Whenever I have lots going on in my life and too much clutter, I feel more anxious and stressed on a day-to-day basis. However, I have found that decluttering always has a positive effect on my state of mind and mood..
From purging my wardrobe, to organising my finances, I feel more in tune with what’s going on around me and what’s in my life.
Having too much clutter can distract you, it can weigh you down and it can also entice more clutter to be bought into your life.
By decluttering and maintaining a clutter-free environment and life, you can feel the benefits of having less to clean, less stress, less debt, feeling more organised, and being more productive.
I found that the best way to start decluttering, is to begin one area at a time. By choosing to do areas, these will add up and will have a big impact.
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Here are the areas that you can start to declutter today, and enjoy the feeling of being less stressed:
Your Bedroom Area
Being in a serene environment at the end of the day is one of the best areas to begin your decluttering challenge.
This room should ideally be free of clutter, so that when you walk in, you immediately feel relaxed.
1) Remove anything that is on the floor and shouldn’t be there. Make sure any dirty washing is in the laundry basket, and any clean clothes are put away.
2) Clear the top of the surfaces such as your window sill, chest of drawers, shelves and bedside tables. You may decide to have a candle on there, or a plant. Something which will be beneficial to you and your environment.
3) Look at your furniture and consider if you need all the items in your bedroom. Either move to another room where it will be used fully, or donate or sell it.
4) Make your bed, and decide whether you need all those pillow and cushions!
5) Add some air freshener or fragrant candles to bring a wonderful smell to the room.
Your Wardrobe and Chest of Drawers
These should really be called a Dr Who Tardis, because of the amount of clothes and accessories we are able to fit in them!
To declutter these fully, I would suggest working through your clothes as Marie Kondo demonstrates in the KonMari Method. I would also add a few extra questions in as well.
1) Get all your clothes and accessories from your home and put them in one big pile
2) You are going to sort through your items and will put them in 4 piles – keep, donate, sell, discard
3) You may also find there is a 5th pile of items which is for things you are unsure of and may or may not want to keep. This pile should be as little as possible.
4) To begin with, start by holding each item up in front of you and ask these questions:
– Does it spark joy?
– Do you love wearing it or using it?
– Does it fit or go with your style?
– Would you want to be seen in it by an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend?
– Have you used it in the last 6 months?
– If you were shopping right now, would you buy it?
– Do you think realistically that you will wear or use it in the future?
5) If you answer No to all or most of these questions, then decide whether to donate, sell or discard.
6) If you are really torn about letting it go, put it in your Unsure box. This box will need to be put away for a month, and anything that hasn’t been used in that period will need to be sold or donated.
7) For all the items you have left (and love!), hang these up in the wardrobe, or fold neatly in your chest of drawers.
8) For a great folding technique, check out the KonMari method which allows you to see all your items at once. No more guessing what you have! (Get the book here: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up).
By the end of this process, you will definitely have less clothes and accessories in your life.
This can also be repeated for other personal items in your home, such as your shoes.
Makeup and Toiletries
I’ve never really been adventurous with my makeup and have stuck to the same style, however, even I have noticed that your collection starts getting bigger and bigger without you realising it. All of a sudden, you have about three containers worth of make up!
This is the same with toiletries as well. It seems to just appear, and then you’re struggling for space in the bathroom.
Another decluttering session is required.
1) Get all your make up and toiletries together.
2) Anything that you haven’t used in 6 months, get rid of.
3) Anything that is out of date, get rid of.
4) Look at your items and decide if it’s something that you will ever use again. If not, bin it.
5) When reviewing the items that are left, analyse them to figure out what you really love. Is there a brand of makeup that you can’t live without? Is there something that makes your skin/hair shine?
6) Write down a list of the brands that you love, either in a notebook thatyou keep in your bag or in your phone notes. This is now your go to list when shopping. Don’t get swayed by BOGOF or cheap deals on other products. Stick to what you know you love and is good for your body.
When we were growing up we always had a ‘junk’ drawer. It’s where you end up putting lots of random things in, but when you need something you can never find it.
These drawers can be useful if used in the right way, because we all need somewhere to put batteries, matches, candles, meter box keys, torch, etc.
1) Pick a junk drawer and empty out the contents.
2) Look through each item and discard the things which you definitely know you aren’t going to use again.
3) For the other items, put these into category piles. These might be things such as
– DIY tools, such as a screwdriver or allen key
– Torch, matches, lighter and candles
– Stamps, envelopes, writing paper, sellotape, bluetac
– Needle and thread, cotton, spare buttons, safety pin
4) If you have large drawer, it may be possible to split the drawer with dividers, or alternatively, to buy some small plastic boxes. This way each area will be designated a category of items, and it will be much easier to find an item with needed.
I happen to have a metal drawer cabinet which has plenty of small drawers. I painted the cabinet with blackboard paint on the drawers, and I am able to write each category on the front.
