One of the funniest things I hear in response to people learning about the Declutter Challenge is “Oh, I don’t need to declutter. I did something like that a few years ago and I’m still good.” Everyone needs to declutter. I do it as an annual event on the blog because we should be decluttering our homes at least once a year. My hope, however, is that the skills you will learn in these 91 days will help you declutter as you notice clutter throughout the rest of the year. But even if you do that, next year you’ll still find more to declutter. The good news is that it gets easier and easier, and definitely gets faster.
Sometimes people assume decluttering is only for hoarders like you see on reality tv shows. When you get rid of your clutter before it becomes a problem, probably the un-trained eye wouldn’t have been able to notice you had clutter.
It really is a universal truth that everyone needs to declutter, because –
Our Needs Change
My three year old son recently decided he likes taking showers some of the time. My guess is that next year those toys by the bathtub won’t need to be there, because even if he is still taking a bath once in a while, he doesn’t need a bucket of toys for an occasional bath.
Our Style Changes
I do not like all the same kind of art and decor I did ten years ago. One way I let myself grow is to let go of things that don’t bring me joy anymore. I do still like some of the same things, which has actually taught me a lot about what I really like and what kinds of things are more of my “fad” likes.
Things Get Ruined and Broken
Sometimes we are tempted to keep around things that were once special to us because it was once special, even though it has lost its usefulness. You may have an emotional connection to this item and feel grateful to it for the goodness it once brought to your life, but remember: stuff is just stuff. Getting rid of something does not dishonor it, letting it become a dust trap dishonors it and takes up valuable space in your home. Maybe you think by keeping it around you’ll be able to make it useful again. How long has it been broken? Do you have a plan in place to fix it? If you’re serious about it, google a repair location right now and get it done … oh, you don’t feel like doing that right now? If you aren’t serious about getting it fixed, as in calling the repair shop today for an appointment, you are procrastinating the decision to get rid of it because it is a hard decision for you. Let it go. It’s okay.
We Receive Gifts We Don’t Want or Need
I’m not saying we should act ungracious for a gift given in kindness, absolutely nothing of the sort. I’m saying we are not obligated to keep gifts forever. We can sincerely thank someone for the thought and generosity, but that does not bind us to the object. If there are people in your life that hold your relationship in jeopardy if you do not love or keep their gifts, might I suggest researching books on the topic of boundaries, because most certainly boundaries are the underlying issue. (A favorite of mine is Boundaries by Dr. Townsend.) I know this can be a tricky one, but I promise that you can be loving toward someone and protect your boundaries. It actually protects them too from possible frustration or anger you might harbor against them. It is very important to remember the flip-side of this, people may not always keep the gifts we give them. I honestly would prefer not to know if someone didn’t keep my gift, so I do not “check up” on gifts I’ve given people. Though if I do find out someone has not kept a gift, I make the choice not to be offended.
Other People Live With Us
Unless we live alone, we do not have total control of our environment. Since we are not the only ones to bring things into the home, regular decluttering is helpful at checking in around the house to see what’s accumulated. I despise the junk that comes home in goody bags from birthday parties. Goody bags aren’t necessarily the problem, it is the senseless junk that fills them 99% of the time! When that little junk gets left around my house, I make it disappear and my children have never noticed. And it isn’t just children that bring home junk, when my husband or I attend a conference, we get these bags of junk too. Unlike birthday party goody bags, there are a few cool things, but a lot of it is niche stuff geared toward a specific user that doesn’t live in my house. These aren’t the only kinds of clutter that accumulate from the people that live with us, but it is one type. As always, tread lightly when you are decluttering someone else’s stuff. Make sure you are working with them or getting their permission to keep the trust relationship strong.
No matter who you are, you have clutter. Decluttering is FREEDOM! Don’t let your stuff own you.