D is for Declutter. This word has impacted my life in an enormous way over the past 14 months. For decades I lived with contained clutter. The thought of eliminating it was daunting. I didn't know where to start. It's been a difficult road, but I am no longer overwhelmed by the thoughts that arise when I see the word ‘declutter’. I have done some serious work recognizing and removing the clutter that filled my life for decades.
My relationship with clutter has always been complicated. I'm an organized person by nature. I felt that made me immune to clutter. Not so. However, I've learned that I'm much better at organizing stuff than getting rid of it and preventing more from creeping in.
I grew up in a home that was neat and orderly. I don’t recall being surrounded by clutter. Once I had my own family, our space began to fill with lots of stuff. Year after year, more things would come in...and few would leave. Sure, I cleared out what my kids outgrew and items that were notably beyond repair...but I was never really aware of how much I was accumulating.
I diligently continued to purchase containers to hold all of the stuff and print labels to help keep track of the contents of the boxes stacked like towers.
A few years ago, we moved across the country. I was excited about the built-in opportunity to pitch, sell or donate lots of stuff! I did just that.
I felt confident that I had purged sufficiently as we prepared for the truck’s arrival. We unpacked our belongings in our new home and settled in. Our home was organized and functional. Our belongings all neatly contained.
Over time, I began to notice that some spaces in our home were overflowing. So, I relied on new systems and bins to corral the excess. I chalked it up to having a family of five. Three children come with a lot of goods. I started to think I was destined to live in a home filled with too much.
Then something major happened.
I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. As I read the first few pages, I knew I was all in.
I was ready to embark on a massive decluttering project. My kids were a bit scared. My husband was thrilled.
I was incredibly inspired! (So inspired that I started a YouTube channel:-)
I finally felt like I was going to gain control of our stuff!
Interested in my KonMari story? You can read more about it here.
It’s been a little over a year since I employed the KonMari Method in our home. I’m proud to share that we've seen some really amazing, lasting improvements.
I’m also honest and will say that there are some areas where I’m still struggling. Paper is my nemesis. It seems to multiply while I sleep. Whatever the reason...I have a hard time with this category. I don’t have trouble parting with old paper. It’s more the constant stream of new papers that I have trouble maintaining.
I’m determined to master the art of keeping very little paper. I am fully committed to refining this area of my life...and making new habits stick.
Here’s what I’ve learned about decluttering-
My stuff does not define me.
I’m happier when I’m surrounded by less.
There’s more room for joy, creativity and peace in an open space.
House cleaning is simpler.
It’s an ongoing process that becomes easier along the way. Now that I’ve purged and tidied, I find that I’m less overwhelmed. Our house looks nicer because everything has a home and tidying is almost effortless.
I’ll continue to refine my decluttering skills throughout the coming decade.
My home will change greatly in a few years when my children are off to college and beyond. For that reason, I plan to try and embrace the remaining clutter (when it’s not driving me completely crazy) and remember that my house is the place where we actually live. And our time together under one roof is so precious and so fleeting.
How do you declutter?
Do you have mental/physical clutter that could be removed?
What systems work for you?
Thanks for reading. So glad you’re here for this month of Simply 50.
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Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,