Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Getting Inspired by Minimalism and Decluttering Your Home

During the springtime, my house felt pretty decluttered and organized, and I had my routines in place that allowed me to keep my house clean (well at least clean enough for me to be happy with it, we all have different standards haha). I felt pretty peaceful in my mostly clutter-free home.

Summer hit and all that went out the window. This summer was all about fun, spontaneity, camping, living out of a suitcase and never having clean laundry, being away from home - and not about any of the earlier mentioned things. I loved this summer so much, but one thing I am excited about for fall is to get our house back into the decluttered state where everything has its place so that I can live in it and feel peaceful rather than bogged down by the stuff lying around. The little daily routines play a big part in keeping it tidy, but I also want to do one more purge through our house again - it feels so good to know everything has a place and that everything in my house is something I want to be there.

I'm not sure if this is a universal feeling or if it is because of my personality, but knowing what is in my house and that it is all stuff that I want or need brings me a lot of peace. It's similar to the way writing my top priorities of the day in my bullet journal brings me peace and allows me to feel lighter and not anxious that there might be something I should be doing. I think that it just has to do with feeling like things are in order and it could definitely be because of my personality that it's so important to me, but I'm sure a decluttered home feels good to anyone. 

I also find that when there isn't a bunch of excess, unnecessary, or unwanted stuff, my house is so much less overwhelming to keep tidy and that is huge for making my days better.

Here are the steps I'm taking to declutter my home for the fall that you might find helpful if you're in the mood for more minimalism and decluttering :)

1. Get inspired by minimalism

Reading and learning about minimalism is such great inspiration for ruthless decluttering.

Getting inspired by minimalism helps you to:

- See the benefits of less stuff and the joy that can come with owning less

- Realize the costs of keeping all your junk
- Be more ruthless and keep less "just in case"

Here are some articles that I've read recently that got me excited and motivated to declutter my home:

- Getting Rid of Clutter Without Feeling Guilty - Nourishing Minimalism

- Tidying Up: A New Minimalism - No Sidebar
- Don't Just Declutter, De-Own - Becoming Minimalist

Here are some other favourite articles of mine on minimalism:

Why Mothers Need Minimalism - Allie Casazza

- A Practical Guide to Owning Fewer Clothes - Becoming Minimalist
- 6 Benefits of Minimalism in Parenthood - The Minimalist Plate

I recently listened to an amazing podcast episode on The Catholic Feminist Podcast called What Losing Everything I Own Taught Me About Jesus. The girl being interviewed lost all her possessions when her house burnt down and she talks about how in a sense it freed her from the materialism of America that she struggled with after returning from volunteering in developing countries (crazy that she could see the positives in a situation like that!). I found it really inspiring and found it tied simplifying and Catholicism together in an interesting way.

I also have a board on Pinterest full of inspiring minimalism & decluttering pins if you need even more inspiration!

Minimalism & Simplified Living Board

2. Decide on a strategy

This step has to be quick and you can't let it stop you from taking action. I am notorious for using "planning" as a disguise for procrastinating. Don't fall into this trap!

Here are some possible strategies. It really isn't a big deal which you decide to use, you can just read over them to help you decide which the plan of action suits you best and is most likely to bring success in this decluttering journey you're about to embark on.

1. Start with the easiest room and move to the hardest.

This works well because you are able to build momentum as you go. If you start with a room that doesn't have a lot of sentimental items in it, such as the bathroom, then you can just get to it, have the satisfaction of making progress, and by the time you get to the hardest rooms (maybe your storage room full of sentimental and "just in case" items, or your closet if you're very attached to your clothes) you will be a pro.

I do find that as I declutter more I actually get better at it, so this system works well with that. Just make sure you don't decide "It's good enough," before you're finished everything because you will have left some of the most important areas if you're leaving the hardest stuff for last.

2. Start with the hardest room and move to the easiest.

Honestly, you can't go wrong with beginning with the hardest thing on your list. It feels so great to conquer those dreaded spaces and that will give you the momentum to continue. Although it does take willpower to begin with the most difficult task - it's usually a good idea.

3. Go "item by item."

In Marie Kondo's very popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she suggests decluttering item by item. For example, bringing all the books in your entire house into one room and going through them all (holding each item and asking yourself if it sparks joy) before moving on to the next set of items, such as clothing. I think this is a great way to do a super thorough decluttering of your home. I feel like after putting that much effort in, you will be very motivated not to allow stuff to clutter up your space again anytime soon.

4. Wing it

If you want to just declutter the way your heart desires, that works too! This is how I decluttered my house the first time when I got inspired by minimalism to have less stuff. One day I felt like purging my closet, so I did. After doing quite a few projects, I felt like I was able to go through the tough stuff like the sentimental items I had in my treasure chest and bins in the storage room.

3. Prioritize it 

Know why you're decluttering and set times for yourself to work on it. 

