Welcome to the first #PrettySimpleSunday of many! Today we’re going to have a lovely discussion of simplifying your stuff. Basically just a general term for all the crap scattered about your home or collecting dust and bat turds in the attic, or, god forbid, piled high in a storage unit you never visit.
I’ve decided to start with an all-encompassing stuff post, because that’s really a great place to start when you’re feeling overwhelmed with your life in general. For me, it was necessary to tackle the stuff before I could tackle my health, work, relationships, and whatever else was feeling cluttered or off. Okay, maybe it isn’t actually the best place to start, but it’s definitely the easiest. It builds up your confidence to tackle other aspects of your life.
As I mentioned in my Thursday post, I spent Father’s Day attempting to clear my parents’ attic of all my things that had accumulated there over the years. I ended up sorting through about 20 boxes and bins, as you can see below, and I didn’t even get halfway done. Not even close. I couldn’t believe things had gotten so bad. Over the years I’ve made attempts at decluttering and donating, and I’ve cleaned out a lot, but I ALWAYS got tired of it and started feeling too sentimental and would end up just piling most things back in bins and boxes and sticking them back in the attic. Why wouldn’t I want that outfit from 7th grade I sorta liked, even though that was one of the most awkward, awful times of my life? Why wouldn’t I keep the poorly constructed clay pots from 5th grade that only brought back bad memories? As I went through all of this stuff again, especially the boxes of stuff from my school days, I realized most of it didn’t even come with good memories. And what’s more, no matter what memory they came with, it’s important to remember the memories aren’t housed in the things themselves, but in our heads. I had so much momentum built up on Sunday to clear out the past, I didn’t even think twice about donating or throwing 90% of what I pulled from the attic. It felt amazing.
I’m going back on Wednesday in an attempt to finish the job, but it’s important to remember that it’s always going to be a process.
Now let’s focus on simplifying your stuff.
First, pick a method.
1. Purge it all in one go. If you are like me, and find satisfaction in one giant clean out session, employing methods like Kon Mari are a good way to go. Block off a day or two (or a week depending on how much stuff you have) to take everything from the attic, basement, storage unit, and whatever, putt it in a giant pile in the yard or other large space, and go to town. If you have a lot of things, you can further employ the Kon Mari method by doing this in increments by what category your things fall under (furniture, clothes, books, etc.). If you’re like me, though, everything is jumbled together and that doesn’t really work.
However, if one giant purge isn’t possible with your schedule or makes you nauseous just thinking about it, there are other methods you can try.
2. Go Room by Room. One method that could work for some, is just taking it room by room and clearing out what can be donated, thrown, or perhaps moved to a different room. I employ this when I’m trying to maintain the order of my home, but it doesn’t work if your tackling something big like a storage unit or attic.
3. Make it a Game. A lot of games have been created to make decluttering more fun, if you get high off competition and feel like downsizing is too much of a chore. These games typically involve one or more partners, because any lifestyle change usually gets a little easier when you’re not doing it alone. One option from http://www.theminimalists.com is a 30 day challenge where each person gets rid of one thing the first day, two the second, three the third, and on and on. You “win” if you make it to the end. If that seems like a lot of decluttering and you wouldn’t have 30 things to get rid of the last day of the month, then you could augment the game to be just one or two things per day.
4. Utilize boxes for good and not evil. Another method is to employ using labeled boxes in your home marked DONATE, TRASH, MOVE TO OTHER ROOM, etc. The idea is that when you’re going about your daily business you can sort things out as you go along without taking much time to do so. I personally don’t seen much use for anything except the DONATE box, because if it’s trash, just throw it! If it should be moved to another room, just move it! A constant Donation box or bag kept around the house is quite useful. We have one in the corner of our bedroom almost always, and as soon as it gets filled, we take it straight to a donation center without looking back to dig through what we’ve put inside it.
5. Employ the Minimalists’ Packing Party idea. The Minimalists are also known for a method of decluttering known as a “Packing Party” (because throwing “party” at the end of something makes it automatically fun, right?). The idea is to pack everything in your home away, or if it’s a large piece of furniture, throw a sheet over it. EVERYTHING goes away. Then, you unpack or uncover things as you need them. It shows you what you actually use and what you really don’t. Though it certainly gets the job done, and you would already have everything packed in boxes to take to the donation center, it would be an inconvenient way to live for awhile. If you wish to explore it further you can here.
You’ve settled on a method, now what?
When you’re are actually in the process of getting rid of your things, here are ten questions to ask yourself that can help hurry along the process.
- Go Kon Mari and ask, Does this bring me joy?
- Have I used this in the past 30 (60, 90, whatever) days? Will I use it in the next 30 days?
- Would it be easy and cheap to replace?
- If I had to suddenly evacuate my home, would this be something I take with me?
- Am I only keeping this object out of guilt?
- Is it broken or beyond repair?
- Does it serve a purpose?
- Is it relevant to my lifestyle?
- Do I have more than one of these? Do I need more than one?
- If this object was stolen or lost in a fire, would I replace it?
All right folks, hopefully that’s enough to get you started! Sunday is a perfect day to start cleansing your unneeded stuff from your life, so get to it! I’ll be back next week with another #PrettySimpleSunday. Time for me to go to work, because for some reason, I work somewhere that’s open seven days a week and I have no idea what a day off is. Toodles! Oh God, where did toodles come from? It was High School Musical, wasn’t it? Oh, gross. If that’s on your DVD shelf right now, take this opportunity to get off your butt and throw it in the donation bin. Look at that, you’re on a roll!