You hear so much about the peaceful, zen state people find themselves in after decluttering. Using the act of getting rid of excess material as a way to rid yourself of heaviness. And after my last big declutter (the first one where I felt I was truly being honest with what I did and didn’t need) I can definitely say I felt lighter and more peaceful, I’ve found my possessions more useful and more valuable. I can finally say it worked.
I’ve done a few blogs similar to this one in the past, my GYST (get your shit together) Routine and my Spring Cleaning Checklist. But I thought I’d try something different with this one, laying it out as a kind of challenge. Why not make it a little more fun?
“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.” – Joshua Becker
First, the benefits of decluttering
Less decisions=less stress
It’s a simple enough equation, but one that’s hard to implement into our everyday because so many of our decisions are so minute. But decision fatigue can be a big drain on your energy. We go through our day having to make so many decisions and it’s easy to become unknowingly overwhelmed.
I’ve said it before with regard to morning routines, but even having to decide on an outfit, breakfast, lunch and what exercise to do in the morning can make you stressed before your day has even begun. With fewer options, you’ll be able to make decisions more confidently, quicker and feeling less stressed.
You’ll have more time
You have less to clean. Need to make less decisions. You have less to take care of. You shouldn’t need to tear a room apart looking for something under heaps of stuff. It’s a little change, but it can make a really big difference to your overall state of mind and to how much time you have.
You’ll draw more energy from your space
I’ve said before how much my energy is tied to my surroundings. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind, to me. It makes my head feel like it’s buzzing and I struggle to operate in it. So if you’re anything like me, or even if you think you’re not, you’ll probably still notice an increase in your mood and in how peaceful you feel in a clearer space.
Your possessions will have more value
The best thing about decluttering? You end up with so much more.
Wait, hold up – what?
Yep – when I cleared out my wardrobe I discovered something amazing about having less. In the past, when I looked at my overwhelming stack of jumpers, ready to topple out of the wardrobe in a wooly avalanche, I’d panic at the thought of having to make a decision. I’d grab the jumper on the top and put that on. In the end, I was wearing a cycle of the three jumpers that would rotate the top of the pile, always feeling half-hearted in my outfits.
When I downsized, I donated and rehomed well over half of what I had, so that when I look in my wardrobe now, I’m left with a choice of a few jumpers I love, that I know fit well, I feel good in and I’m excited to put on. I now wear all of them.
And what decluttering definitely is not…
Getting rid of the things you truly love
I recently watched the Netflix documentary ‘Minimalism’ starring The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. One of the points I found most interesting was when they spoke about a woman who had once come to them very upset because she wanted to practice minimalism, but couldn’t stand the idea of giving up her book collection (I can sympathise with the horror).
And they told how many people come to them with similar conflicts. But minimalism, they said, is not about getting rid of what you love. If you love your books, cherish their place in your life and read again and again – you shouldn’t get rid of them. Those things have a definite place in your life.
The main point I took from that documentary was that minimalism isn’t about having the bare minimum or having no possessions besides what you need to survive. It’s just about reducing the number of unnecessary things you own. Keep your books.
A list of quotas
If you only manage to rid yourself of two t-shirts, that’s fine. Decluttering is a process of reducing what you have until everything is a necessary, loved part of your life. You don’t need to do it in one go. And it’s different for everyone. For some, decluttering may mean only having two pairs of shoes, for others that may be only having ten. It’s relative.
Similarly, decluttering doesn’t require you to strangle your buying habits. Don’t abstain from ever acquiring anything ever again. Decluttering and taking a more minimalist-outlook on your buying and owning habits is about being more conscious and as I said, owning things you love, that have a place in your life.
Clutter or keeper?
One of the most difficult parts of decluttering, besides motivating yourself to do it and stick with it, is deciding what’s clutter and what’s not. As I’ve said throughout this post, if it brings you joy, or if it’s necessary: keep it. If seeing it makes you happy, if you know you wear it or use it frequently: keep it. If you make an honest promise to yourself to start using it, be careful and make sure to check back with yourself a couple of months down the line, but keep it.
But, I know that in the past, even with these ideals in place, I’ve found myself hoarding, one side of my brain feeding excuses to the other half for why we still need this ill-fitting sweatshirt we haven’t worn in two years. Deep down, I think we all know when we’re doing this. But it’s a process. And through a lot of practice, you’ll hone your ability to be honest and objective with yourself.
Now, the challenge
Declutter your space by doing a little each day. With 30 prompts, you can declutter your entire space in a month. Some of these tasks will take longer than others and some may be redundant for you, so mix up the order and remove/add tasks as you see best. I’ve left day 29 and 30 open to ‘additional rooms’ and ‘free-for-all’ for this reason. Good luck!
- Day 1 – Wardrobe
- Day 2 – Kitchen appliances, products and tools
- Day 3 – Cleaning supplies
- Day 4 – Beauty products
- Day 5 – Games/DVDs/CDs
- Day 6 – Books and magazines
- Day 7 – Electronics
- Day 8 – Accessories and jewellery
- Day 9 – Coat and shoe closets
- Day 10 – Phone (apps, photos, etc)
- Day 11 – Computer files
- Day 12 – Medicine cabinets
- Day 13 – Under the bed
- Day 14 – Paperwork
- Day 15 – Underwear and sock draws
- Day 16 – Bedside cabinet/dresser
- Day 17 – Ornaments
- Day 18 – Garage
- Day 19 – Stationary, gift wrap and notepads
- Day 20 – Car/bike
- Day 21 – Outdoor space
- Day 22 – Attic and/or basement
- Day 23 – Mail and email
- Day 24 – Bags
- Day 25 – Towels and linens
- Day 26 – Fridge and freezer
- Day 27 – Office and desk
- Day 28 – Purse
- Day 29 – Additional rooms
- Day 30 – Free for all!
There you go, how to declutter your home in 30 days. Taking the ideas and ideals we’ve discussed throughout this blog, I hope you feel refreshed and accomplished by the end of this challenge. Sticking to anything for 30 days will have a huge effect on your life, so I hope you find value in sticking to this.
Let me know how you guys get on with this in the comments below. And pin or print the checklist below to help you get started!
Wishing you peaceful decluttering! Love, Ella-Rose xx