Minimalist or Clutterbug?

844058598f914db2c0120a9cd924e6d5.jpgHave you noticed how decluttering is all the rage, decluttering your life, decluttering your house, decluttering your heart and soul! I’ve read that once you declutter your house you’ll naturally lose 10 pounds. Well I’ve been decluttering all summer long and sadly I haven’t lost 10 pounds but my home does feel a hundred pounds lighter. For years I was a reluctant clutterbug, never really wanting all the “stuff” that seemed to accumulate around me but never really addressed it either and so on it went until it seemed all too much and something had to change.

Midlife arrived at the same time, a new career, my children started leaving for college, it felt like there were monumental shifts happening in my life. What better time to embark on a major declutter. The surprising thing about decluttering is that once you get going it’s really hard to put the breaks on. You start realizing that you don’t need all those sample face creams that have been sitting in your bathroom drawers or half the amount of coffee mugs in your kitchen cabinet.

Then there’s  your closet – why is it full to the gills and yet there’s nothing to wear?? I think decluttering the closet has been one of the most liberating activities. It was time consuming, taking everything out, trying it all on and being brutally honest – (a girlfriend or a couple of daughters can help with this!) Which pieces do I really love? which look fabulous? which are a 10? then get rid of everything else. You only want 10’s in your wardrobe – then it’s a joy to get dressed 🙂

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Once you get into the kitchen, pantry and your home office all bets are off. Literally garbage bags have lined the driveway. I’ve lost count of the number of trips to Goodwill. With each garbage bag and each Goodwill drop off life becomes just a tiny bit less complicated. There’s literally less to deal with, which frees up more time for focusing on the things you really want to do instead of dealing with all the “stuff”. This is the crazy thing, less material possessions equal a richer life.

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So what are the golden rules of decluttering? I know them by heart:

  1. Live with what you LOVE. This is the most important rule. Hold the item, touch it, does it make you feel good? if so keep it, if not  – let it go.
  2. Get rid of things you haven’t used in over a year.
  3. Stop feeling guilty! any gifts that you don’t like have to go – donate them. This includes family heirlooms, if you really don’t like them ask other family members if they would like them. Perhaps they can be repurposed. I was given a dresser from my grandmother – I adored her and wanted to keep the dresser as I always remembered the dresser in her house but it just didn’t quite work in mine. In the end I took the top off the dresser and stored it and used the bottom of it in my hallway and it looks fantastic! I believe Grandma would love it too – but the main thing is I love it and it works in my house today.
  4. Let the “just in case” items go. Trust in the future rather than your clutter.
  5. Just moving around items is just moving around clutter – or as my husband likes to say “moving the chairs on the Titanic!”
  6. Take your time – this is an on going process. Don’t think this can be achieved in one weekend.
  7. Get rid of anything that’s broken and can’t be fixed asap!!!
  8. Sort through your mail immediately and get rid of all the junk.
  9. Digitize your photos – we had piles of photo albums of our kids that were beginning to look a little worse for the years – scan them and have them last forever and keep them safe:)
  10. Get rid of everything under the bed. I’m amazed to say we had a rug under our bed which I hated and my husband loved – all that disagreement right under our bed!

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It’s lovely to live with what you love. Look around your house, pick up each object  –  does it speak to you? do you love it? do you want to look at it every day? does it make you feel great? if so keep it and love it – if not pass it on to someone who will love it – take a trip to Goodwill:)

 

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