In my life and my apartment, decluttering is a constant battle. I hold on to stuff I do not need for longer than I should. When I moved from a house to an apartment it was a blessing that I had to downsize to live comfortably. It is very easy for things to get piled up so I am always trying to declutter. If the spectrum of relationships with “things” ranges from minimalism to hoarding, I want to lean more towards the former. Here are a few ways that I try personally to minimize the clutter in my life. I am a much more relaxed person when my living space is orderly and not chaotic.
1. Look around and make a list of the top ten things that make up clutter in your house. This can range from tiny things to elephant in the room type things. Writing it down will help you become aware of the issues and motivated to change the situation. This also gives you a tangible piece of paper to cross items off once you tackle them. A few of the big ones for me included vitamins/medicine, socks, underwear, books, and the closet where I stuffed everything that didn’t have its own place.
2. Donate or trash old media if you do not have a player for them (i.e. VHS tapes, DVDs, etc.). If you have a bunch of VHS tapes that have been sitting around since the 90s when your last tape player broke it’s probably time to let those go. Super bummer for the planet but you are not going to watch them. Especially if they are recordings of old tv shows. There was an episode of hoarders where this was 90% of the problem. Don’t be that lady. It’s crazy to think about it but with hulu, netflix, spotify and apple music you do not really need any of the hard copies of movies or music.
3. Throw out food with old expiration dates. Check all the areas of your house – fridge, pantry, medicine cabinet. It is not healthy to eat them at this point and if they have been sitting around long enough to expire you probably were never going to eat them anyways. Even if the food isn’t expired, you can get rid of it if you do not want to eat it. Sometimes random things find their way into you house when you host a party or something like that but that does not mean you need to keep them. If you don’t want to eat it or put it out at a party that you will be throwing in the near future, then get rid of it.
4. Recycle random paper that’s laying around (ie magazines, junk mail, etc). Magazines are so tempting to keep because they are filled with so much fun information. I held on to a ton for a very long time with the intention of making dream boards and collages. I even moved giant stacks of magazines into a new living situation. It felt so cathartic to finally remove them from my space.
5. Take two bags of clothing to goodwill/Salvation Army. We all have clothes that haven’t been worn in a hot minute that do not need to still be in our closets. If you have the energy, you can try to sell them but don’t put off getting rid of them with the intent to make money.
6. Sell five items that you don’t use. Or give away. Or throw in the trash. Just move them out of your space to clear out some space. Good items to think about for this are furniture pieces that you have outgrown or artwork you don’t really like anymore.
7. Clear off any living spaces that are not functional. This means couches where you cannot sit our counter space that cannot be used for meal prep. A porch that is full of random stuff so you cannot lounge on it also counts in this section.
8. Get rid of socks and underwear that you hate. These are the ones that never get washed because you never wear them. All the good socks and underwear get crowded out by the ones you do not enjoy putting on your body.
9. Take 30 minutes to tackle a project that you have been putting off. I learned this trick from Gretchen Rubin. It is a time of intentionally powering through all the little tedious tasks around your house that don’t actually take that long to finish. It feels so good to quit walking by burnt out light bulbs or laundry that has been sitting clean in the hamper for a week.
All of these are super basic concept but can make your life just a little bit better. When your space is calm, your mind is calm. Cheers to adding more tranquility in your life!