5 Ways to declutter your life


Here’s a question for ya: is your home calming and relaxing when you return home from a stressful day or does the stack of unread mail, messy closet and pile of shoes kinda sorta get to you?  If you answered that your home does indeed calm your mind, good on you!  Now go enjoy, this post is not for you.  For the rest of us, let’s try to make some moves in the right direction here… 

I have long been on a mission to make my home a personal mini retreat, a place where I can enjoy friends and family, meditate peacefully without distractions (yeah right), and never have anything to be embarrassed about when guests drop by unannounced.  I just love me a cozy, comfortable, clean home where my mind can rest. With that being said, boy has that been an ongoing struggle.  You know that hamster wheel feeling?  Yeah, I know you do. 

The reality is that most of us are busy, I mean really busy, and we can easily get behind in the mundane chores that keep our homes pleasant.  When we don’t take the time to give each item it’s own place, things start to build and before we know it our entire Sunday (when we should be drinking mimosas) is consumed with putting things back in order from the hectic week!

I recently read a book that changed everything for me.  It’s called “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.  

This book resonated like crazy with me and everything made such perfect sense.  I took it head on and started digging into my closet – yikes!  I must tell you, this is a mindset change, not a mere method to “clean up”.   I feel that whenever we want lasting change in our lives we must analyze our thoughts and actions to make the shift.  Now let me warn you, this book is not for everyone.  It has some interesting spiritual undertones that I personally enjoyed but might be off-putting to others.  Luckily for you, you don’t have to read the book to reap some of the bennies, although if you want to, I would recommend it. 

The goal here is to only surround yourself with things that truly bring you joy.  Imagine opening your closet to just the right amount of clothing and loving each piece.  This reminds me of walking into one of those really great clothing stores that only have a few items on the rack but you love each thing on it.  What a good feeling!  Now, of course you need a pair of scissors, they probably don’t bring you joy (but maybe).  With these types of necessity items, make sure that you only have what you need and it works well.  This means that you probably only need one pair of scissors, not five. 

Below, I have listed 5 tips for de-cluttering your space and creating order to your life.  Some come directly from Marie Kondo’s book, others I have learned throughout this process.  

1.  Make the time. 

     There are many recommendations out there promoting “a little at a time”.  I’ve tried this and it’s hogwash.  If you want to make a real change, buckle down and do it.  This is something that you should only have to do once so seriously, make the time.  Dedicate a weekend or maybe a couple of those extra holiday days you will be getting off from work.  Now you will likely need more than a few days to clear years of accumulated unnecessary items so know that this process could take months.  I know we aren’t going to quit our jobs to de-clutter our houses; the next tips will help you there.  Bottom line: commit.  If you’re not ready, don’t start. 

2.  Group items.

    Going through you’re entire house in a short period of time will absolutely seem daunting.  The key here is to group items.  Start with clothing because it’s usually the easiest for most people.  Gather ALL of your clothing into one area on the floor of your house.  Go to the hall closets, sweatshirts draped over chairs, and shoes by the door, etc.  Leave nothing behind.  You want to see everything you have in each category in one place.  Knowing what you have will help you understand what you need and what you don’t.   Subcategories are helpful as well.  A subcategory of clothing might be sweaters, shoes, purses, (you get the idea).  

From clothing, move on to other categories you create such as toiletries, kitchen items, books etc.  Leave sentimental items and photos to be done last.  These are the most challenging things for most people to part with and if you start here, you could easily get discouraged.  So tackle the easy stuff first.  

3.  Hold each item and ask yourself “Does this bring me joy?”.

    This is key.  Obviously there are some things you won’t have a problem parting with and those items may not require this step.  With everything else, do this.  You will know right away just by the way it makes you feel.  This is one of Marie Kondo’s big steps from her book.  She talks about thanking each item for providing whatever it did for you and releasing it.  Whether there is something to that or not, it definitely made me feel better getting rid of things I have been hanging on to for years. 

4.  Don’t put anything away until you are completely done discarding.

    This is so important.  If you start putting things away before you have completely finished discarding (for each group of items) you won’t be able to make clear decisions on what to keep and what to discard.  You need to see it all in one place. 

5.  Consider each item you bring home. 

    Now that we’ve got our sh*t together and we’re done buying things we truly don’t need, we should be thinking about each item we agree to bring home.  

Where does this thing go?  Do I already have one of these?  If so, should this be a replacement?  Does this make me happy?

Remember, this is a process.  It may even stir up some emotions and that’s ok!  Once you are done, you will feel like weight has been lifted from you, in fact you may even lose some physical weight – it has been known to happen!  

I hope this serves you well friends!

By: Lindsey Lock 

Modern Holistic Wellness Coach