivation and revelations.
What’s your take on clutter, love it or hate it?