How to Declutter and Simplify Your Life
It’s amazing how quickly our lives can become filled with clutter. Living spaces become overrun with clothing, gadgets, and other random odds and ends. Storage spaces become heaped high with unwanted and forgotten items that are unlikely to find a use ever again. Even our inboxes, phones and social media accounts quickly fill up with messages and notifications that have been pushed down our feeds and left unopened and unattended to. If you’ve found yourself struggling to maintain the clutter, it may be time to take some solid, actionable steps to address the issue. Let’s look at how to declutter and simplify your life.
Why Minimalism Matters
If you’re serious about revolutionizing your life through decluttering and simplifying, one of the first things that you should do is pause, step back, and consider things. Diving in head first to tackle the enormous problem of a cluttered life is a surefire way to burn out and slide right back into the same issues. It might take a few months or even years, but if you go too fast, it’s fairly inevitable that you’ll give up further down the road. That’s why it’s critical that you ease into the process.
Adopting a minimalist mindset and lifestyle can be an excellent way to help keep all of your spaces — physical, mental, and digital — decluttered. It’s a long-term solution, rather than a crash course in throwing things away. Before you touch your wardrobe or start to sift through the garage to declutter things, take the time to sit down and consider what you’re about to try to accomplish. When done properly, a simplified, organized life doesn’t only mean more time and less stuff to store, it should also ease your stress levels and mental strain as you create a healthier atmosphere to live in.
Make a Plan
Once you’re in the right headspace, take some time to write down the things that really matter to you, things like friends, family, experiences, and truly valuable possessions. Then, make a list of the areas that you’d like to see organized and simplified. This can include living spaces but should also take into consideration areas like your car, digital spaces, and even less tangible things like your schedule.
Less Stuff, Less Stress
A classic mantra of decluttering is to get rid of things that don’t bring value to your life. A heartwarming gift from a friend, your car, or even plates and cups each provide genuine value in their own way. However, a pair of jeans that you haven’t worn in over a year or that old laptop that refuses to start up really has no place taking up space in your home. As you declutter, take the time to make a conscious decision about each and every item you possess. If you don’t need it or it doesn’t bring that spark of joy in some way or another, give it away, recycle it, or toss it in the garbage.
One nifty hack to help declutter without having to slash and burn so many things is to gather all of your paperwork up and then send it in to be scanned. While this is often done before a move, it can also be the perfect way to simply clear things up when those piles of papers appear to be on the verge of engulfing your entire home office. The best part is that you don’t have to have a guilty conscious about not preserving your documents since the scanned copies remain available online.
Organize Your Meals
When it comes to simplifying life, in general, one way to help save some time and effort is to invest in meal planning. If you have an easy and accessible plan for each meal, it allows you to eat quality food without having to invest in a culinary brainstorming session three times a day.
Once you’ve mastered the meal planning end of things, you may also want to consider adding in a day to create freezer meals, too. Choose several of your or your family’s favorite dishes, prepare them “en masse” and then freeze them. This way all you need to do is pull them out and microwave or heat them up in the oven.
Plan Cleaning Time
Similar to meal planning, another great way to reclaim time and avoid wasted effort is to implement a solid cleaning schedule. A cleaning schedule helps spread out hours of housework into bite-size segments throughout your week. It also has the added benefit of putting unavoidable things like house chores onto your radar on a regular basis, which can naturally help you avoid overbooking your schedule.
Convert with the Seasons
While it’s easy to use a simple “yea or nay” attitude with most decluttering, some things like seasonal decorations can provide a bit of a different challenge. You don’t want to keep them out all year, but you also don’t want to buy new ones on a regular basis, either. Once again, taking the time to plan out an actionable system to store seasonal items is key here. Every time a season ends, schedule time to properly put up new decorations and store the old ones neatly out of site.
Finally, maintain, maintain, maintain. When a person loses weight, often the greatest challenge comes once they’re done losing the pounds and they simply have to maintain. The thrill of having a goal and seeing results are gone and the dullness of humdrum reality sets in once again.
Living simply is very similar. While the initial push to get rid of things and clean up your spaces can be exhilarating, the true struggle comes once you’ve decluttered everything. Make sure to pause and consider each and every time you bring something new into your life.
In addition, keep your cleaning and meal schedules going strong and even consider adding a maintenance schedule for your appliances, furnaces, and systems such as plumbing and electrical.
Most importantly, though, make sure to continue to cultivate that minimalist mindset. Prioritize the things that matter and eschew every mindless, materialistic bit of filler that you can. If you can manage to both attain and then maintain a state of decluttered simplicity, chances are you’ll find that your entire life will improve dramatically, from mental health to physical exhaustion and everything in between.