Jan 22, 2019

Take Control of Your House: What is Holding You Back from Decluttering

Take Control of Your House: What is Holding You Back from Decluttering
I don't have the time to declutter right now.  What if I need that in the future?  My house is too small to be organized.  

Kids bring so much clutter; when my kids grow up THEN I will organize my house and get rid of so much.  My spouse doesn't want to get rid of anything, so why try to declutter.  Yeah, decluttering sounds so nice, but I am so overwhelmed with the thought. 

My kids won't let me declutter; as soon as I start they mess everything up.  I start decluttering and then I get a mental block because I have no idea what to get rid of and what to keep.  My kids make so many art projects and they are all cute how do I not keep them all.  I have no idea where to start when it comes to paper clutter; every single day I get mail, school paper, and papers from  my community. 

Do any of these things sound familiar?  Are any of these reasons the reason you haven't started decluttering?  When I started my decluttering challenge I asked all my readers/followers what was holding them back from decluttering their house and these were the answers I got.  

I am going to address them one-by-one.  I want to help you get past the mental block of each and every one of these things.  I want you to be able to say, "I took control of my house!" 

Some of these links contain affiliate links which means if you purchase after clicking on the link I will receive a very small commission.  I wholeheartedly recommend these items and commission would never sway me to recommend something I could not stand behind.

Take Control of Your House: What is Holding You Back from Decluttering
Lack of time
I TOTALLY GET IT! I would say this was my number one thing that held me back for so many years. That is exactly why I made it a top priority in 2018. I wanted to completely go top to bottom  on tidying my house. In the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up the author (Marie Kondo) says that the best way to not have a rebound or in other words to keep your house tidy is to do it all in one swoop.

Now obviously we can't do it in one day. That is impossible. However, she said making sure it is under 6 months is crucial. That is exactly why we are completing this challenge in 6 months.

So back to the issue with time. The number one thing is to make this a top priority. Now I'm not saying to neglect your family, but there might be some things that you will have to "give up" because you want this so badly. I want you to envision how you will feel in your home once it is tidy and full of only those things that bring you joy.

That is my first tip. If this is really something you want to do then you will need to make it a top priority. When I did this challenge myself I would make sure to schedule times out of my day to declutter. In the same book Marie has done research after research and has found that early morning is the best time to declutter. She has said that if you do it early then you typically can do twice as much in the same amount of time. I believe it.  I tried it morning, afternoon, and night and mornings were my most productive.  And I am NOT a morning person.

Fear of getting rid of something you may need in the future

Honestly, I think the root of this fear is close to the root of clinging on to the past (or sentimental things).

The biggest piece of advice I have for this is to really only keep those things that make you happy (or as Marie Kondo puts it "brings you joy") and that you need right now. If you have those things then you won't be remorseful of getting rid of something. All you will see is that you have been surrounded by things that you didn't need. However, if you use it or have used it in the recent past then don't get rid of it. Also, make sure you aren't getting rid of something that isn't truly yours. For instance, if your spouse uses it, but you don't then you shouldn't get rid of it.

Take Control of Your House: What is Holding You Back from Decluttering
The more I have read and reread and looked into studies on organization and decluttering (yes I have done that) the more I realize that space is usually not the issue. Now I say that and know that you might be shaking your head at me. I promise I was shaking my head too. But hear me out, we can all fill bigger houses. That is the main reason why I don't want a big house. I don't want to accumulate more things. Things can weigh me down.

I have a friend named Kelsey Nixon (That's her TV name at least and I'm sure some of you have heard of her). She has lived in NYC for many years and she is an amazing chef/cook/TV personality. Well as many of you know NYC apartments aren't huge. Yet she had amazing products that were multi-functional and she could cook gourmet meals out of a small kitchen space.

I want to share with you something from Marie Kondo's book that I completely believe and know is true.
"I can't count how many times people have complained to me that they don't have enough room, but I have yet to see a house that lacked sufficient storage. The real problem is that we have far more than we need or want. Once you learn to choose your belongings properly, you will be left only with the amount that fits perfectly in the space you currently own. This is the true magic of tidying. It may seem incredible, but my method of keeping only what sparks joy in the heart is really that precise. This is why you must begin by discarding."

I have tried decluttering two ways: putting away as you discard or waiting to put everything away until you are completely done discarding a certain category of clutter.  I can tell you that you will keep WAY MORE than you WANT to if you store before you completely discard.

Take Control of Your House: What is Holding You Back from Decluttering

By this I mean you worry that if you start decluttering they will completely ruin the rest of your house. OR once you declutter it then they ruin it faster than you can put it away.

I laugh at this because this is so real. It is so messy to declutter and seriously kids love making messy things even more messy. It is a natural gift for every kid.

That is why I think it is important to do before your kids wake up. Another tip is possibly doing it after they go to bed. If you do this then most of your house can be decluttered without kids around. YES you will have to sacrifice your "you time", but think of how amazing it will feel once you are completed. It isn't forever. You won't have as much on your plate once this is done either, because you will have less stuff to clean up.

However, you still have to declutter their room(s). So when it comes time for that do "quiet time". I do this with my girls once or twice a day depending on the day. During this time I can do whatever I want. They have to do something quiet. This might be playing with some select toys, or coloring, or reading. I let them pick, but they have time to decompress and I have time to get stuff done. If you have to resort to the TV/screen then do it. It won't be forever, just when you are decluttering their room. If they are old enough then get them involved in the process!

