So you know you have to declutter. Your place may not look as bad as the photo — YMMV — but you want to downsize and declutter. Where to begin? With a list!
No, don’t grab yet another piece of paper and start writing — the nice people at Life Edited have made a list for you already.
When do you begin the process of decluttering? Now.
1. Don’t wait for a good time to start.
We’ve all been done in by those “tomorrow” promises. Start now. Throw one piece of paper into the recycling bin. Clean out the bottom of your purse — or the fridge — or your top drawer. You’re starting a new way of life. You can ease into it. But start now.
2. Get rid of stuff you are very attached to, but don’t worry, it gets easy with practice.
No matter where you begin, sooner or later you will run across something that has value to you — even though you don’t need it. I remember a lovely old chair we had. Naturally, it had been given to us by a friend. I hated getting rid of it, so I persuaded my daughter to take it. Now when I see it in her basement I cringe. I should have just given it away to a charity. I am used to giving those things away now. It still bothers me, but less and less. And once it’s gone, believe me, it’s “out of sight, out of mind” — you won’t even think about it any more until you see a picture of it — if it was important to you it will be in the pictures you have of your home.
3. Don’t wait for the right home to start downsizing.
I should have started de-cluttering months, even years, before I did. But I had the room for all the stuff, in the corner of a closet, in the storage room, in the junk drawer. It would have improved my life, but only one thing got me to part with all that
4. Moving is the best way of getting rid of stuff.
There is nothing, NOTHING, like moving into a space less than half the size you are currently inhabiting to make you start decluttering. As you start to pack up your belongings you realize how ridiculous it is to move a box of magazines you never even looked at. Or an old, cheap, broken camera. It’s not something you can do all the time, but moving is a great motivator.
5. Don’t wait for the support of friends and family to start making changes.
I remember visiting a little summer house of a friend. It was absolutely packed with photos, knick knacks, doo-dads, thingamajigs. It looked charming, she really had a knack of editing and curating. I do not have a knack. A room packed with my stuff looks like a room packed with crap — no matter how much it cost. And I’ve visited houses that looked like that — with too many things crowding the shelves. The people who live in those houses are not going to be supportive of you giving away your pictures and ornaments. “You can keep that!” they’ll say. “You don’t have too many (insert item).” So don’t announce to those people that you are downsizing. Just do it.
Do it one step at a time, one item at a time. But do it.