Decluttering in new year, that means it is time for my second favorite challenge of the year (second to Homesteading on a Dime only because that challenge makes me money and this one makes me clean). Despite “making me clean”, decluttering does have it's benefits. I feel so much better in a minimalist home. I love knowing where everything is and no longer having that brief moment of anger when I found something I love hidden behind four things I don't.
Decluttering is the First Step
There is more to living a minimalistic life than decluttering. I still have a LONG way to go before I will be happy with the amount of clutter we own. But, each year I take steps toward getting our “stuff” less and less. The mimimalists say it best: “decluttering alone doesn’t solve the problem; discussing how to get rid of your stuff answers only the what, but not the why“. So, why do I declutter?
Decluttering feels great
Decluttering feels good. No, it feels great. And the more you get rid of the more you realize there are so many things you do not need. You start to question things before they come into your house. Everything has a purpose and if it can serve two or three purposes than it is even better. There is less to clean and less to fix.
- The kids play with their toys. They don't just scatter them around the room, break them, lose them. They keep the ones they really want and when they are tired of a toy it goes to another child while that toy is still popular and useful.
- We wear the clothes in our closet. If I get something new it has to be better than something I already have. Nothing sits in my closet for years and just like my kids toys, when I donate or sell something it isn't decades old anymore. It will have a real use to somebody else. Besides, I shouldn't be wearing decade old clothing either!
- When I cook I don't have to go through mega tons of tools and gadgets anymore. I do love gadgets, but only if I use them.
- The stuff we love is out and being used. You can't enjoy a collection that is hidden in boxes or behind other less desirable things.
Decluttering can be hard
Decluttering is hard at times, especially with kiddos! We are given things thorough out the year. Toys and clothes are our biggest problem areas. I also tend to collect bathroom goodies (lotions, body wash, candles). I get them, put them away, and forget to use them.
I wish I was to the point where I didn't have to go through decluttering every year. I wish I knew what I needed and didn't bring extra into the house. I will say I get a little better each year, but decluttering is a process. Each year I am able to get rid of a little bit more and take in a little bit less. But, each year I have plenty to take out of the house!
Decluttering can be a bit of a shock. The first year we set about decluttering our home my dad asked if we were having financial problems. Really. Oops, um, no, we just don't want all the extra junk anymore so we gave it away. You get used to the amount of things in your home. And, believe me, you do not need things that are collecting dust and not bringing you joy. If I don't love it, it needs to go.
Decluttering is a process, not a quick fix
I will give you tips for how to simplify, clean, and declutter your home. But, decluttering is more than that. There are so many sites that offer quick decluttering tips to clean an area or find out what you use or don't use. These sound great and sometimes are useful. But, most of the time it just lets you take a few things out of an area that will be back to “normal” within the month.
The oprah decluttering hanger tip for example. Great tip, hang your clothes backwards and put them the right way as you put them back. At the end of the six months you will see what you didn't wear. But, how many people actually take the step six months later and get rid of everything they didn't wear. And, really, how many of us can't tell that we haven't worn something in the last six months. Save yourself the six months and the frustration of hanging things backwards. No gimmicks, just decluttering.
Start this year's decluttering journey
Are you reading to start your journey towards decluttering your home? I am. And, since this is my fourth year challenging myself (and we live in a 1200 square foot house with a fourth kiddo on the way) I am ready for some harder challenges. Things like my storage room. And, I'm not hanging on to stuff anymore. I'll give it a week to sell and then it is going to be donated. I am going to be very picky about what I keep to “sell in the future”. Garage sales bring in some money and a lot of headache. Donations feel good.
I am hoping to make a little more money this year with our extra clutter, however. I really want to finish paying off my student loan and start saving for a new home (one not in an HOA). Generally, I make very little and end up donating most of it. I am going to focus on where you can sell your best stuff for more (and with ease). Places like Just Between Friends, for example. I tried them and it was a great place to get rid of a TON of items. More on that soon.
My goal is to throw away, donate, or sell at least 2015 items. It is a fun goal that I can remember. Money I make will be split 25% to debt, 25% to a vacation fund (Disney World was amazing and I want to be able to do something like that for the kids again), and 50% to savings.
Make your decluttering goals
Today I challenge you to first make your decluttering goals and second to find a way to hold yourself accountable. You can do this however you want, but it would be nice if you do it by sharing via social media. You can find me at these locations (I will let you know how I am doing via social media as well).
- Pinterest – I have a great board on Home Organization and Cleaning you can check out!
Remember to always make your goals SMART.
- Specific – you should outline exactly what you want to accomplish in your goal. Do you want to declutter your whole house? Just a couple hot spots? Be specific!
- Measureable – what good is a goal if you can't measure it. In the case of decluttering you could decide on an amount that you want to get rid of.
- Attainable – goals should stretch you a little, but not be impossible to complete. Generally people do worse with an impossible goal because they give up and it doesn't seem worth it to keep trying.
- Realistic – make sure it is not impossible!
- Timely – you should be able to complete your goal in a timely manner. Name the amount of time you want to give yourself. You can write goals for today or goals for the next ten years (and both are great to have).
One other thing, celebrate reaching your goals! If it is a particularly hard one then it is nice to break it up into smaller chunks of achievement so you can celebrate each milestone.
FREE Decluttering Worksheets
Join my newsletter to get the free decluttering worksheets before everybody else! I will be sending it out the week before the challenge so you can get a decluttering jump start. Newsletter subscribers receive 2 emails a week when the blog is updated with posts and a third email that usually contains special deals and information just for them. The next few weeks they will be getting the decluttering worksheets early.
This first set of worksheets will help you define your goals and figure out the zones for your home. I will also have worksheets with tips for each section of the house. You can print them out and use them as is or you can create a decluttering binder.
How to Create a Decluttering Binder
You will need three things plus the worksheets.
If you do not have any of that at home you can pick it up at the store or the links are to Amazon. Prime member can have it shipped to their house and ready to go in 2 days for $15.75. The worksheets are free.
If you put the papers in the protectors (and the protectors in the 3 ring binder) you can keep everything organized. Even better, you can write on your papers using your dry erase and if you need to change something you can simply wash it off. It is especially nice for task lists (check them when you are down and then erase them for next time).
By the end of the challenge you will have your own organized decluttering binder!