My friend Lisa is moving after living in the same place for 25 years. She and her husband have spent the last several weeks packing and throwing things out.
"It's incredible," she said recently. "I don't know how we accumulated so much stuff. Most of these things haven't been looked at, let alone used, in years."
It made me look at how much I have accumulated, and it was a real eye-opener.
Before I got married, and even after I was newly married, I would move every few years. Moving always made me look at everything I own and decide if it was something I wanted to take with or not.
But the time has passed, and my husband and I have lived in the same place for 16 years. We raised two children here, and have accumulated their stuff as well.
Everyone keeps things for different reasons and some things for no reason at all.
I felt my house was in great shape, hardly any clutter at all. (Lisa had felt the same way.) But after speaking with Lisa, I took a critical look at my closet. I regularly donate clothes I no longer use, yet there is still a part of my closet dedicated to clothes I will never wear. They are outdated, don't fit, or both. Why am I keeping them?
I can say something similar about shoes, books, old CDs, toys, etc.
I keep things because "just in case," I keep others because I hope to one day use or wear them again. For many of the things I own, I honestly place no sentimental value on them at all. I have just forgotten about them, pushed them to the back of the closet, a drawer I never open, a shelf in the corner. They are my forgotten things.
It's time to make a change. I don't want to wait until I move to have to clean out the things in my life I don't use. Someone else may be able to use them now.
My closet is not the only place that needs decluttering and not the first place I will start with my decluttering project, but it was an eye-opener.
I have decided to focus on decluttering something every day. Some days I will focus on a large section of the house, and other days I may focus on one drawer.
My method for decluttering is simple. For each item, I ask several questions. Here are a few:
Do I still use or wear this?
How long has it been since I used or wore this?
Is this expired, out of date, or out of style?
Does this still fit?
Does this belong somewhere else in the house?
Would I buy this again today?
I typically won't have to ask each question of each item. Usually, the first two questions are enough. I use the last three when I find it hard to part with something I know I should.
For me, this isn't a one time process; it is a process that never ends. It requires focus, attention, and maintenance. It takes time and perseverance, but it is possible, and even the most disorganized person can create a simpler and easier life by focusing on decluttering their living space.
Photo credits: Pixabay