Do you struggle with decluttering? If so, you’re in good company (and you should probably read this book – it’s truly life-changing).
I hated decluttering. I love my stuff!
But I realized that my stuff was literally costing me money after paying nearly $4000 to store it while I travelled around the world with my family.
My husband and I decided to downsize to an 860 sq ft duplex after we returned from our travels.
We reasoned that we’d lived well in cruise ship cabins, hotel rooms and small European apartments, so we didn’t need a whole lot of space in which to live a happy life.
Then we opened up our storage unit and our idealist hopes were deflated.
Previous to our trip we had lived in (and filled up) a 1380 square foot home with a separate garage and shed. To say we were overwhelmed with stuff is an understatement.
At times it felt like the only option was to get another storage unit but at $200/month I’d really rather not, so decluttering our home to the bare essentials was necessary.
It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve come a long way and we’re now starting to feel lighter and freer as we aren’t tied to stuff that burdens us.
Wanna know how I became a decluttering ninja? I asked myself this simple question:
“Does this item propel me towards my goals?”
My life goals are to be happy, healthy and well-travelled. My family and writing make me happy. As does walking in nature, feeling the sun shining on my face and a good book. Other than the books, none of those things are things!! (And I have a library card, so that’s covered). What a revelation!
I could literally have nothing other than my family, my laptop, the clothes on my back, a library card and be happy.
So when I pick up a thing that I’m unsure about keeping I ask myself ‘Does this item propel me towards my goals?’
Now don’t get me wrong, we keep a lot of stuff. Kitchen utensils that help me make healthy food or craft supplies that let me do fun things with my kids get to stay.
As do useful travel accessories. Clothing that’s being worn. (The baby clothing didn’t make the cut, so I’ve kept the onesie my bubba wore on his first day on this earth and everything else has been donated to needy families).
Toys that are played with regularly stay, toys that have been forgotten about go.
I’m quite frugal so I can’t say no to hand me down clothes (I had no idea how rough kids could be on clothes!).
Even though they are, technically, clutter, they will save us a lot of money in the future which can be used for traveling, so we keep them.
Your goals and your stuff are interconnected
The huge benefit of using your goals as a barometer is that it allows quick categorization of items. If I can’t quickly find a way that an item will help me meet my goals, it goes. If it’s useful and purposeful, it stays. Easy peasy.
Do you struggle with decluttering? Does focusing on your goals help?
If you need some motivation to get started, these two books have been super-helpful for me. Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and Peter Walsh’s ‘Let It Go: Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life’.
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