It’s the end of the year. A time for reflecting on the last twelve months, and a time to make resolutions and look forward to new things ahead. A great way, we find, of starting off the year is by decluttering and reorganizing your home or personal space, but what to do with all the things we no longer need or want?
Here are some tips!
The importance of decluttering
Decluttering seems to have been a big theme of 2019, with many crediting Japanese expert Marie Kondo and her ‘The KonMari Method™’ in which she encourages people to only keep things that ‘spark joy’. Her process includes going through all of your belongings one category at a time (Clothing, Books, Papers, Komono - Miscellaneous, and Sentimental), keeping only what “Sparks Joy” and designating a home for each item. Around 11 million people have bought her book, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’, and millions more have tuned in to watch her in action on Netflix, but does decluttering your home really make such a big difference to your life? Apparently it really does! Research carried out by Stephanie McMains and Sabine Kastner, psychologists at Princeton University, found that clutter can reduce our ability to focus on a task. Not only that but, a cluttered environment can also make it harder for people to fall asleep, as well as making us more inclined to reach for junk food. Another study, this time by psychologists Rena Repetti and Darby Saxby at University of California, Los Angeles, came to the conclusion that full, cluttered, surroundings can lead to anxiety and stress.
Start 2020 on the right foot
So, now that we know that decluttering does have positive impact on our mental and physical health, as it leaves us invigorated and satisfied, how do we go about it in order to start 2020 on the right foot?
Social worker and professional organizer Patty Morrissey, believes that when you surround yourself with things that speak to where you've been instead of where you're going, it can create the same blocks that a pile of clothes or cabinet crammed with knickknacks would. So, the first things Morrissey recommends is to "always starts with some kind of visioning or goal setting,” to understand where you’re headed and what you want to accomplish. Do you want to lead a more sustainable lifestyle and cut out plastic items? Do you want to have more space and get rid of unneeded furniture or items that are just in the way? Do you want to free your closet of clothes you no longer wear and focus on buying less and choosing better quality items? Once you have a clear picture, then it will be easier to know what you want to keep and bring with you to the next chapter.
It doesn’t have to happen overnight
It doesn’t matter if you decide to follow a specific decluttering method, or if you just go ahead and start sorting out things without a clear objective in mind, the important thing is don’t rush it. Don’t just start piling up things you no longer want or labeling boxes with the word ‘Trash’. You no longer have a use for it? Great, but someone else might!
Decluttering doesn’t have to be a quick and immediate thing. Take your time and think about what you’re doing and where does items are going.
If you start decluttering your bathroom and are surprised to discover that you’re a bit of a hoarder for beauty products because you have far too many bottles or lotions in your bathroom cabinet, don’t just make a selection and throw the rest out. Make the conscious decision to finish all the products you have before testing out new ones. It may take a while, and your cabinet may still look messy and cluttered for a while, but look at the long term picture: you’ve decluttered without wasting content.
There is no ‘away’
We have said this numerous times on our social media posts, there is no ‘away’, just because something is no longer in your home, it doesn’t mean it no longer exists somewhere else out there. Your mission when decluttering should be repurposing those items you longer want or need, and redirecting them to someone who does. Have a decluttering party and ask your friends and family if there’s anything you no longer need that they could give a loving home too. Have a garage sale and let your neighbors in on the action, or take pictures and try selling them online. You know what they say, ‘one man's trash is another man's treasure’, so try different solutions before putting unwanted stuff in the bin!
Our advice when decluttering and deciding what to do, is to sort the items you want to get rid of in categories, this way it will be easier to know where to take them. Charities such as Goodwill for example, will be more than happy to receive certain items, but they themselves wouldn’t have a need for other things, and will therefore be forced to have to deal with your unwanted items.
Things like unopened lotions or candles that were gifted to you and of which you have no need can be taken to a nursing home, blankets that are still in good condition could be taken to shelters, textbooks or test preparation materials can go to a library or to your local high school. Run down clothes that can no longer be worn can be transformed into something else by textile recyclers or certain items, such as worn out towels, could be useful to animal shelters.
Don’t overload different categories of items to one single charity because you won’t be doing them or the planet a favor. Save them the trouble, and avoid those items ending up in landfill, by taking your time to research places where those objects are needed, or where they can be transformed and repurposed into something new and useful.
If you yourself are creative, or if you have family and friends who like DIY projects and are good at giving new life to objects, ask them for advice on what to do or where to take pieces of furniture or other unwanted things. Maybe they need them themselves, or know someone who does.
To a more conscious 2020!
Decluttering and reorganizing your home is not only a great way to declutter and tidy up, it’s also a great way to re-accustome yourself with what you already have in order to make better, more conscious choices in 2020. It’s not uncommon for people to find themselves purchasing items they may already have, only to realize they already had it but had merely misplaced it.
Will you be kicking off 2020 by getting rid of some of your clutter? Let us know in a comment!