Edit Yourself: Declutter Your Life


What is clutter?

Extra. Unnecessary. Crap that gathers dust.

Call it what you may.

Your home is a place where you should feel welcomed. It should be spacious. It should be a place where you can be. It should be a place where it’s easy to be productive and remain relaxed. It should cater to your needs, not the other way around. It should; but sometimes it isn’t.

When I wake up in the morning and I see my room and I am at ease. I feel relaxed. I see a room in which is simple, clean and spacious. I don’t have to worry. My mind isn’t thinking about the chaos and visual clutter.

But it isn’t always easy. Sometimes we attach ourselves to our things. This makes it hard to just get rid of them.

I had bought a pair of shoes for $130 and only wore them once. Yes once. I lost interest in them. But I didn’t want to get rid of them because of how much money I spent on them. So I was in a struggle with myself as to what I should do. So I made a choice. I donated them. It took sometime, but after a while they were off my mind. I felt better, lighter and no longer had a worry in the back of my mind as to what I should do with them. It felt freeing to have less.

Detachment is not that you should own nothing. But that nothing should own you. ~Ali Talib

We accumulate so many things that the clutter can be overwhelming. This can make starting seem difficult.

I’m always practicing and looking into ways to simplify my life with less.

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ~William Morris

How I learned to declutter my life.

  • Start NOW. Don’t say you’ll do it “tomorrow” , or sometime that you can. Just do it now. Procrastinating just leads to more clutter.
  • Start small. Take a single step at a time. Don’t think about decluttering your entire house (don’t let me stop you). Focus in on one clutter problem. One that looks solvable. My bookshelf has a total of 3 shelves. So I start with 1 shelf. Set 20 minutes to clean that one shelf. Once you are done, celebrate. Take a break and come back to your clutter-free shelf. Use this to motivate and give you momentum for the next shelf. If you are feeling tired; start the next day.
  • Remove it all. If you are cleaning your shelf, remove it all. Take everything off so you have a clean shelf. After, clean it so you can remove all the dust and bacteria. 
  • Make 3 piles. Set up 3 piles for yourself. This way you can accordingly sort out what you need and what you don’t. And organize in the process
    1. Create one for what you need. These are things to put back on your shelf. Make sure that you absolutely need them. These are necessities, not things to keep around.
    2. Create one for you. These are sentimental valuables. Such as pictures, albums, gifts from loved ones and so on. Store all these in one location so you know where they are.
    3. Create one for junk. Recycle left over papers, toys, things, miscellaneous and so on. If you have things that are in good condition donate them. The rest goes in the garbage. These are things that just take up space. If you know you don’t need them, don’t keep them.
  • Be honest. Be honest with yourself. Most of what you have collected is just junk. You don’t need it. If you have not used it in the last 3 months or so that should be a clear indication for junk. If it’s in good condition give it to a friend or donate it.
  • What “if”. When I first started to declutter my room I had this question frequently visit my mind. As soon as I wanted to get rid of something the thought of “what if” arised. “What if I could use it in this scenario for this purpose”. I decided to keep everything that was a “what if”. The next time I cleaned my shelf I had noticed everything that I orginally kept was left unused. The what “if” thoughts are just clutter-attached thoughts. Get rid of them.
  • Declutter everything. This is a different approach to declutter. Everyone is different; so this may be an approach that works for you. The first time I decided to declutter my room I spent over 6 hours. I got rid of almost everything. My room felt almost naked. It was so spacious. It felt amazing. It was also tiring, but with some music and a few breaks it was definitely worth it.
  • Let it go. After decluttering you will be left with a lot of things. So now it’s time to do something with all these things. You can try and sell them online or have a garage sale. Give them away to friends/family. Donate them to a local charity. Or just junk it. The quicker you let go of these things the easier decluttering will become.

The more you declutter the simpler your life will become. The less things you will have to maintain, clean or worry about. This makes your home welcoming. It makes iteasier to find what you need. There is less visual clutter and more clarity in your home. There is less; but more.

Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely be each individual. ~Linda Pierce

Now take a step back and look at your accomplishment. It doesn’t matter if you just cleaned a shelf or whatever. It’s a successful step. It’s a step towards simplicity.

Until next time,

Dragos Bernat

Related: Edit Yourself: Workspace
Related: Edit Yourself: Commitment and Time

Credits: Photo


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