Copyright : Luana Teuti

Ah, I just don’t have time to get to that… When I have a free weekend, when this semester is over, when our schedule isn’t so packed….Those were just a few of my excuses I used for far too long for not tackling a few unruly closets in our house, not to mention some boxes still in the garage from when we moved here.

Can you relate? As I’ve diligently begun to tackle some of the spaces over the past few weeks, I’ve realized I’m not the only one who struggles with this.  So why declutter? There are lots of reasons. Here are just a few…

10 Reasons to Declutter:

  1. It frees up energy to focus on the important stuff. You’re no longer distracted by the clutter.
  2. It helps free you from the past. What do you need to let go of? Clutter can cause us to carry things from the past that we’re not intended to hold on to.
  3. Declutterig give you a fresh outlook and gives space for your next chapter.
  4. It allows you to appreciate what you have in the present.
  5. Decluttering saves money because you don’t buy what you already have.
  6. You’ll spend less time cleaning and spend more time enjoying what you have. Decluttering can reduce housework by up to 40%. Who doesn’t want to reduce their housework?
  7. Each time you do it, it gets easier. Really, the more you do it the easier it is.
  8. Decluttering reduces stress.
  9. Someone else might really need what you have and don’t use.
  10. It is liberating! When you declutter you instantly feel a million pounds lighter. Why is it so freeing? Because clutter can weigh us down emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Clutter even steels our time. Let go and be free!

The challenge… it seems so overwhelming! Where can you start? Here a few ideas I’ve used as I’ve tackled clutter at our home:

Tackle it in small doses. Pick a number and say each day I’m going to mindfully deal with 5 things. You can even nickname the effort – “Strive for Five.” Each day look around and decide on your five things and deal with them. They can be big or small. The idea with this approach is to be consistent. You’ll be amazed how the small but consistent approach adds up. And, you don’t need to wait for a Saturday to get started.

Lose it or lose it. Do you have more than one size in your closet? First ask yourself, if you lost that nagging 15 pounds, would you rush to wear that or not. Get rid of things you can objectively say even if it fit, you probably wouldn’t wear it. Put everything that you want to keep and doesn’t fit into a box. Give yourself a healthy weight loss goal for the next month as an example I’ll say 4 pounds. At the end of the month, if you haven’t achieved that loss, donate 3 or more things from your “skinny” box. Remember these are the clothes you hope to wear again. You need to lose it, or you lose it. If you aren’t making progress towards wearing them again, it makes sense to thin out that stash of clothes.

Set a timer. Pick a window of time and stay focused until the timer rings. You’ll be amazed how much you can do in a 30 minute or hour sprint. Defining the start and end time increases productivity. When the timer rings, take a short break and then “sprint” again until you’ve exhausted the time you’ve set aside. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can work through a closet this way.

Evaluate the value. Ask yourself a few clarifying questions – Does the item have sentimental value? If not, if you saw this in a store, would I buy it? How much would I pay for it? If you wouldn’t buy it or wouldn’t be willing to pay much for it, why are you keeping it? We tend to tell ourselves that what we have has value rather than evaluating if it has value and then deciding if we should keep it based on how we answer that. Ask yourself, how do I feel when I wear it? Believe it or not I’ve found things in my closet that I don’t like how they make me feel. Maybe the fabric isn’t comfortable or the color isn’t quite right for me. Why keep something that you don’t feel great in?

Pray about it. It may sound silly, or you might feel like your clutter is far too small an issue to trouble God with. The truth of the matter is God is a God of order so who better to ask for help? You might just be surprised how He’ll meet you right where you are.

How have you tackled decluttering? What works for you? Have you found other benefits to decluttering? As the colder days settle in, I’m motivated to make my way through all of our closets and the garage too. I’m finding the progress empowering and it really has freed me to focus on things like my writing. How does decluttering free you? I’d love to hear from you.