Take Control of Your House: What is Holding You Back from Decluttering
I actually find this funny because seriously marriage has so many challenges. Some small and some big. This one can be so frustrating though.

My number one tip is to not push your spouse. AND DON'T THROW OUT ANYTHING THAT IS THERE'S. That is a recipe for disaster.

Do you want to hear a story? This decluttering project had been on my mind for at least a year before I decided to actually do it.  About six months before that I heard about something called a 25 piece wardrobe. I was so interested in seeing if that was something that could work for me. So I tried it out. I have tried and perfected it and now I have a 36 piece wardrobe. Yes I get full on jaws dropping when I tell people that, but it is something that I wanted to give an honest shot.

At first my husband did not think it was possible. I didn't really say anything, but he noticed how now I buy with purpose. I now have inspired him to reduce his wardrobe. The reason I am telling you this is because this happens a lot.

People who are around you will notice how the things you do affect you. If you are at peace with the things in your life and you have been able to rid yourself of some things then they may follow. I doubt it will be immediately, BUT it will probably happen.

Now lets say it doesn't...that is ok too. You need to feel good about what you got rid of and how you have tidied the house. Ask your spouse if there is a place that you can put their things so that you can feel at home (if it is too overwhelming). However, I can almost guarantee that if you get rid of the things that weigh YOU down then you won't be bothered by their stuff as much. It is strange, but you need to trust me on this.

Take Control of Your House: What is Holding You Back from Decluttering
This is real life.  My office was a JOKE.  I am a clean freak and I could never get in control of my office.  Do you want to know why?  I had too much stuff.  Seriously I got rid of 75% of the stuff in my office/craft room.  This picture is only one of 3 of my before pictures.  It was so bad and so embarrassing.

Feeling overwhelmed or not knowing where to start

That is exactly what I am hoping this challenge will help alleviate. I'm not saying it will completely take it away, but I am hoping to help you with the process. Essentially I am hoping this "game plan" will help take the overwhelming feeling at least down a few notches.

I plan on there being bits of overwhelming times, but hopefully this can make it more manageable.

Take Control of Your House: What is Holding You Back from Decluttering

Kid's clothes and toys
This is what I do to keep things under control in the kid's department. If I HATE it then I usually can toss it and my kids don't care. If they love it then I tend to not hate it. So it kind of goes hand in hand.

When it comes to toys I always watch to see what things aren't being played with. Then I ask my girls if we can get rid of it. Another good option is to pick 5 toys (I like to do this for each of my girls. Since I have 2 girls then this ends up being 10 toys) that I don't like and that aren't used often (if at all). Then let them pick 1 that they can keep. That way they have power and it shows them how little they play with them and that there is less mess and they can enjoy the toys they love more.

I basically do the same thing with clothes. I also buy with purpose. I don't have them own 5 coats each (or really 5 of any of the same thing). Each piece of clothing serves a purpose. If they hate wearing something then I get rid of it even if I love it. It's not worth the fight.

Knowing what to get rid of

In this challenge you will take EVERY SINGLE ITEM into consideration. No matter how small. And if it doesn't make you happy/bring you joy you will get rid of it. This can't work for every single thing, like medicine isn't something that brings you joy, but it is a necessity and those you will keep to a minimum.

Take Control of Your House: What is Holding You Back from Decluttering
Kid's artwork
Here are two options you could do when it comes to kid's artwork:

-Let them choose 4-12 projects a year and keep it in a file folder for that year along with other important documents
-Start a kid's artwork Instagram account for the sole purpose to attach it to Chatbooks.  Then post pictures of the artwork with a caption describing it as they come in.  Then once you hit 60 pictures Chatbooks will send you a picture along with the captions.  I would be selective of the things you take pictures of or this could get out of hand.  Also, maybe keep a few originals that are extra special. 

Paper clutter
Do you want to hear something shocking, but at the same time not surprising at all? In Marie Kondo's book she said that the minimum amount of paper her clients have thrown out when tidying up is 2 45-liter bags. Then she said the maximum so far is 15 of those bags! 15! That is nuts, but if you think of ALL THE PAPER in your house you might start nodding your head. 

I really don't love paper clutter. It is one of those things that can creep up on you really fast. I came up with a system that works wonders for me and keeps my papers in check. 

I have a stand up magazine box (from Ikea) that sits on my kitchen counter. I stick anything throughout the week in there. When it comes to mail I quickly glance at it and throw away anything immediately that I know I don't need. Then I stick anything in there that I know I have longer than a week to get to (if I have less than 1 week then I take care of it right away). Once a week I empty that box.  I actually schedule this time into my schedule because then it actually happens. I also clean out my purse/wallet/diaper bag at the same time. 

Then when I store any papers I really think if I am going to NEED that document in the future. I keep VERY LITTLE paperwork. Obviously, I will always need SSN's, insurance documents, leases, mortgage docs, and stuff like that. But I go through this often. I keep my tax forms for 7 years then I shred. I keep warranties until they are up then I toss them. That way I don't have filing cabinet on top of filing cabinet in my house.  I actually have a one drawer filing cabinet.  When I started this challenge I had 3 drawers! 

Take control of your house now and get past what is holding you back from decluttering.

Other posts in this series

Storage tips

Some other links you will find helpful

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