Declutter. It’s not about things

Editor’s note:

Declutter: It's not about the Things
Declutter: It’s not about the Things

Heather Shue has been a source of inspiration and focus as I’ve been working through the March Challenge to minimize the clutter at home.  Here’s a guest post sharing her perspective on the beauty of getting rid of all the s-t-u-f-f around the house.  Check out her blog SimplySaveMN, or shout out with Heather on Twitter or on Facebook.

It’s Not Just About Things

Decluttering isn’t just about having a tidier home; it goes much deeper than that. It’s a process and a journey and no two are the same.

It’s about time.

Declutter: It's about Time
Declutter: It’s about Time

Things involve maintenance and upkeep. Whether it’s as simple as replacing batteries or dusting around the knick knacks, this is time away from the people and things you love the most and that time adds up. I’m sure that you wouldn’t hesitate to agree that you value your loved ones and passion projects much more than knick knacks, so why do we give away so much of our time to the upkeep of things?  Time is finite. We all get the same amount of hours in a day and there’s nothing we can do to get any extra.

It’s about money.

Declutter: It's about Money
Declutter: It’s about Money

Sometimes we fall into this cycle of cleaning out the closet and selling the clothes, only to fill up the closet again with brand new clothes. That’s not the type of decluttering I’m talking about, but when you do declutter, you can sell many of your things and have some extra funds to put towards debt, holidays, or whatever your financial goals are.

You can sell books, movies, CDs, sports equipment, clothes, accessories, and more to consignment stores. Facebook garage sales, Craigslist, and NextDoor are other great places to sell things. Most local police department lobbies or parking lots serve as a safe place for these transactions.

You may not get a ton of money, but you’ll earn more than you would by letting the items continue to collect dust in your home. When you learn to be comfortable with less, you eventually want less, which saves you money in the long term.

It can sometimes be difficult to let go of things that we spent money on, especially things that haven’t been used or still have tags on them. But the truth is those are exactly the things you should get rid of. The money has already been spent, hanging on to the item won’t make it a good value, enjoying it and using it regularly will. If you haven’t used it within a few weeks of purchase, you likely never will. Let someone else get joy out of that item.

It’s about head space.

Declutter: It's about head space.
Declutter: It’s about head space.

Decision fatigue is a real thing. What seems small, like choosing what to wear or which new TV to buy, takes a little bit of your brain power each day. Multiply that by the countless small choices we make every day and that’s a lot of brain power used up in just our daily routine! No wonder we’re exhausted by the end of the day and just want to chill in front of the TV!

Eliminating clutter reduces decision fatigue. Even the smallest amount makes a huge difference, leaving you more brain power and head space to be present and engaged with your family.

It’s about acceptance.

Declutter: It's about Acceptance
Declutter: It’s about Acceptance

Although we may not realize it, we tend to buy many things because we think that we “should.” For example, the media and society tell us that when we have kids we need all these fancy things to be a good parent. Or when we buy a house, we should have a kitchen full of the latest gadgets and be ready to entertain guests at the drop of a hat. Well what if you don’t enjoy cooking or hosting parties?

We all have different values and interests; therefore, our possessions should be as unique as we are! There is no standard Parent or Homeowner checklist that we all have to follow. It’s ok to accept that you don’t enjoy cooking and that your child will be just as safe and happy without the latest popular toy.

The same philosophy applies to decluttering. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. You may choose to keep things that your best friend would part with. But I bet you each have different hobbies and priorities! You likely won’t keep the same things so don’t waste energy comparing. Use that energy to motivate and encourage!

Your self-worth is not defined by your possessions. Let go of “should” and the items that come with it.

It’s about joy!

Declutter: It's about Joy.
Declutter: It’s about Joy.

Decluttering is not about getting rid of things you love, it’s quite the opposite! When you eliminate the excess, you get to enjoy your most cherished possessions that much more! They’ve been there all along, but you can really see them when you get rid of things you kept out of obligation or because you thought you “should” have them. You may find yourself sitting on your couch, looking around, and smiling at your things as though you’ve only just discovered them.

A Real Life Example

Think about your morning routine: you stand in front of the full closet assessing your options and you might think to yourself, “What to wear? I really should wear that top I bought last year because it cost $30 and still has the tags on. It’s the latest fashion, but it’s just not that flattering on me. I have nothing to wear! I guess I’ll wear my old standby favorite outfit that I wore a few weeks ago.”

What a way to start your day! What if the feeling you get when you wear the old standby outfit that you love is how you felt in all of your clothes? Confident, comfortable, ready to start the day feeling great! Decluttering the closet covers many of the principles mentioned above:

  • You save time and brain power when you know you look good and feel good in everything in your closet. Easier choices equal less decision fatigue and more time being present with your family.
  • You made some cash by selling the clothes you got rid of and are a little closer to your financial goals!
  • You accept that you prefer some styles over others, regardless of the latest trend. You let go of “should” and save money by sticking with what you like and not following the trends.
  • You’re left with a closet of fewer clothes, but clothes that you like! You don’t feel the pressure to wear things only because you spent money on them. You no longer start your day with negative thoughts and low self-esteem about your image. You feel good and confident in everything you own!

It’s not just about the things.

Sure, when you declutter your house is tidier and it’s easier to find things, but that’s just the beginning! Decluttering is about much more than just the clutter. It’s a worthwhile process. Start small, work at your own pace, and don’t worry about what others are doing. You’ll be amazed at the impact it has in your life.

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