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Of all the ways to invite hope and sanity into my life, especially during the busy season when I barely have time to ponder life in the bathroom, simple ways to declutter is cathartic.
Taking items like an old picture frame, unused mixing container, or questionable pair of post-Color Run white shorts, and instead of cleaning, storing, and forgetting, I’m disposing or donating.
A simple life doesn’t start simple. I had to craft it by making good decluttering choices.
31 Different Ways
Decluttering is a practice like meditation, yoga, and getting to work on time. Some days the practice is easy, some days it’s easier to practice pumpkin rolling on the beach, but I find these areas need frequent practice and patience.
- Sift through the mail pile and recycle junk mail (pro tip: calling and removing my name from mailing lists gives space and grace to future me and my mailman too)
- Clear out purse hitchhikers
- Question knickknacks. I don’t need stuff as a reminder of happy memories, that’s what photos are for
- Pens, markers, and office supplies that overflow the junk drawer are goodies for every nonprofit
- Books should be stored at the library, not on my shelf
- Clothes are loved or left in a donation pile
- Water bottles breed like rabbits, downsize to thrive
- Declutter old hobbies like scrapbook paper, ribbons, and pretty tags (someone else will love it more than my reluctance to use it)
- Shred and recycle filing cabinets bursting with old bills, contracts, and expired insurance
- Toss tops and bottoms of broken or missing storage containers from foodstuff to storage stuff
- Cull expired pills and potions from the medicine cupboard
- Clear the clutter in the car (the glove box and trunk are frequent hiding spots)
- Remove some layers from the fridge display (magnets, coupons, and reminders)
- Declutter the digital desktop
- Unlike life, condiments have a lifespan with an expiration date. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Delete unused apps (if I need it, I can download it again)
- Cull digital photos (the fewer photos I have, the more likely I will browse them)
- Inbox zero is a thing and its magical
- Recycle magazines and catalogs
- Old electronics like to hide in storage bins but their better off recycled or resold
- Discard unused recipes
- Ditch expired spices that are taking up valuable cupboard space
- Question duplicate kitchen tools
- Interrogate items in hiding spots, including under the steps and guest closets (clutter lurks there)
- The laundry room rarely holds only laundry
- Hoarding tiny toiletries is cute when confined to one container, not the closet
- Beware the clutter creep at work. A desk is friendlier when cleared instead of chaotic
- Canned goods can expire and frequently do (check, eat, repeat)
- Flowers are rare events, unlike flower vases in the cupboard
- Declutter the jewelry box. Just because it can be stored doesn’t mean it should be
- If I feel sad, angry, or guilty about something, it has to go. (Stuff shouldn’t be a justification for medication)
Decluttering is automating easy.
When I have less stuff, I have less to clean. I need fewer cleaning supplies and motivation to clean. More storage and losing fewer things is another boon too.
I rarely lose things because I don’t have piles of stuff to lose them in; no magazine mounds, paper piles, or buxom books to thrash through.
Many months ago, I lost a glove. I thought I dropped it while Mr. BuLL and I were hiking. One random day, I was cleaning under the vehicle seat and found the missing glove. That is the last time I remember losing something. It was cleaning that released it from the clutches of darkness.
I remember this event because I love this pair of gloves and use them frequently for the random arctic blasts that roll through Montana. Also, I rarely lose items, so it was easy to remember the one-time, many months ago that it happened.
Since the payment for adulting is time and paperwork, I prefer decluttering by minutes instead of hours. A few minutes before I leave for work, a commercial break, or waiting for the tea kettle to scream at me is an ideal time for decluttering.
Some areas take more time and effort, but many are quick. I prefer that. As much as I would love to spend all day hemming and hawing over stuff, I don’t have time for that. Instead, a 5-minute burst of decluttering is more satisfying than anything I can do in 5 minutes on social media.
Simple Ways to Declutter
When people ask, what I have been up to, I have yet to respond with decluttering. Decluttering is what I do, but it’s not how I’m defined.
I love what decluttering does; provides freedom, money, and time for things that do define me.
Unbeknownst to him, my life coach over at Becoming Minimalist sooths with, “When you own less, you’re freed up for what matters most.”