If you own a house, or live in a large space, chances are you feel a bit crowded. Is your home stuffed with things? Has your home turned into a storage facility?
Do you feel you can’t breathe? How do you un-stuff your house?
What do you DO with all that stuff?
Take a deep breath and keep reading…..you can do this!
Clear Off All Surfaces And Get A Taste Of Calm
When you stay at a hotel or go on vacation, you see counters and tables that are free of items and stacks, yet they still look inviting and well decorated. Put stuff away and see where it fits, and then identify places that are troublesome, such as overstuffed drawers, stacks of paper, etc. Clear surfaces with things put away will give you a vision for what life could be like without clutter.
Give the Kon Mari method a try….at least give it a chance
You have probably heard of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Mari Kondo. Kondo’s approach is described as the “KonMari Method”, which involves tidying one category at a time in one clean swoop: clothing, books, paper, and komono (miscellaneous and hobbies). One category can take days or months- this is not an overnight job. The main point here is to do one category at a time, and follow through until completion.
Ideally, you will take everything out of that room and sort it in a separate location. Spread out a bed sheet on the floor, grab your trash bags or sorting bins, and get to work. If your house is really big, or you simply have a lot of stuff, go room by room and loosely apply the Kon Mari method if you cannot bring yourself to go in the order of the KonMari categories: clothing, books, paper, hobbies.
Ask yourself if you like it (aka, does it bring me joy) and if it doesn’t, ask yourself if you need it.
If you choose to do the KonMari method, you may not be able to do each category in one sitting, and that’s okay. Break each category into workable sections. You may have to leave your clothing or paper in one giant heap and work on it for the next few days. If your home permits you to leave stuff out, do it. If it overwhelms you, work on one section at a time. Do what works for you.
If the Kon Mari Method Is Too Extreme, Try One Of These Methods
a) Do the Kon Mari Method Over Weeks Or Months
Pace yourself and tackle one category at a time, no matter how long it takes. Be sure to de-clutter and discard first, and then organize by category.
b) De-Clutter On Location By Room
Although this is not the KonMari method, it just might work for you. Don’t take anything out of the room. Instead, sort through the stuff you have to get rid of in its original location. This is faster (but less effective) than taking everything out of the room. Once you have done this quick and dirty de-cluttering method, you can reorganize the items without taking everything out. If you have time, you can take what is left out of its original location, and reorganize that drawer or cabinet.
You could also do a few rounds of KonMari (for instance, KonMari things while they are still in your file cabinet, once you have gone through the entire file cabinet, you will probably have less stuff in there. That might be the right time to take it all out and dump it on a table and sort through it in one go. Yes, its more work, but the short term wins of getting rid of stuff before dumping it into a giant mountain pile may be just what you need to break the slump.
The same principle can be applied to your clothing and books. Sort through it while it is in the closet, and keep track of where you left off.
Be Ready For The Mental Blocks
Be ready, but know that you will encounter a mental block….
I can’t get rid of this, I will need it….someday.
What if I need it someday? I can’t afford to throw that away!
Does this sound familiar?
Now that you know what you’re up against, here is how you deal with it:
If I get rid of this right now and need it someday, can I buy a replacement?
Has a “someday” happened in the past about this item?
Either go room by room or by category- either the Kon Mari categories or your own categories.
You will be organizing what’s already in the room rather than deciding what is in your house and determining whether it even belongs in that room.
Sell The New or Used Items You Don’t Want
Perhaps getting money for your “meh” items will help you make a decision. You can sell your digital media (CDs, DVDs, video games) on Amazon and Ebay. You can also sell them on Decluttr and get an offer as soon as you scan the barcode.
Also check out Craiglist, Facebook Marketplace, and Let Go. For clothing, if you have clothing that is in style and in decent shape, check out ThredUp, where you can buy and sell your clothing online.
Donate Any New or Gently Used Items In Good Condition That You Don’t Want
This is not an invitation to clutter up your local Goodwill or Salvation Army! Check beforehand to see the items that they accept and don’t accept. Donate things that people will actually want and need. If you have shirts with stains and holes, recycle them or throw them away.
What is the biggest problem you have with getting rid of household goods? Do you find your cabinets filled to the brim? Do you have drawers that don’t open?
Do you have tips for the rest of us on how to de-clutter?
Tell us in the comments below!