Simple Living

3 Easy Steps to Start Decluttering

Sometimes looking at the huge task of decluttering a household can seem daunting. Where to start? What do let go of? A few years ago I challenged myself to purge 30 things in 30 days because I was overwhelmed with stuff after a move. Choosing one item every day felt like an achievable goal and it started me on a continual journey of decluttering.

Here are a few things that helped me start–and keep going–on this process of letting things I don’t need go.

1. Start Small

Looking at an entire house can be overwhelming, so my suggestion is to choose something small and easy to start. This could be a sock drawer, a junk drawer or a coffee mug shelf. Any area where you can get started by making some easy decisions. Sometimes being able to make easy choices about what to let go of will help give practice for the tougher decisions.

My easy area was the large utensil drawer in my kitchen. I had a number of duplicate utensils and even some random items that I had no idea what they were used for. Starting with those items let me see how freeing it was to let things go.

Granted, I still have a ways to go yet. Earlier this year I counted the number of scissors I had in my house–including regular ones and fancy craft edging scissors–and the total was 18! That is far more than I need to own.

2. Hang Hangers Backwards

Every couple of years I turn the hangers in my closet facing backwards. When I wear an item, I hang it back up with the hanger facing the correct way. At the end of a season I can look at my clothes and determine which items I wear and which items I do not. This makes it easier to decide which items need to go because I can see what I truly don’t wear.

I usually check out my closet at the end of summer and the end of winter to see where the hangers are still backwards, then I start pulling items to put in the “give away box.”

3. Use Two Boxes

I tuck two boxes in a corner of my bedroom. They are hidden enough to be out of the way, but visible enough so that I don’t forget about them.

The first box is for items I want to sell. Any items that I think I can easily sell, that are in great shape and have some value, I will try and sell online. I post on both Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, but there are other sites out there too like Kijiji and local Facebook groups.

The second box is for the thrift store. Any items that are hard to sell, such as clothes or miscellaneous small items, I will put a box headed to the thrift store.

What I like about having boxes available to continually add to, is that it gives me the freedom to change my mind. I will often have a box on the go for weeks. Sometimes I will add something to it, then completely forget about the item. By the time I go to the thrift store I can see just how much that item does not need to be in my life.

Sometimes, though, I will take something back. And that really is okay. Decluttering, purging, going minimal isn’t about getting rid of everything that takes up space, but about giving you more space–physically and mentally–to enjoy what you do have more.

Do you find decluttering and letting go of things easy?
What are your favourite decluttering tips?

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