Decluttering is one of those household projects everyone seems to put off. Have you been avoiding clearing out the clutter in your home? If you aren’t careful, unnecessary possessions can creep into every corner of your life.
Let’s paint a picture: You wake up late because you forgot to set your alarm. Rushing to get ready, you can’t decide what to put on because you “don’t have anything to wear.” You sneak into the kitchen so you don’t wake the kids and step on the loudest, flashiest toy. When you pull your favorite cereal from the cupboard, five other things fall out. You can’t find your keys — and that’s just your morning routine.
If that situation sounds familiar, this is your wake-up call. Start with just one small area of your home and remove a few things. You’ll feel so much better and lighter.
Why Should I Declutter?
Clutter can take over your life if you let it. Clear it out to gain these benefits.
1. Less Stress
Everyone has a different tolerance for the clutter around them — some have high thresholds while others are more sensitive. Junk, or your perception of it, can release the hormone cortisol.
This stress hormone can make you uncomfortable in the moment and, over time, could lead to chronic tension and even anxiety. Decluttering enough to get below your threshold will resolve those negative feelings.
2. Better Sleep
Each of your possessions has a message for you. Some things make you happy, while others, like the pair of jeans you don’t fit into, nag at you. The piles of stuff around your home taunt you for being “lazy” and not dealing with them sooner. All these subliminal messages run through your mind at night, keeping you from sleeping. Take back control of your home and your rest.
3. Cleaner Home
Clearing out the clutter inevitably makes your home look better. Also, each room you declutter will be so much easier to clean. There will be fewer things to put away and dust. What a win!
4. Increased Gratitude
When you clear out the garbage and items you no longer use or need, you’re left with only the things you truly value and love. Living with less gives you a new appreciation for what you already have.
5. Extra Movement
The last bonus is an unintentional one. If you stick with this process and declutter your whole home, you’ll get a lot of extra movement. Each time you tackle a space, give it a good clean to increase your calorie burn.
Popular Decluttering Techniques
There are many decluttering methods and choosing what’s right for you can be hard. Remember with any technique you select to dispose of your unwanted items responsibly, reusing, repurposing and donating what you can.
1. KonMari Method
This highly popular method comes from organizational guru Marie Kondo. Her solution to decluttering is to pull together everything from a single category and decide whether it sparks joy. If not, get rid of it. Seeing all you own of one type of thing is very eye-opening, especially when you’re staring at a bed full of every article of clothing.
2. Minimalist Game
This method turns the challenge of decluttering your home into a game. Try inviting a friend or two to do this with you and keep each other motivated to continue. You play for 31 days in a row. On day one, declutter just one item. On day two, you get rid of two. Then, on day three, you remove three things from your home.
Each day of the challenge increases your number of items. You get to slowly build up your decluttering muscles, and by the end of the challenge, you’ll have removed almost 500 items from your life!
3. Four Box Method
This technique is very straightforward. You can tackle a room at a time or even just one drawer — you get to choose. Set up four boxes or bins nearby and place every item into one. You’ll need one container each for put away, give away, throw away and uncertain. Research how to dispose of your throw-away pile properly, especially e-waste.
4. No Mess Method
The previous method is very organized but leaves a big mess to take care of at the end. Author and YouTuber Dana K. White pioneered a mess-free approach. It may take a bit longer because you put away, throw away or dispose of an item immediately rather than make piles, but it lets you stop at any time and not have a mess to worry about.
Don’t Overthink It
Progress is more important than perfection here. Just get started. Every little bit is a win when you’re just beginning the journey to having less clutter. Don’t put it off another day. Choose your favorite method and give it a try.
Jane is an environmental writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers sustainability and eco-friendly living.