One day several years ago, my kids were tiny and all over the place. During one of those days when the stars aligned and they both took a long nap, I started in on a decluttering project. I was working in our extra room which has been everything from homeschool room, office, guest bedroom, etc. I had been feeling good, working without distractions and some feel good music carrying me along.
I had several piles–the keepers, the trash/recycle, and the things I wanted to get rid of. In the midst of what was a seemingly productive afternoon. I hit a mental wall. I was focused on minimizing and knew what I wanted to end result, but there I sat amidst piles of papers and kid crafts and mementos and found myself not knowing what to do next.
The process of decluttering can seem daunting. We get all excited and motivated reading blogs or books, but when we dive into our project we may stop before finishing it. There could be many reasons for that, but often times I think because we don’t have a process in place, we can get stuck in the steps. Knowing what to do next, can go a long way in moving us along to the results we want – minimized stuff, organized belongings we keep, and an easier household.
That afternoon, I left my piles scattered and closed the door praying my kids wouldn’t go in and pilfer through all the things. I sought out a book I had read not long before that had so much good detail about the process. Francine Jay’s The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify (Updated and Revised) helped me many times during those first decluttering sessions and much of my process pulls from hers and other’s helpful advice as well found on countless blogs and books.
What I’ve put together is 5 steps to decluttering any area. In the coming days I’ll add a separate blog post for each step to go into more detail of how to complete it and what setbacks or obstacles you may find along the way. But in short here are the 5 steps:
Written down as bullet point it seems simple enough, but as I mentioned, any of us can get bogged down in one step or another. Knowing the steps and what to move onto can be extremely useful in finishing strong and meeting your goals.
As for my the ending to my stuck-in-the-process-decluttering story, I took the advice I found from books and blogs and soon had an enormous pile of minimized items in our garage. With every box and bag that I shed from our home, our lives became lighter and fuller–fuller of the things that mattered most to us, like better time together as a family, focus and energy to pursue interests, and hearts more content and no longer running the rat race just to collect stuff.
“A home with fewer possessions is: more spacious, more calming, & more focused on the people who live inside it.” -Joshua Becker