This week we’re talking about simplifying family life. Tune in all week for strategies and tips for every area of life, and if you’re looking for more in-depth resources, be sure to check out the Huge Simplify Family Life eBook Sale!
No matter how you look at it, the more stuff you have, the more time and energy you spend on stuff — finding it a home, taking it back to its home, cleaning it, moving it, thinking about it and looking at.
Although I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, I love to declutter. And yes, we probably have less stuff than the average family in America (but more than the average minimalist).
But I’m not suggesting that you should get rid of everything and number your possessions from 1 to 100.
What I am suggesting is that you should take a critical look at the things you have and decide if they’re worth keeping. Are they worth the space they occupy? So often we keep things because we’re afraid of missing them. But fear is never a good reason to make a decision!
Principles of Decluttering
There are a few important principals of decluttering to remember:
First, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Not only does it get easier to let go of the fear, but having clear spaces is also kind of addicting, which makes it kind of fun to look for ways to create more clear space. And the more often you evaluate your things, the easier it is to see what you really do use, which makes it easier to get rid of the rest as well.
Secondly, sometimes you have to just do it. Don’t wait for the perfect time. Don’t wait until you’re ready to really get rid of a ton of stuff at once. Don’t wait until you can go through every drawer, cabinet and closet with a fine tooth comb. Just do it. Take a trash bag and sweep through your home, adding items until the bag is full. If you’re not sure you can even fill a bag, set a timer and spend at least 15-20 minutes looking for things that you are willing to part with. You have to start somewhere!
Tips to Get Started
Although decluttering comes easily for me now, I know it can be tough to get started. Here are some of my favorite tips to make it just a little bit easier:
- I’ve mentioned before that I find it easiest to declutter when I’m frustrated by the clutter. It’s easier for me to make the tough decisions when the stuff is bothering me, so I tend to use that feeling to my advantage.
- My favorite tip for reluctant declutterers is to simply pack items away in a box, mark the box with the date and store it in the garage for three to six months. If you have second thoughts or need to use an item that you’ve decluttered, you can go rescue it during that time. If you haven’t needed it during that time, then you can give it away without worrying that you’ll regret the decision.
- If you’re not sure how to evaluate the things in your home, download this free printable: 10 Questions to Help You Declutter.
- Before the holidays, I did a series with Tara from Deal Seeking Mom on preparing your home for the holidays, which includes tips for decluttering each of the main areas of your home.
By now, you may be realizing that decluttering isn’t exactly a simple way to simplify. The truth is that simplifying family life takes time and effort, but as you invest time upfront, it pays off in the long-term. Because it does take hard work, I don’t suggest trying to tackle every area at once. Instead, pick the one that is most important to you — or where you feel the most stress — and start there. Then, you can move onto the next one when you’re ready!
Does clutter cause you stress? What is the hardest thing for you to declutter?