We’re getting to the end of the year so it’s about time to start thinking of New Year’s Resolutions!
A major one that should be on all of our lists is decluttering.
Most of us don’t realize how much stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. We get used to having a choice between ten different mugs to use every morning, ten different bags to carry, 100 pairs of shoes, etc. – and usually end up going with the same familiar option every day! Even seemingly small choices like these, when given too many options, can bog us down mentally and emotionally.
You might feel like, “oh my god – where do I even start?”
Make a plan. What cleaning supplies do you need? How long do you want to take on this project? Will you throw things out or donate? There is a good saying, “Fail to Plan, Plan To Fail.” Having a good plan takes much of the stress of decluttering.
Start making decluttering a habit. It’s said if you do something for thirty days straight it will become a habit. Start with one drawer or kitchen shelf. Create small but impactful rules, like “for every new purchase, one thing has to go” – this works especially well with clothes. Give yourself deadlines and rewards so you can have something to look forward to! Once you get into a groove and start to appreciate your space free of junk, it’ll be hard to stop!
Keep track of your habits. Sometimes a little soul searching can be helpful too. Ask yourself: How did the clutter get here in the first place? Am I collecting stuff for comfort? Do I really need this thing, and if I keep it what will I do with it?
Keep your choices to 3 or 4. When it comes to things like shoes, clothes or bags, keep the option list SHORT. You’ll be surprised at the weight that comes off your shoulders. If you can manage to part with them, try to give away the rest. If you can’t, box it!
Boxing. At the end of your decluttering, put the items you can’t bear to part with in a nice box, tape the box closed and stash it away. Put a reminder in your calendar for 12 months from the date of stashing your box. If you have not even looked at it in 12 months, toss it.
Donate. You can check online for places to donate. Goodwill is great and will even take boxes out of your car when you drive up. If you are a major collector of stuff like me, it may be a good idea to talk to a Junk Man – yes, they still exist! There are many doing business all around the country, or you can get a referral from your friendly neighborhood Realtor. They will come in and carry away everything you want gone. Most will also donate and recycle whatever they can!
When you finish, make sure to congratulate yourself! Your house may not be ready to be in a magazine, but it will be so much more comfortable and livable.
Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago