So, you’ve been wanting to de-clutter your home. You know there are things that need to go. And you’re really looking forward to actually having a garage that stores your car, as opposed to operating as a storage unit.
But, you have no idea where to begin.
You desperately want your home to feel open and peaceful, instead of crowded and cramped and you’ve pinned a thousand pretty Pinterest images for inspiration. But, when it comes down to actually doing it… in your house… that’s when things come to a screeching halt.
Believe me, I understand.
When you stand back and look at it altogether, it can seem completely overwhelming. Like, even if you did get the courage to start going through it, it would take at least 10 years. Not to mention, how do you know what to get rid of and what to keep? What if you get rid of something that you need later? And what about all those sentimental items that have such strong memories attached to them?
No, I don’t have a wire tap in your home.
I just know the kinds of thoughts that keep people stuck and paralyzed from ever starting to de-clutter. Because a lot of them tend to be the same, which in and of itself, should make you feel better. Because you’re not alone!
So, stop being so hard on yourself and extend yourself some grace.
De-cluttering is about you. It’s FOR you. So, don’t try to do it under the pressure of other people or try to make your purging process look like theirs. Because that kind of defeats the point.
You should start to de-clutter when you are ready. When you’ve finally had enough of things being the current way they are and are ready for a change. When the discomfort of staying where you are outweighs the discomfort of going through the process.
Because de-cluttering is about getting your life back. It’s about getting out from under all those “things” that have been weighing you down, tying you down and stressing you out. It’s about letting go of things you don’t need, things you don’t want and focusing in on who you truly are – at the core of it all.
It’s about getting rid of all the “excess” so you can find who you were created to be in the first place. And oh yea, your home will look a lot better too. 😉
So, if you’re ready to take that first step… read on, my friend!
Although, I like to teach in my webinars and courses that the first step to downsizing and de-cluttering is to give yourself permission (which it is), I want to give you a more concrete, tangible first step here, so you can feel like you are actually accomplishing something you can see!
So, we’re going to assume that you’ve already done that and that you’re heading into this with a powerful, objective, honest, I can do this attitude! Because you CAN do this.
And, the first step is to get rid of the “low hanging fruit.”
People tend to get tripped up by the thought of attacking all of their stuff at once. So, you’re going to save yourself the trouble by NOT doing that from the very beginning.
Start out your de-cluttering process knowing that you are not concerned with doing a thorough cleaning out the first time through. Consider this your “practice run.” It’s like getting your learner’s permit before you get your driver’s license.
If you’re completely overwhelmed by the thought of going through all the old family photographs and keepsakes from Grandma and her mama’s mama, then don’t worry about those right now.
For now, as your first step, just get rid of the obvious things, the easy things, the things that are most clearly not necessary or wanted.
For example, in your bedroom closet, this would be the clothes that obviously don’t fit you or the ones that are worn out, stained or torn. In the kitchen, it might be all the extra water bottles that accumulated when you weren’t paying attention or the food processor that you bought but never use.
If something makes you hesitate or hem and haul for more than a minute or two, then don’t worry about it right now. Stick to the things that you can make quick decisions about. The things that have been saying “donate me” in neon up to this point, but you just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
You may have books that you know you’ll never read or an old VCR and VHS tapes that you have no intention of ever using again. There may be sporting equipment left over from a hobby that you no longer enjoy or decorations that no longer fit with the theme of your home.
Again, the general guideline here is to get rid of the items that are fairly obvious and don’t require a great deal of thought or consideration regarding whether or not you should keep them.
Do this in every area/room of your house.
You might just be surprised at how much “excess” you have that you’re ready to get rid of! And the cool thing is, that as you do this… as you build that de-cluttering muscle… and begin to feel the freedom and empowerment that comes from letting stuff go… you’ll start to feel motivated.
You’ll actually want to tackle more and more clutter because you’re starting to see it’s not so scary after all. And you’re starting to like how it feels to be in control again.
And that’s when stuff really starts to get good. 😉
But, for now… just take the first step.
Just start. Because any de-cluttering is better than no de-cluttering at all. Take your time. Be patient and graceful with yourself. And most importantly… have fun with it!
You can do this.
I believe in you!
Now, get out there and pick that fruit!
Until next time… keep your worries tiny and your dreams BIG!
Jenn Baxter is an accomplished author, speaker and freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has been published in numerous print and online publications and appears at tiny house festivals, healthy living festivals and private engagements across the country, speaking on the subjects of downsizing & minimalism, clean eating, healthy living and spiritual health. She appeared on HGTV’s “Tiny House Big Living,” is a regular guest on the NBC morning show “Charlotte Today” on WCNC-TV and has also appeared as a guest on the Tiny House Podcast, The Purpose Show and LiveTiny Canada.
In 2015, Jenn launched her website, Live a F.A.S.T. Life, based on her own experiences with clean living and downsizing into a 160-square- foot tiny house. She now teaches others how to make similar changes in their own lives through her online webinars and her e-course collection, De-Clutter, De-Tox, De-Stress. Her new book, Live a F.a.s.t. Life: How Stripping Down and Cleaning Up Gave Me My Life Back is available now on her website, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.