Less Clutter, Better Life

While decluttered living has evolved into something like a social movement, there’s more to it than fad and fashion. Decluttering your household has been shown to deliver real benefits, ranging from a more efficient household to higher self-esteem, better relationships and improved health and well-being.

The challenge, of course, is how to achieve a truly decluttered state. As Becoming Minimalist website author Joshua Becker puts it, “There is a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath hiding behind that clutter. Deciding how to declutter your home is up to you.”

Here we offer 10 steps to help you get started.

  1. Be your guest. We often don’t see the clutter in our own homes. Step back and try to see your home through the eyes of a guest, and pull aside anything that might seem like clutter.
  2. Start small. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Start with one drawer, one closet or one corner, and work in small bursts of time rather than planning to spend one day decluttering the whole house.
  3. Schedule time, and create a deadline. Plan your decluttering secessions around deadlines. For example, plan to declutter your dining room in time to have guests over for dinner.
  4. One-year rule. If you haven’t used it or worn it for a year, get rid of it.
  5. De-duplicate. If you have more than one of it, get rid of it.
  6. Give everything a home. Sometimes clutter comes from not knowing where to put things. Figure it out, creating a home for everything.
  7. Put it back where it came from. A lot of clutter is a product of laziness. If you get something out, put it away when you’re done with it.
  8. Go digital. Nothing clutters a home like paper: records, pictures, letters, etc. Digitize everything you can, and then get rid of any originals that aren’t necessary.
  9. Three piles. For the things you no longer need, make three piles: “Trash,” “Sell”, and “Donate.” Distribute things into the piles as quickly as possible, don’t second-guess yourself, and then act on the decisions you’ve made.
  10. De-clutter, don’t be perfect. Don’t try to be perfect, just try to be better. And then repeat the process regularly. Eventually, you’ll find the process itself to be good for your overall well-being.

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