The number one comment I receive about getting started with a minimalist lifestyle goes a little like this:
I want to live simpler, but I have no idea where to start!
Or a little like this:
I am so tired of all the clutter, but I have no idea how to get rid of it!
I feel the pain of everyone who has left a comment like this, because I have been there. The good news is there is a way to get past it all, and have a home you love that is completely decluttered!
Today, we are going to go through a step by step guide to declutter your home, so you can start living the minimalist lifestyle of your dreams! It is going to take some work, but, if you are determined enough, you can do it!
If you have not guessed today’s question, it is:
Where do I even start in decluttering my home?
My favorite place to start in my home is with the one place that stresses me out the most. Jumping in to tackle this place gives me motivation to continue. I am willing to bet that you already know where this one place is, too!
For me, my craft room bothered me the most. I had several half finished projects, things from an old business, office supplies, etc. It all drove me INSANE! I knew that if I wanted to get started the right way, this was the place to start.
Now, I am not expecting you to have it perfectly decluttered on the first attempt. In fact, I am hoping you do not. The purpose of starting here is to get some things out of the way you no longer want. Once you see this progress, my next step will set you up for success!
The next step is going to be the bread and butter of the entire decluttering process. The original idea is from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. However, I have adjusted it a bit to accommodate better to my surroundings. I also refrain from asking if it brings joy, unless it is clothing or home decor. If I have to look at it or wear it, I want it to bring me joy. If it is a hair clip or spatula, I want it to bring necessity to my life.
Break things down into categories //
The piece I took from Marie Kondo’s book is using categories to declutter. It allows you to pull everything within that category from your home and put it into one location. The reason we do this is to see how much we have of a particular category.
Here are a few examples of categories I personally use [or would use]:
Shirts [all sleeve lengths and types]
Bottoms [again, all lengths and types]
Books & Magazines
Food Storage Containers
Kids’ clothes [Use same categories mentioned above]
I am sure there is more than what I have mentioned. If you like to be more specific that is fine. If you do not want to be as specific then group all the clothes in one category rather than shirts, bottoms, undergarments, etc.
You can come up with whatever list you like, just make sure it covers everything in your home.
Start decluttering! //
Now that you have your list of categories, start at the top and get ready to work your way down your list. I like to put things on my bed or on a rug to see everything clearly, but make sure you take it out of its current home to declutter. You do not want the influence of available space while you declutter.
You should also have three designated spaces for the fate of your items. The options should be: Sell, Donate, Toss.
- Sell items that are worth your time, such as nice furniture or an expensive purse…
- Donate items that are in good condition, but not worth investing your time to sell it.
- Toss any trash or items that are not in good enough condition to sell or donate.
In this process, you may ask yourself a few questions to help you determine the fate of that item. Common questions you should ask are:
- Is this item useful?
- When was the last time I used it?
- Is it worth the real estate it takes up in my home?
- How often do I use this?
- Would I purchase this in the store right now, if I had the chance?
- Does this item make my life easier or harder?
Of course, there are many more questions you could ask yourself to determine what happens to that item, but I will leave you with these.
Items that leave you hanging. //
There are going to be items you cannot make a decision about the first time you declutter. For these items, I suggest putting them in their own box, putting it out of sight, and allowing it to be there for 30 days. If you have not went into this box for a specific item by the end of 30 days, you can live without it.
I personally keep a just-in-case box for items I think I want to donate or need to donate. About every 30-45 days, I take this box to my local homeless shelter to donate.
Side note: Research your local organizations before deciding where to donate your items. Not that I believe one place is better than the other, but giving organizations unwanted items is the same as deciding where you want to spend your money. Some organizations seem like a great option, but have you looked at where their profit goes? If they are non-profit, have you looked at where they contribute in the community?
I personally chose my local homeless shelter after realizing the company I was donating to was in it for the money rather than the community. Not every homeless shelter is created equal, but mine will accept anything and use it to help someone in need. They even accept glass jars that I want to recycle!
What to do when you finish decluttering. //
If you have worked all the way through your category list, I first want you to do a celebration dance! I mean let us be honest… YOU ROCK!
Second, I want you to gather everything you have chosen to donate, and get it gone! The faster it is gone, the quicker you can have a clutter-free home!
The third thing you need to do is start posting your sell items on whatever medium you choose. I personally love my local facebook groups for this, but choose whatever works best for you!
Related Post: My Tips and Tricks to a Successful Garage Sale
What is next? //
Now that your home is clutter-free you will have more time for the things that truly matter in your life. You may decide to develop a new hobby, start a new career, make more time for your family, or whatever you decide that makes you happy.
This journey is yours, so live it to the fullest!
I hope this post helped give you some sort of direction to get rid of the excess so you can focus on more important things. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below for me!