2015 was my year to simplify.
In my process of simplification last year, I decluttered my entire home and lazily blogged about a bit of that process. I’m happy to report that much more decluttering occurred than what was documented. Here is what I learned along the way, along with four ideas for you to try out if you are embarking on decluttering your own place of living.
Idea #1 that worked: Have a garage sale with the aim to get rid as much as possible. Arrange beforehand to have all remaining items lugged away immediately at the end of the sale.
I started off selling items on eBay and later on I held a garage sale. The garage sale rewarded my inner thrift, since we netted a surprising amount of around $500. I posted an offer on Craigslist to pick up whatever was left at the end of the sale for free. This was the best idea of the whole sale. Nothing can compete with someone else lugging your unwanted belongings away for free.
Idea #2 that worked: Let go of making money off your unwanted items. Donate your stuff and feel good about contributing to a worthy cause.
Nothing is as easy as giving your unwanted belongings away for free. It took me awhile to learn this lesson. A friend of mine shared it is was easy for her to give away items because she felt it was her way to pay back thrift stores for all the good finds she purchased over the years. Once I adopted this attitude myself, the process of decluttering went more smoothly. To be completely honest, it was easier to adopt this attitude because I had already sold most of the things that I considered to be big ticket items.
Idea #3 that worked: Start and finish a focus area in the same day.
I made a list in the very beginning of the all areas in my home that I wished to declutter (which was every area). I tackled one area at a time. Sometimes this was a room, a portion of a room, or a a specific object (like books). I kept my focus on that one area until it was finished. Many time this meant I physically stayed in that location until I was done. If any item needed to be moved somewhere else, I did not do it then. I made a little pile to move at the end. I did most of decluttering on weekend days because I also aimed to finish that focus area in one day. I needed more time to complete each area than I had the time and energy for after work.
Idea #4 that worked: Realize that decluttering is a never-ending process that is just as much about yourself as it is about your stuff.
Since I gave myself an entire year for this process, it was an attainable goal. Still, over the year I realized that decluttering will never be finished. We constantly bring things into our lives so we need to constantly get rid of things in our lives. This is a skill that we sharpen with practice. Sometimes when I decluttered a space I didn’t do a good job because I held onto items I didn’t need. Then I had to revisit the same space again. This heightened my “declutter” radar, which made future decluttering efforts more effective. Now I am more considerate of what I take into my home to begin with and more easily get rid of what I do not need.