You’ve decided to look into decluttering your space. The first question is Why declutter now?
Are you moving and have too much stuff for your new place? Is the shape of your household changing with a birth, partner, roommate or even a pet? Have you suffered a loss and must process the belongings of someone dear? Are you seeking to simplify your home-life? Have you just had enough of your current habits?
Reasons matter. If you’re making space so your SO can move in, you may be full of excitement. Getting rid of some clothes or books might feel like a small sacrifice to be with someone you love. If you’re moving to a smaller place because of a job loss, however, it might feel like surrendering parts of yourself
We attach emotions to items, and our emotional state reflects our relationships with our physical space and belongings. It’s important to be aware of how we feel when undertaking this process so we can be honest with ourselves. If you’re struggling to separate the feelings from the items you’re trying to process, ask a friend or family member you trust to join you. They may be able to spot trends before you do, or just help keep your spirits up.
The next question is What is your end goal? It’s important to have a clearly defined vision of what you want to achieve.
Check with yourself, and if needed someone close to you, to make sure your goals are realistic. While we sometimes buy things to fulfill our fantasy selves, we also may set goals which are not in keeping with our actual lifestyles. Your end goal should be something that can be maintained easily, and should make your life better.
For some people, an open ended goal such as “have less stuff” can be too broad and feel overwhelming. It can also encourage jumping from one area to another, without ever fully processing any single area. If this is an issue for you, select several smaller goals and work on them one at a time.
Don’t be afraid to start small either. Your first goal can be clear a quarter of a table, or process one shelf of books. While small goals can sometimes feel silly, remember they are part of a larger vision for your life. Particularly if you are a busy person, small goals may be more achievable, because you don’t need to devote large blocks of time all at once.
I’ll keep writing on this subject as I continue my journey. It’s always a work in progress!