Helpful Guide To Declutter And Downsize Your Home

When the thought of starting to declutter and downsize comes to mind do you embrace it or stifle it?  Have you yearned for more adequate storage space but haven’t been bold enough to start the process of decluttering? 

Whether you want a fresh start in your current home or are planning on a big move, if you yearn for the minimalist lifestyle or simply need to streamline your spaces, these helpful tips and hints can get you on the road to your goals. No matter what your reason, making space in your home can be a freeing, yet challenging experience. 

You may worry about the daunting task and what you could possibly do with what lurks behind those closed doors. What will become of your unwanted items? Who will want the family heirlooms and sentimental items you’ve treasured for so long? 

These strategies for decluttering are effective techniques that have helped myself and others get organized, even in areas that require LOTS of decluttering. These tips can help you achieve a lighter, more organized, and fulfilling life and living space. 

I write about ways to make room for Jesus in our lives, how to go about “preparing Him room”, as the Christmas carol says. Cluttered and stuffed storage spaces may be hidden from view, yet when we have too much stuff it weighs us down in many other ways, sometimes keeping us stuck in old habits and routines that prevent us from growing spiritually and emotionally. 

Tips To Help You Declutter And Downsize

Some people will find that the process of downsizing and decluttering comes naturally, but others struggle with the process. It’s very hard to declutter when you’re feeling overwhelmed. So, it often works to employ some “brain games”, to engage your mind  and make the process a little less personal.

Decide On A Purpose 

If you have a room or closet that contains lots of miscellaneous items, you will need to decide what you will use that space for –  what it’s purpose really is. Sure, a room can have more than one purpose, but if it doesn’t have a primary purpose, or if it has too many purposes, then it is nothing more than mixed-up storage. 

The best way to do keep this from happening is to give all your rooms, closets, and other area a main purpose.

Gather Similar Items Together

I find this one to be one of my most valuable moves for helping to decide what to keep and what to get rid of in the decluttering process: COLLECT ALL LIKE ITEMS TOGETHER. That sounds just too simple, but once you’ve done it, you can see how powerful it is. The sight of just how many of the same or similar items you own can prove that it’s ok to get rid of many of them.

This very concept came into play during one large decluttering project I was working on with a client. The client and other family members were stumped and kind of stuck…until I started pointing out how many of certain things they had. That day was one of the most productive days we had because they were able to see that they could never use 15 of this or 25 of that.

Whether it is white shirts or half-empty spray paint cans, spatulas or hats, the power in decluttering is realizing that you can only use so many of the same item. Put them all together and take a look. This method is definitely a keeper.

Decision-Making In The Decluttering Process

There are lots of hard decisions involved throughout the decluttering processs. I have three questions you can ask yourself that can help make it easier (don’t worry, this is when it’s ok to answer yourself). The following questions are very helpful, especially when you’re having a hard time making a decision on a particular item:

Do you LOVE it? Do you NEED it? Do you USE it? Would you PAY the full price for this if you didn’t already have it?

If an item passes any one of these questions with a strong “yes”, it’s totally ok to keep it, as it is valuable to you in some way. You are totally “allowed” to keep whatever you choose to keep. If you can emotionally edit only a few things, you have still made progress. Jus try your best to be honest with yourself. 

Don’t be tempted to allow your human nature to alter the questions. “Might I need or use this?” can nearly always convince you to keep it, since everything has a potential use. These questions are to help you decide if that use is meant for you. You must ask if you DO need or use it. As in – currently. 

If you find you’re still keeping most things, this is the perfect time to add ithe word “really” to your questions. Like this: “Do I REALLY LOVE this?” “Do I REALLY NEED this?” “Do I REALLY USE this?” and “Would I REALLY pay full price again for this if I didn’t have it?”

If you think you may realistically have a real need for the item, then of course it’s ok to keep it. But when you labor over what could be done with something, my best advice is “DON’T”. If you don’t need it right now or in the very near future, you just don’t really need it.

Another method that may help you to make decisions is by rating the items you struggle with on a 1 to 10 scale.  Decide just how much you love, need, or use the item by assigning it a number from least to most (1 to 10). In the end, the item with the highest numbers are the ones to stay.                                                       

Set Goals For Your Downsizing Process

One of the first things to do when you decide to downsize and declutter is to make a plan  Decide on a goal for each area you will be working on, and keep these goals front and center by using a to-do list. Besides planning the process, it’s also best to have a plan for maintaining what you’ve accomplished.

When you are setting your goals and making decisions, you may want to set some personal guidelines, some little rules you make for yourself. 

One very useful rule of thumb is to decide how much you really want to bring back in. This can help you to keep from re-accumulating. Of course, you will to bring in new items now and then. No problem. Decide how much space you want to keep occupied and put in place a “one-in-2-out” rule, or even a “1-in-and-3-out” rule to keep things in line with your plan.   

Another trick is in being  completely aware of the size of your storage area. You can only fit so much stuff into any storage bin, drawer, cupboard, or closet. You get that, right? But what to do with the overflow? Simple answer: There shouldn’t be any overflow.  

Choose the most important things to allow to stay (your favorites, the most needed, the things you really use) and get rid of the rest. When you truly are keeping the BEST OF THE BEST, then you won’t even miss the rest. Try it. It works!

Practice Makes Perfect

Keep practicing! There is nearly always something that can be purged. Warning: I’m not at all advising you to become obsessed, but by always keeping an eye out for things you don’t need to keep, your decluttering skills won’t become rusty. 

Remember your goals, and review them. regularly Most people will need to do decluttering and/or downsizing every few years, depending on how much stuff they accumulate over time. 

If you’d like some help with ideas of just what to declutter, sign up for my mailing list. You’ll receive the current month of my monthly decluttering list upon sign-up and each month by email. Another option is to purchase the whole year-long plan from my Etsy shop

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Common Mistakes In Downsizing And Decluttering

It’s easy to make some errors if downsizing and decluttering is new to you. However, with a little help, the common oversights listed below are avoidable. When you’re all finished, you’ll be able to enjoy the fresh start and clear space in your environment, whether in your current living space or in a smaller home. 

Other Considerations

Decluttering is an evolving process that happens in layers. The first layer will be the most obvious and will probably include a lot of items that simply need to be put away in another part of the house. You will discover more layers each time you revisit the area. Develop habits that prevent the accumulation of unnecessary items and regularly reassess your space to maintain your hard work. 

There will always be decisions to make about what to keep and what to do with what you don’t. The more you practice this editing, the easier and more natural it becomes. When this kind of thinking becomes a habit, the decluttering process becomes so much easier. 

If you need support, you can ask a friend or family member to help, or hire a professional organizer. These are highly talented people who have helped others and know the process well. For questions, you can check out FAQ About Professional Organizers. Finding the right person can actually save you time, effort, money, and heartache in the long run. 

Remember that the decluttering process isn’t just about havng less stuff; it’s about maximizing your life’s potential. Embracing your new freedom can have positive effects on your physical, mental, and spiritual health.  When you’re finished you can celebrate the memories, acknowledge the growth, and relish the freedom that a decluttered home brings.

Maybe the most important part of this is to be kind to yourself throughout the process. It’s okay to cherish certain belongings and it’s okay if the process takes time. This journey is a personal one, and the progress you’ll make will be commendable, no matter what. Here’s to a home that reflects the real you and the life you live!

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