I have always been Team Clutter-Free. I’m notorious for giving away everything that doesn’t serve a purpose, or takes up space. For years I wrote it off as being unsentimental but only recently have I seen the direct parallel between clutter and stress. And that goes beyond just my home. In the past 5 years, I’ve downsized twice, given up a corporate lifestyle for one that more aligns with my values, and generally tried to live a more minimalist lifestyle. Not surprisingly, I feel much better.
Once you’ve found a process for letting go, you can release anything not supporting you. Maybe owning less feels better, despite all the marketing messages. Maybe you can trust your inner sense of “enough.”
My initial decluttering snowballed into letting go of about 75% of my things. At first, I felt worried about not having everything I needed. But the physical, mental, and emotional space felt fantastic. And I’ve found that the best way to enjoy your favorite things is to only have your favorite things. So those 4 dresses I love so much? Yes, in a solid rotation and get worn every single week. Talk about sparking joy.
And that’s the first step.
1. Go through your items. Do they “spark joy”? And what that means is what is the emotional response to each item? Is it because it brings up a certain memory or person or feeling?
2. Next, have you used it in the last 6 months? I know most of us live in seasonal environments and that question is not all encompassing. But it works for a variety of things other than sweaters. Skincare, kitchen gadgets, shoes, tools, its a long list and I know you have a junk drawer that contains most of these things. Find them new homes plz.
3. Would you repurchase? This is a good way of realizing how much you really want/need something in your space.
4. Would a picture of it suffice? Knowing the item is not the memory helped a lot with letting go of sentimental items. Old stuffed animals, gifts I wasn’t using, or other non-favorite memory-based things took up physical and emotional space. You might start small with this one: take a photo of something and see how often you go back to look at the image.
And remember you’re not completely letting go but instead holding on to the things that really matter — and making room for new experiences and memories along the way. Have you started simplifying yet? How’s it going? Any surprising challenges?