“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add,
but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Where to even begin? Clutter is one of those things that affects us on every level. It's a constant reminder that we have unfinished business. Which is not a good thing to wake up to day after day. Most often the rooms that are the most cluttered in our homes or office spaces correspond with the part of our lives that are the most chaotic as well.
Ponder this thought for a moment: Is your home studio in disarray because there's unfinished work laying around, and stacks of papers everywhere? Perhaps that means that one lacks the focus to finish things or that busy schedules are too demanding. Is the entryway to the home cluttered with things thrown down because the statement, "I'll do it later", is being said too often and creating a mess around the opening of the house? This is the connection to the outside world, and in a way it's like a physical and mental barricade making it hard to let things or people in or out. Is the bedroom pure madness, with dirty clothes, and books just lying around? Maybe sleeping has been a problem lately or the love life is not going good, so why put the effort into cleaning. The bedroom is a suppose to be an inviting tranquil space, and looking at a heaping pile of clutter is going to be the last thing one sees before going to bed and the first thing when waking up. Again, whatever it is, these are all subconscious reminders of unfinished business. So when we put a conscious effort into these areas, we will most likely see an improvement in the corresponding aspect of our lives.
Here are 10 ways to help declutter the home:
1. Stop buying stuff. This is the solution to most issues, not just messy clutter. In this case, if one has less stuff, then it cannot clutter the home. Really think about purchases: Do I really need this, does this item truly make me happy, what does it do to the environment, what happens when I don't want it anymore, is it worth the time and money? All of these are great questions.
2. Mark it on the calender. Make it an event, and put a few hours or a day aside to really tackle the mess. Depending on the situation, make a reasonable goal for how much can be achieved during that time.
3. Start small. Doing everything in a day can be unreasonable and unrealistic. So start small with that desk or shelve that's been a bother. Empty it out or off completely, only put back the things that you truly need or want, and part with the rest.
4. Truly be honest. When deciding whether an item stays or goes, be honest about if it's needed or not. Recall the last time it was used; if it was never or too long ago then it is time to part with it. Of course very sentimental things are an exception. Make piles for trash/recyclable, charity/for sale, maybe, and keep. When finished, deal with them accordingly.
5. Designate a place for charity and sale items. I know this sounds counterproductive to just move things around, but it works if one is responsible about clearing it out later. I have a small closet in my hallway that I nicknamed "the giveaway closet", and it houses all of the things that are going to be sold on Craigslist, are going to be donated to charities, or given away to others. Sometimes it can take time to get rid of these things, especially for pending sale items. I also get notices in the mail about the charities that I donate to, so it's good to have all of the items in one place and ready to go when needed.
6. Box up "maybe" items. The best test for those pesky "maybe" items is to put them away in a box or a designated drawer for month and see if you have to go retrieve them because they're needed. If not, then the answer is clear, and they can be sold or given away. If more testing is needed for some items just put them away for a longer time. If six months to a year passes and the items in the box are never used then it's time to finally get rid of them.
7. Try not to horde. Easier said than done for some, I'm sure, but it's important to try. Only buy things like food or cosmetics for a short span of time. Having stocked up on goods in the past has been a mistake of mine, because tastes change or they expire. I've done this with spices before, and then I'm stuck with jars that are about ready to go bad. It's best to just save the money and only buy things when needed.
8. Everything has a place. This is so true. If it doesn't have a place then it is probably clutter. Designating a place for things also helps when tidying up the home, because then the items can be put back into place very quickly. It's also a sign that the items have been tampered with. I can tell when things in my home have been misplaced or touched. If I throw a party, it's easy for me to just go around and put things back in order again because I know exactly where they belong.
9. A clean surface is always best. When I arrange items on a fireplace mantel or shelve I do it in an artistic way. Typically close to nothing on a surface is best, so then the space can be used when needed. This is the case for counter tops and tables. Something to add as well, is how appealing the "rule of three" can be when arranging items. It can be found all over my home. A great example of this would be on my book shelve in my home studio. Two bookends and a row of books makes for three elements on a surface. Or in the bedroom there are three arrangements of pillar candles by the bed. Again, this can be very esthetically pleasing and gives a surface great visual impact.
10. Realize that value lies within you, not your stuff. Remember that you will always have those great memories and same values that an item once gave you. It's okay to let go. Most of the time it's fear that makes us cling to things. That the memory won't be as potent without the object or that one day the item will be needed again. Most likely both of these are not true. Our memories live on within us, and we probably will never use that horded object again. A great example of this is media. Unless it's an ultimate favorite, are we really going to watch all of those movies, read all of those books, and play all of those video games again. No, so let them go and brighten someone's day with a nice random present.
After awhile this will all become second nature and
I promise that it will help bring peace of mind and clarity to your life.
Love from Claudia