A couple of months ago I decided to let go of stuff. And by stuff I mean in the greater sense. I want to get rid of worthless emotions like jealousy, anger, and regret. I am aware that these emotions can protect us at certain times in our lives. I, however, no longer need them. These emotions have led me to hoard things. Not in the kind of hoarding that would get me on a TV show and make people scared to come into my house, but bad enough that I literally had boxes full of receipts from the time I got my first job. Like, what if I needed a receipt from when I bought a slice of pie at Big Boy 17 years ago?!?
I have 6 hanging shoe organizers stuffed full of shoes on both sides. Beautiful stilettos, heeled black velvet boots, bright Barbie-pinks and glitter galore. Do you know what I wear now, with 3 kids in tow, PTA meetings, and post office-esqe errands? Basic tall brown boots or black sketcher flats with memory foam so my knees don’t hurt by the end of the day. Do I need to keep 80 some pairs of high heels that are never going to see the sun on my feet again? No.
After stuffing my nose in about 5 different books and learning all the styles of tidying and decluttering books I have gained my own way of decluttering. It has helped me to let go of things that I wouldn’t have been able to before.
Because of the way I grew up, I had very little control of the things I wanted to keep or hold onto. When I became independent around 16, I kept everything. I finally was on my own and nobody could tell me I couldn’t keep everything I got my hands on. Now that I’m in my 30s I want a simpler life. I don’t want to spend all my time cleaning. I want to focus more attention on my business and on my kids who need me.
Sometimes it’s things in your life, your home, and your mind, that hold you back from living your best life. Let go of the stuff to make room for the things that you value the most.
Here are my 5 tips for letting things go and making room in your life for the things that matter for you.
1. Focus on one thing at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed. Instead of looking at all the things you have in general, look at the number of individual things you have. Open a drawer in your bathroom. Do you have 10 eye shadows? Do you only use 2 and feel bad that you don’t wear that bright blue Drew Carey Mimi shade? Throw it away! Don’t feel guilty about it. Just toss it so you don’t have to look at it every day and feel guilty. Throw it out and don’t look back.
It helps to gather all the things you have of an certain item and pick out the ones you favor and use most frequently. For example, grab all the sheet sets you own, put them on your bed, and look at them. Is your bed covered in sheets now? Why? You probably use the same 1 or 2 sets right? Get rid of the rest. It will free up space in your cupboard and force you to wash them right away and decrease the amount of dirty laundry possible.
Do this for all your things. Tell yourself why you don’t need it, that you won’t have to wash it if you don’t have it and it’s 1 less thing that you have to keep around.
2. Get your kids and spouse involved. Ask your kids to go through all their toys and pick out the things that they no longer like, play with, or are broken/need batteries. Try not to question the things they pick out. Unless the things they want to donate are not theirs or you literally see them play with the item every day. If this is the case ask them something like, ‘What is it you don’t like about this one? I think I just saw you playing with it.’ This will allow them to think about the item without them feeling guilty for wanting to get rid of it. Asking your kids to be a part of the decluttering process will teach them valuable lessons about the things they value and not holding on to things they don’t need or want.
Give a job to your hubby or wife. If he is the main cook in the house ask them to go through the pots and pans, utensil drawer, or the spice cabinet to get rid of things that are unused duplicates or old things that are no longer used and are wasting space. When you empty a drawer or cabinet to go through the things, give it a good wiping while you’re at it. You will be amazed at all the little things that actually take up alot of space in your home.
3. Let go of the guilt. It doesn’t matter if your aunt got you that fuzzy red scart for Christmas 8 years ago. If you don’t like it and have literally never worn it, or wanted to, donate it. There might be a super cute, tiny old lady at Salvation Army looking for that scarf. Just because someone gave something to you does not obligate you in any way to keep it. Gifts are just that. A gift. To You. That means it’s yours to decide to keep or not. Guilt is a terrible reason to keep something you don’t need or want. Life is too short for that shit.
4. Does the item give value to your life? Make a list of the 5 things you value most in your life. Mine are Kids, Husband, Family, Comfort, and doing things that make me happy like reading or writing, and crafting. When I’m holding something in my hands now and deciding on whether or not to keep it I think about my value list. Does this pair of red high heel shoes give me more time with my kids? Does it give me comfort? Does it give me more time to read? Have I worn it in the last 5 years and will I realistically wear it again? No. Gone. Let some 20 something enjoy it with all her time and no kids. Haha. just joking. Sort of.
5. Enjoy the decluttering Process. You are a grown ass adult and you are doing it because you want to and you need room for a better and less stressed life.
If you don’t have a billion clothes items in your home, you won’t have a billion things of laundry to wash. If you don’t have a bunch of knick knacky things on your shelves then you won’t have to dust so much. When you are deciding on getting rid of something, make sure you appreciate all the time and energy you will gain from not having it. When you focus on the positive of not having something you can let go of the useless guilt that hangs on to it.
Keep it simple. Keep only what you cherish and use. If it doesn’t add value to your life it is wasting your time and space.
Decluttering is more than just donating a bunch of stuff you don’t need. When you clear clutter from your home, you clear clutter from your heart and mind. Make room for new ideas and thoughts by clearing the clutter. Love your life and not the things.