To embark on decluttering, open one cupboard, one drawer, or just one basket of belongings and consider if they do indeed actually belong with you. Do you yourself actually find the item useful? Note that this question is directed at you very specifically.
Be True to Yourself
Don’t hang onto things just because you/others have a preconceived notion that every home should have one (I just discarded our potato masher…we don’t do mash!), or that some pushy sales assistant on commission convinced you that it was a great purchase; do YOU, or your family, get use out of it? If not, then it’s got to go.
Think of that kitchen gadget you keep just incase. The one that’s been owning the back of your cupboard like a Neanderthal-browed bully rules the back seat of a school bus for the last, oh I don’t know, ten years? Yes, yes that’s the one. I’d like to let you into a little secret, you’re not going to use it! What’s more, you’re not even going to miss it when it’s gone, so for goodness sake expel that sprawling tyrant.
The Answer to Decluttering
Even a once a week kind of appliance like a breadmaker would have made 520 loaves of bread by now, but it’s hung onto on the off chance that it might one day help in the making of that banana bread recipe from the clunky cookbook that’s been harboured for the past 9 and a bit years and never referred to (because you now find recipes for everything online). The answer when decluttering a lot of the time is simply to be true to yourself about what ‘stuff’ you actually need, and actively use.
Ditch Multiples and Long Term Lodgers
Pare down. Stop saving multiple ‘just incase’ items; one in use and one spare is plenty. Cut the wheat from the chaff. Bin that yellowing pack of paper plates (you can pick them up in most discount shops if you had the burning need of them again, and that goes for the box of cocktail sticks that’s been mooching around the house for the last millennium too). And how many festive serving dishes are actually needed on hand to cradle the cheese and pickles for few and far between (or non-existent) get-togethers?
Once the unused makes room for the used you find life flows more freely. All of your useful things are close at hand or easily retrieved without rifling through overfilled cupboards, jammed-in drawers and toppling piles of tidbits.
But what to do if clutter is sentimental? Whilst that does present a stickier situation, there is a solution; read my guide Sentimental Decluttering, Let It Go.
Still struggling to get motivated? Read about my return to decluttering in Declutter Bug: The Awakening!