Motivation to declutter

Thursday, February 24, 2022

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Every now and then, we all need a little encouragement to keep working on our homes. I have three practical words of advice to give you.  

The more I declutter, the easier life becomes. I started my decluttering journey 11 years ago when we moved to Texas. My journey started with frustration. Managing my bounty took a long time. I didn’t understand how I could not be magically organized. My husband wisely told me I lacked a system. My search started out of frustration. As I look back to where I started, I see that life became easier. The other day, I was decluttering my linen closet. Over the past year, I made several attempts to keep it decluttered. I didn’t succeed much. The thing was, the principles of decluttering I practiced were in place. Those principles allowed me to start and finish that project in 1 hour or so. I was happy, proud, amazed. The thing is, I should not have been. I’ve been working on the same decluttering principles for a while. The fruit is, life became easier. 

Repetition is the mother of all decluttering. Once I found a good system, I learned that I had to keep using it over and over again. Truly, repetition is the mother of all decluttering. Once I made peace with repetition, I was able to succeed constantly. I also made peace with the fact that my home is the type of place we use. We read books and we misplace them. We use pillows and covers. Kids can build forts. Adults can arrive from a long day and throw their clothes aside if they so choose. We are going to use this home to its fullest. It also means that I will have to declutter it all over again. If repetition is the mother of all decluttering, it is also the father of all organizing, the sister of all donating, the brother of all recycling (haha!), and the cousin of all tossing out. One aspect of being a family that is not glamorized is routine. We all have one. We all embrace it because it makes us who we are in this season. Likewise, embracing my chosen routine helps me to be successful. 

Seek ye first decluttering and everything else shall be added unto you. Before I clean, I declutter. Even if I don’t have an entire 45 minutes to work with. If my time is limited I can quickly put things where they are supposed to be. I can go for that visual impact and make a mental note to do a deep declutter later. Once I accomplish the decluttering goal, no matter how great or small, I clean. I find the habit of putting decluttering before cleaning to be better than the opposite. Sure, it might be a matter of preference. I prefer to be completely done with a room once I mop it. I do not want to go back and set it (or reset it). 

I am here to encourage you to put a little time into decluttering your spaces. Decluttering is something everyone can do, no matter how little time you have. If you work full-time or if you stay at home, you can declutter. You can always start small. 

A few months ago, my home felt a bit out of order. Yes, I was taking care of the dishes. You know the linen closet remained shut because I only got to it recently. I looked around my bedroom. The floor was picked up. The table on the side of my bed… uninspiring. There was too much stuff on top of it. My drawers could use some love. I spent 15 minutes decluttering. I only put a few items by my lamp: a vase for flowers. A ceramic jewelry tray I inherited from my late grandmother. I donated most of the clothes I stored in the drawers. I use the drawers to add my journals. I love to write before going to sleep so now they had a designated space. I smiled when I saw the finished product. A small project with great results.

So, now is your chance. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. You will thank yourself later.