If you use your desk for work or for studying, it’s best to keep it as clear as possible so that you aren’t stressed out or distracted with what’s going on around it.
1) Clear everything off your desk area. Take things out the drawers if you have them.
2) Clean your desk and drawers, and see how amazing it looks when you haven’t got piles of things on it.
3) As with the junk drawer process, get rid of things you don’t need, and for the other items remaining, put them into different category piles.
4) Allow a drawer or area for each category.
– Pens, pencils, rubber, ruler, hole punch, stapler
– Paper, post it notes
5) Out the items back in the drawers in the relevant area.
6) Try and make sure you take the time to keep your desk and drawers neat and tidy, and put things away after each session.
No matter how paperless we want to go, there are always get letters coming through the post, and the need to print things off. This can lead to paperwork being collated in various places around the home.
However, there is a way to limit this, and to store the papers which you need to keep.
1) One of the best ways to minimise the amount of paper you get is to turn off paper copies so they don’t come through in the post. This can be done with things like your bank statements and credit card statements.
2) For all the things that you still receive in the post, make sure you sort through it straight away. Toss things you don’t need, take action on the things you do, and simply file away the papers you need to keep.
3) There are two ways to file away your papers; by storing the hard copy, ideally in a metal container or fire box. Or scanning them in and keeping an electronic copy.
4) The important documents you should keep a hard copy of include:
– Birth certificate
– I.D cards and passports
– Pension plan documents
– Marriage licence
– Insurance policy (keep a digital copy just in case)
– A will
– Vehicle documents
– House deeds and mortgage documents
5) These documents you can scan in and keep digitally:
– Tax returns
– Bank statements
– Medical records
– Warranty documents and receipts for goods you have bought and still own
6) For the important documents, I would always scan a copy as well, just in case anything were to happen to them. Make sure you protect the digital files.
By doing this, you will greatly reduce the amount of paper you have in your home, and therefore, you won’t have the need to tidy it up all the time, thus reducing stress.
This one is a hard one, as it’s so easy to save things to a computer and just forget about it. However, there are some things we can do to purge items that are no longer used, and to keep our computers clean(ish).
1) Remove files and programs that you no longer need.
2) Delete items and icons from your desktop, or file the information away in a relevant folder.
3) Go through files systematically and delete anything you no longer need. This will take a while so don’t be disheartened! Its probably best to do it in bite-sized chunks and to sit down for a hour each day to go through the files. If you can spend longer on it, then great!
Again, this is a toughie so I would dedicate some time to go through it bit by bit.
1) Open up your Inbox, and if like me you have gmail, you will have your primary, social and promotions tab. Go through each one and delete or unsubscribe from the newsletters.
2) One of the free tools which has really helped me, is Unroll.me. It’s a great service which allows you to combine your favourite subscriptions into one email, and you can digest them once a day. Another benefit of Unroll.me is that you can unsubscribe from a newsletter with one easy click. Perfect!
3) Try and take time to manage your emails as and when they come in. Ether put them into a folder you’ve created or delete them immediately.
Having a home that is cluttered can be stressful, but having a cluttered life can also be just as, or more, stressful.
There’s always things going on and you can sometimes feel like you are being pulled from pillar to post.
Having a simple life can ease some of the stress that comes with living in a busy environment.
1) Say No to things. It can be overwhelming when you are here, there and everywhere. Stop for a second and take a look at what you’re doing. Too many commitments can stress you out, so start saying no to people.
2) Say Yes to things you love. Look at what brings you joy and say yes without feeling guilty.
3) Sit down and review your habits, as you might find they are the things which are causing you stress. For instance, are you always hitting snooze on your phone, and then you’re rushing to work? Do you leave it to the last minute to do something, and therefore you’ve been constantly worrying about it? Are you shopping for fun and then end up with sky-high bills to pay?
4) Write down what causes you to be anxious and stressed, and try and eliminate these habits from your life.
5) Start new habits which allow for you to be organised, relaxed and calm in any situation.
How To Keep Clutter At Bay For The Long-Term
Decluttering can bring a sense of ease and joy. You have a simple life and home and you feel relaxed.
However, this may not last if you let clutter creep back into your life. You have to take this as a lifestyle change.
1) Form new habits where everything that comes into your life is examined for what it is. Don’t let things build up. Sort things out straight away.
2) With items that come into the house, think about where it will go and if it needs to replace something.
3) I decluttered my clothes last year, and since the New Year I have made a rule for myself. If any new piece of clothing comes into my life, I will always replace an item in the wardrobe. One in – one out. That way, I am not increasing the number of items I have. I am either keeping the numbers the same, or sometimes, decreasing it.
4) Each month, have a day to declutter things to prevent them building up.
I hope this help with decluttering your life and helping you to become less stressed.
If you have any further ideas about decluttering, or you would like me to discuss something specific, please let me know in the comments below.