We live in a decent sized apartment in Philadelphia, we have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a balcony. I actually love our home but it has never felt light or like a relief when I come home to work. Yes I’m so happy to be home and I can get away from all the work crazy but I come home to clutter and a mess. I feel like something is always messy and disorganized. If it’s not the kitchen then it’s the bedroom or the office and there’s only two of us! It’s horrible so I decided to work on changing our home to make it clean, light, and relaxing. If you know me, you would know that I would be the last person in the world to be working on this project so keep reading to learn how I’ve tackled it and if you’re anything like me, how you can too!
I have a problem, I have a problem shopping and I have a problem keeping clutter at bay in my home. Everywhere you look there’s just stuff everywhere and without homes. My dresser is completely covered with makeup, hair accessories, and so many other random things. My office has piles and piles of paperwork and I cannot even tell you how many pens or markers. I just have accumulated so much stuff and some things I just hang onto. It’s so bad that when I’m just trying to get things out of the way when people visit, things just go into purses and bags and I don’t look at them for months. It’s embarrassing the amount of stuff that I have and hold onto. I don’t really want to share all this but if it’ll help any of you then it’s worth it.
Here’s what my steps have been to declutter my life:
Accept that I have a “stuff” issue
I have for a long time known I have a stuff issue. When I first moved from New York to Pennsylvania (I was heading into 9th grade at the time) I remember that I packed a box of stuffed animals, before packing them I counted them and there were over 100 stuffed animals. I considered myself a collector of many different things: stuffed animals, shells, rocks, knickknacks, porcelain dolls, old books. I also refused to get rid of things that people had gifted me because I’m an extremely sentimental person. I’m very attached to my family and certain items bring back a flood of memories for me. Working through accepting that I do have an issue with having too much stuff meant that I had to really understand why I have this issue and why. Sentimental value is one of the biggest ones for me and something that I’m trying to work through.
Learn the difference between want and need
For me, I can very easily make myself believe that I need something if I see it at a store. If I like it, I will find that reason that I need it. In this journey, I accepted that I shop for fun and I shop when I’m upset. This is not a healthy way to deal with emotions. I have been working hard to keep myself from bringing more things home. For clothes, if I try them on and there is even one thing that I’m not over the heels in love with, I won’t buy it. I also will not buy clothing that I cannot make a few outfits out of. I’ll have to write a post about how I’ve learned to cut down on shopping but I’ve been making strides. While in the store asking myself do I really NEED this has truly helped me to make the great decision to put it (whatever it is) back on the shelf. 90% of the time I really don’t need whatever it is and when I get home I don’t even really remember what that item was. Now if I do keep thinking about it or consider buying it after a week or two I will consider buying it.
Don’t be sentimental
During the decluttering process, my biggest struggle has been getting rid of things. I’m overly sentimental and I attach too many emotions to objects. I’ve started keeping a journal to help with this. When I find something that I really don’t need in my life anymore, I write down the memories that are attached to that object and then I get rid of it. This helps me feel better about getting rid of the object but not losing the memories.
It sounds silly to say goodbye to objects but it helps! It does. Saying goodbye to things for me is more about accepting that the item has fulfilled its purpose in making me happy when the person gave it to me or when I purchased it but it no longer has a purpose in my life.
Just do it
It will never get done unless you just do it. I am not a motivated person, especially when it comes to a huge project like decluttering. I learned that if I throw on some music, a youtube video about cleaning and just start, it’ll happen. The hardest part truly is just starting.
Work on one space
I bought the book the Life Changing Magic of Tidying up and honestly, it turned into more clutter. Maybe it helps others but I just don’t have the time to collect all of one object and then go through it all. I really need to just work on one area like my closet or my office and just go for it. Don’t be discouraged if something like the Konmari method doesn’t work for you. You need to figure out what is best for you and I really recommend going through youtube videos to help. I will say there are things like the Konmari folding method that I did adopt and that do work for me.
I decided that when I finish an area I will reward myself and no I won’t reward myself with buying something. I reward myself by working on decorating and making a space that makes me happy, or I relax by just having me time. It’s been important to learn how to reward myself in other ways than spending money or buying clutter.
Where I’m at
So right now I have decluttered quite a bit. I still need to work on my front closets and I need to work more on organizing but I feel like I’m finally getting to a place where I’m comfortable with what I have. My goal is to clean out my front closet, my office closet and under my bed before April. These are the last few places that need to be decluttered. My office closet is for the most part done, there’s just one tote that I decluttered already but I want to do it one more time because I feel like I haven’t pulled anything out of it in a long time.
What methods have you been using to declutter your life?