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Ever since Marie Kondo convinced us we need to ‘KonMari’ our lives, we have seen every decluttering hack known to man parading across our Facebook feed and Pinterest profiles. It seems pretty simple, throw out what you don’t use, keep what makes you happy.
But if you’re anything like me you’ve probably looked at that messy room or massive pile of paperwork and figured it’s just too hard. It takes so much time and anytime I try to declutter, I end up making an even bigger mess!
However, when I persevered, I realised there really is a lot to gain from clearing out certain areas of your life. Both physical and emotional.
So girl, I’ve got your covered! With the Lazy Guide to Decluttering (right up my alley!!) and I’ll also explain why you should do it.
So What’s the Point?
While it may seem the whole point to decluttering is to free up more space, that’s not the only reason. Over the years we accumulate a lot of ‘stuff’. Now, imagine this ‘stuff’ isn’t just physical things but is a representation of who you are, how you feel about yourself and how you feel about your place in this world.
What does your ‘stuff’ say about you?
For me, I had a lot of ill fitting clothes, broken and chipped coffee mugs and mismatched dinner plates, piles and piles of paperwork that never got filed, and general clutter. A lot of my furniture was cheap because that’s all I could afford at the time and I just never got around to replacing it, even when it was broken.
What was this saying about me?
It was saying that I didn’t think I was worthy of spending decent money on my own clothes and that I didn’t value the way I looked. It said I was only worth a 50% off sale and not full price. It said I wasn’t worth feeling good about the food I ate because I didn’t feel good about the shitty plates I served it on. And most alarmingly, it said I didn’t care about my money because I wasn’t filing the paperwork that kept my money in order.
Sound extreme? It kind of is. While we may not consciously think these things when we are using our ‘stuff’, these are the messages we are sending ourselves.
What Do You Do About It?
Before you start throwing all of your worldly possessions out, start by walking around your home and paying attention to the areas that make you feel most uncomfortable. Is there an area you avoid because you don’t like being there? Or maybe somewhere you’d be mortified if anyone saw.
For me, my wardrobe was one of these places and so was my ‘office’.
These were red flags that these two areas were the first places I needed to concentrate.
It’s so easy to become overwhelmed and think you have to get in and start decluttering everywhere all at once but that’s not only almost impossible, but it will make you want to quit before you even start!
Once you have identified certain things that make you feel cruddy (for example, my chipped coffee mugs) work your way through replacing them. You don’t have to spend a fortune, I picked up a set of coffee mugs I love for less than $10 and they are gorgeous. Which means, for less than $10 I was able to upgrade a part of my day that previously made me feel ‘meh’ to one that now makes me feel a little luxe and fabulous!
Guide To Decluttering, The Lazy Way
Step 1 – Make a list from your walk around the house, of all the places that make you feel uncomfortable. Start with the space that makes you the most uneasy and as you’re going, take note about what it is in that area that makes you feel yuck.
Step 2 – Give yourself a timeline. You’re not going to declutter everything on day one, and decluttering can be really draining. Pick one or two areas to start off with and go from there.
Step 3 – Now you need to know what it is you’re going to get rid of. To start off with, grab three washing baskets (or similar, boxes will do fine too). One will be of things to throw out, one will be of things to donate and the other will be of things that belong somewhere else in the house and need to be put away there.
The idea is that by doing this you’re not going to be running all over the place putting things away or putting things in the bin. See… lazy and simple. The least amount of ‘work’ possible!
You’re guidelines are simple.
Does this make me happy? If yes, then keep it. If not, then ask yourself;
Do I need to keep this? If yes, then keep it. If not, then ask yourself;
Can I sell it? If yes, then put it in the sell basket. If not, then ask yourself;
Can I donate it? If yes, then put in in the donate basket. If not, then put it in the throw out basket.
How simple is that?
Where People Get Caught Up
So many people, myself included, tend to overthink the whole process. You don’t have to declutter in perfect ‘KonMari’ style for your efforts to be effective.
In addition, we tend to overthink certain aspects of decluttering, and usually these are the things that make us feel uneasy. I found myself hitting a brick wall when it came to decluttering items I had received as gifts. These items weren’t making me happy, they weren’t being used and they really had no place in my home. But, I felt guilty for thinking of throwing them out.
Once I pushed through this and started removing the items from my home (by either selling or donating them) I felt so much better. As it turns out, in some cases these were the items that were causing my uneasiness in that area of my home! I gave myself permission to not feel guilty, and knew full well that most of the people who had given me the gifts would have probably forgotten about them anyway.
Decluttering is a skill and takes practice. You might find your first attempt at decluttering only reduces your ‘stuff’ marginally. But over time, you might find that area of your home is making you uneasy again so it is time to go through and declutter again. The next time you might clear more from the area than before. It’s a process. And it doesn’t have to be perfect.