How to declutter in easy steps

Decluttering is easy if you do a few things first:

Move to an island, then decide to move away, and get a moving estimate for crating all of your stuff away. (This only works if you are paying for the move yourself: if your moving costs will be paid by your employer, this will not be effective.)  The packing/shipping estimate will motivate you to be ruthless in cleaning out.

Second, even if you think you have decluttered regularly, take a hard look at things you may be keeping for the wrong reasons…guilt (I can’t get rid of kid memorabilia), sentiment, (grandparent cards, a special dress from 20 years ago), indecision (do I like this or don’t I?)…you get the picture.

I also use one of my husband’s strategies: he goes through a box of books (or whatever) and tries to thin out a small percentage. Later he goes through the same box and tries to thin the contents a bit more. I think he usually does this at least three times, using the theory that it is easier to get rid of a small amount of stuff multiple times, rather than a larger amount all at once. Ok, it works for him. That’s one of the keys to decluttering: you have to find what works for you.

Next, decide what items are worth selling and what should be donated. I’m no garage sale expert, but I’ve heard people say that clothing doesn’t move well in garage sales. If you have appliances, tools, furniture, or other big items to dispose of,  you can probably sell them. The other benefit is that you don’t have to haul large items away if someone comes to buy them from your house. And if you donate clothing, books, etc., be sure that your donations are clean and in a good condition to give away. Don’t unload your trash on local charities.

Don’t try to do this as a marathon event. In my experience, you can only make so many decisions before either a) deciding to keep too much or b) deciding to get rid of too much. To keep your objectivity as you sort, limit the amount of time you spend on this task at one stretch. This means you will need to begin the process well in advance of your moving date. I also find that I need morning energy to tackle my decluttering. Find the time of day that works best for you.

Finally, be ruthless! If you don’t love it, need it, use it, let it go. You may be shocked at how freeing this experience is, and how it helps you to think about stuff. Believe me – I moved to an island, and decided to move away.

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One thought on “How to declutter in easy steps

  1. Best wishes to you as you take on this daunting – but freeing – task! Important point you made about pacing yourself; I find it exhausting to do (not to mention all that dust) so it’s important to eat well, hydrate and take breaks.

    Happy decluttering 🙂 MJ

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