Clutter has weird effects on the human mind. On the one hand, clutter causes depression, anxiety, fear, anger, and marital problems. On the other hand, removing clutter is a uniquely painful chore: even though we don’t need the clutter, the process of throwing away possessions creates a sense of loss, and the process of deciding what to store and what to remove takes a lot of mental energy.
When decluttering, take it easy on yourself! It is a genuinely hard task for most people.
That said, it needs to be done, so here are some tips to help you achieve a cleaner home and a happier you:
Do 5 Minutes. Just Once, For One Day
You can do anything for 5 minutes. To start, just try spending 5 minutes decluttering one area. If that works for you, spend 5 minutes another day. Maybe start doing a second 5 minutes right after the first one was up. Don’t set timelines. Just try it and see if you feel better.
Having such a short increment of time will make it seem less like an overwhelming task.
Set Family Decluttering Time
If you need more structure, set a time to clean an area with your partner or kids. You’ll keep them on track, and, in doing so, keep yourself on track.
Stop After You Find Something to Give Away
The sense of loss when giving something away, even something you never use, is real, and can be hard to deal with after a long day. If you give away only one thing every time you clean, you will space out this sad feeling and will have an easier time managing it.
Think about how you want your home to look, and how it looks right now. If it helps, take photos of your rooms and cross out all the piles and shelves that you want gone.
Set Limits on Gifts
Tell your loved ones that you would prefer experiences, like concert tickets or restaurant gift certificates, rather than things. If you really like to get things, keep track of what you receive and, a week after Christmas and your birthday, get rid of the same amount of older things. For example, if you get a new shirt, give away an old shirt.
Do One Area at a Time, Don’t Go Back
Handle it one pile at a time. If your kitchen table is snowed under, declutter it. Then, instead of moving on immediately, give yourself a break. However, don’t put clutter back on the kitchen table. The clutter-occupied territories of your home will decrease in size until they disappear completely.
If you’re looking to declutter all at once, rent a junk removal bin to help manage the trash that is likely to add up! It’ll be a swift and simple solution to decluttering your home.