Knowing why you want to declutter your home is key for motivating yourself to get around to it. If you don't really know why you want to declutter or how it would benefit you, it will be a lot harder to find the motivation. Some possible "why's" include:

- More time and freedom because you have less stuff

- Less clutter around you which means less stress and overwhelm

- The feeling of lightness that comes with a home that is decluttered and organized

I think it's so worth it to take a minute to really think about why you personally want to declutter, and why you want the freedom that comes with less stuff.

For me personally, I know that I find my house so much less overwhelming to clean when I don't have a bunch of excess stuff that has no place or purpose. I find that I feel lighter and less stressed being in a home that is tidier and has less clutter. I'm not even talking about a perfectly clean home (my house definitely isn't super clean. Rose is my resident mess-maker), just one where it is really easy to quickly tidy because there is less unnecessary stuff. 

Decluttering (inspired by minimalism) really unburdened me from a lifelong stress of feeling overwhelmed by cleaning, while also being stressed out by the mess that I felt too overwhelmed to clean.

Prioritizing decluttering means putting it above other things on your to-do list or calendar. Knowing why it is important to you will help you do this, but until you put it into your calendar and take the steps to actually do it
, it's just a "dream" and not a goal (I just learned about this on this podcast episode and it really hit home for me as something I struggle with), and it's not going to happen. So make it a real goal by putting it on your to-do list or calendar as a priority and sticking to that.

4. Get to work!

If you just read minimalism articles and make plans but don't take action, there's no point to any of it (preaching to myself here). So this is the most important step and the only necessary one.

The next step is just, actually doing it.

Some ideas of things that can make the process more enjoyable are:

- Coffee, because coffee makes everything more enjoyable.

- Podcasts! If you really want to stay with the minimalism theme, listen to something like The Purposeful Home Podcast or The Practical Minimalists, they are both awesome podcasts (both are done by two moms) on living intentionally in our homes and lives, and talk about the freedom that comes with less things (so you'll be extra inspired while you work). If you want straight up minimalism, listen to The Minimalists Podcast. They will definitely inspire you!

- Put on workout clothes and play pump up music. Sounds funny but I find it kicks my brain into gear and makes me feel like I can get stuff done :)

Make piles on your floor and fill the garbage bags and throw them in the trunk to donate them. There is always the worry and the twinge of pain as you get rid of things, but the truth is you probably won't remember what was in those bags in a month and you will love the newfound space in your home.

5. Finish the job

I am someone who often has the thought halfway through a project,"Well this is good enough," or something along those lines.

However, I have found the hardest part of any task or project isn't the work itself, but getting started. If I stop halfway through, I will have to get around to starting again.

Also, I do receive a bit of satisfaction from the work I've accomplished when I stop before it's done, but I get a lot of satisfaction from a finished job. It feels amazing. 

If you leave things that you want to donate out, they have a tendency to make their way back into their home. I have this garbage bag hidden deep in my storage room where I put "giveaway" stuff (when a bag is full I donate it). I actually like the fact that it will sit there for a bit because then if I do realize that I want to keep it within the next few weeks, I can just go get it. If I completely forget what is in the bag, which is almost always what happens, then I know that I won't miss it.

6. Appreciate it

For me, appreciating it means looking at my finished product and taking a sigh of relief. I just love sitting and doing something I enjoy in a clean and uncluttered space. Reward yourself with a glass of wine or something fun, and notice the little changes in your home and life, it will help motivate you to maintain it.

7. Maintain it

Hopefully the hard work you put in will motivate you to maintain the decluttered state. 

Also, the newfound benefits will likely be a really great motivator.

I found that throughout the winter, I was really good at maintaining my homes uncluttered state. If I noticed something I didn't ever use, I would throw it out or put it into the donate bag. I would do my best to not let the unopened mail pile up (hidden in my broom closet...), and tried to keep the piles of clutter to a minimum. 

I'm not meaning everyday messes like Rose's toys and kitchen dishes, those are just normal things that require little routines to keep at bay. I'm more meaning keeping up with the hidden clutter, things I shove in the closet when company's coming and forget about for months, or things I don't know what to do with so I shove them in the storage room and forget they exist. It is really important to me to keep up with those things so that it never becomes overwhelming and requires me to do a full on house purge like my first one again (at least not anytime soon). The work of purging is motivation enough to not let a million things creep back into my home. 

This little fall decluttering session isn't near what I did in my initial minimalism-inspired purge, but the reason I felt the need to do it is because I didn't maintain things over the summer, so random things piled up a bit and those things that I didn't want to make a decision with (whether to keep it, where to put it, etc.) at the time got stuffed in various spots. Which is completely fine, but I wanted to go through the house and find homes for those random things, or get rid of them if I didn't want/need them. My plan is to keep things as maintained as I can from this point forward. I am sure I will have no problem with that, until next summer :)


  1. This was such a helpful post (you write the most detailed posts ever and I find it so helpful!) and definitely inspired me to take a closer look at my house tomorrow.

  2. Very nice information shared by you. I was just searching this type of information and luckily I got it from your forum. I like your thread also. Keep it up.

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