GREAT IDEAS: Own less.

Want to make room for the good stuff? Start now by making a decision to own less.

It is so easy to allow excess stuff to creep into our homes and before we know it, we’re surrounded by things that we neither use nor want and find ourselves saying “why do I even have this?!” I’m no Peter Walsh (Oprah’s decluttering expert), but I have suffered enough anxiety from the overwhelming feeling of having too much stuff, that I consider myself in a position to offer a smidgen of advice on the topic.

Want more time to relax next weekend? Then spend some time this week doing a declutter. Image: Triibe

Want more time to relax next weekend? Then spend some time this week doing a declutter. Image: Triibe

Firstly, you need to determine WHY it is important for you to declutter. For me, the continued accumulation of stuff resulted in three main outcomes: debt, an irresponsible environmental footprint and personal stress. Now if you decide that the point of the decluttering exercise is to enable you to have more room to buy more stuff, perhaps you should go and do some further reading on the value of decluttering. If however, you are interested in having more freedom, money and time, then read on for some tips on cutting the extraneous and stemming the inflow.

  • Looking around your home, you will see all manner of things. Before you go all crazy town and chuck it all, consider this definition of clutter: Anything that is not useful or beautiful (preferably both). 

  • Now that your definition of clutter has been established, you can look at each item in each room and appraise its worth based on this principle.

  • Get organized. You will need garbage bags and storage boxes.

  • Make time to do it. Even it is just 15 minutes a day, set a timer and go like the clappers until time is up. If you decide to tackle a larger space, enlist the help of your partner, a friend or if you’re so blessed, the kids. Many hands make light work.

  • Choose one area to begin with. If you’re attempting this as a solo mission, I’d recommend a small space like the bathroom cabinet or linen cupboard.

  • Create four piles for sorting: Keep, Donate, Give, Bin. As you pick up each item, assess it according to your definition to decide whether it is clutter. Place it into one of these piles. If it goes into any pile other than Keep, don’t take it out again. Be intentional.

  • When you’ve finished this space, take a look through your Keep pile and be ruthless. Do you really love it? Is it really useful? Would you be sad if you didn’t have it? Can you really justify keeping this item? If not, relocate it to another pile.

  • Put the items from your Keep pile back into designated places that have been cleaned. Keep them tidy and revisit the space from time to time to see if you can send more stuff out the door. If you’re keen to maintain your new airy, decluttered space, remember the rule:

Something in = something out.

Pick a space that could benefit from a ruthless declutter and get stuck into it this weekend. I promise, you will feel lighter because of it. 

-Ellen

Ellen Newman