By Polly Guetta
The benefits of feeling that your home is your own personal sanctuary are plentiful; a sanctuary is a place where you can retreat to when you need to soothe your senses and your mind. A sanctuary is vital to good mental health because it offers a space where peace and calm prevail and where you can just relax and breathe. If your home, however, is full of clutter and piles of stuff that you don’t need, it can be difficult to find any kind of serenity amidst all the chaos. Although tackling the clutter may seem like an exceedingly daunting task, it is the first step towards creating an inspiring, beautiful space that you can retreat to when you need to restore your sense of wellbeing.
By breaking down the decluttering process into small, manageable tasks, the project becomes a lot less overwhelming, and you will be much more likely to follow through on the goals that you have set for yourself. Try the following tips and strategies to stop procrastinating and get rid of your clutter once and for all. Your body and mind will thank you for it!
- Begin with a goal in mind.
- Carefully consider how much storage space you have and make a commitment to yourself to only keep what you have the space for.
- There should be a place designated for everything in your home. If an object has no “home”, it will end up being unsightly clutter.
2. Determine how you will decide to keep something or get rid of it.
If you haven’t used an item in the last year, it is highly unlikely you really need it or that you are going to ever get enough use out of it to justify it cluttering up your home. Take the plunge and get rid of it! Ask yourself these questions as you encounter each piece of clutter:
Do I use this?
How long has it been since I’ve used it?
Will I use it again?
Is it worth the space it takes up in my house?
Would I really miss this item?
3. Start with just one area.
- Start with an area that is a relatively easy one to declutter like a bathroom or a bedroom.
- Once you have had success in one area, it will easier to move on to a more challenging part of your home
4. Break it down into small/manageable tasks
- Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this is such a big job that you will never be able to do it. Try using an affirmation such as “I have tackled big projects before and had success. I can do this by breaking it down into small pieces”.
- Set a timer and declutter for 30 minutes every day or set a small goal for each decluttering session such as one closet, one bookshelf, one dresser, etc.
- Congratulate yourself each time you complete a session and think about how much closer you are to your goal.
5. Use boxes or garbage bags for sorting
- Don’t just sort piles of stuff into more piles of stuff -physically separate your stuff in bags or boxes.
- Use a three bag sorting system – donate, keep, throw away.
- Once your bags are full, don’t wait to get rid of the throw away and donate. Take them to the trash or your local thrift shop right away.
- Look through your keep bag and be ruthless. If you can’t find a home for the item, then you will have to donate it or throw it out.
6. Issue an official household spending-freeze.
- Make it a goal to not buy any new items for yourself or your home until your decluttering project is finished unless it is something that will help you get organized (like binders for papers, baskets, or containers) to manage the stuff you already have.
- A good rule to keep in mind when you are trying to maintain your decluttered home is that for every new item brought in an older one will go out.
7. If you are really stuck, enlist a friend or a loved one to help you.
- Many people have trouble when it comes to clutter so be honest and tell someone that you are stuck and need a little push.
- If you want to motivate yourself to get started, put a photo of a space that you find to be serene and beautiful up beside your bed. Look at the photo every night and morning and remind yourself that this sanctuary is available to you.
Remember: The objective is to get stuff out of your home, not to move it into another room. You will be amazed by the sheer volume of unused and unneeded items in your home. Don’t spend time inventing reasons to keep these things.