Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Simple Way to Declutter Your Life and Live Stress Free: 5 Steps to Start Today

The fail proof way to declutter your home:

1.     Make a list of every room, and closet in your house.

2.    In your schedule book, dedicate 15 minutes for each day in a week per room.  

3.    Each day, spend 15 minutes (timed!) going through the room and making a pile of things that you can get rid of. Be brutal. If you don’t love it, wouldn’t wear it tonight, or haven’t used it in a year. Get rid of it. If you have a significant other, have them help you be honest about what you need.

4.   Determine what to do with your pile of clutter. If you don’t desperately need money right now, and you’re hopelessly disorganized, I honestly suggest throwing it out. If you attempt to sell it or donate it right now it will sit in a pile in the corner of your house for months, possibly years until you give upon it. If you’re starting to get on the right track, try donating it or selling it. If you sell it, try to pick out the items that will sell for the most to maximize return for your time.

5.    After you finish decluttering each of your rooms, you can go back to your schedule book and write in a new room per week Spend 15 minutes per day organizing what’s left. Once everything is gone, organizing will be very easy.

In my pre-flylady life, I probably donated 30% of my salary to organizational “stuff”. Every major cleaning project at my old house would start with a trip to Staples, Walmart, or Target. I would spend a fortune, convinced that the dividers, bins, and hooks would be the answer to my prayers. After several long years, I can tell you with certainty that organization does not come from Target, Walmart, Staples, or Bed Bath and Beyond.

Think of a simpler time in our history. If you lived in the past and you had a small one room house and your only possessions were things that you made or traded for, organization wouldn’t be a problem. Your cooking pot would go in the section of your table reserved for it. You would clean it after every use because you needed it for the next meal. You would only have the things that you needed to live comfortably. Possessions that weren't necessary to live, such as jewelry or trinkets were treasured. Fast forward to modern times- We've become so overwhelmed with stuff, that we can’t possibly use it all or take care of it appropriately.  My house has at different times contained: A craft room entirely devoted to an enormous amount of crafting supplies, ham radio equipment that has been used a handful of times (including putting a hole in the attic to get better reception), cross country ski equipment, fire torches to juggle, fly fishing equipment, camping equipment, three Xboxes, a Wii, bikes, two motorcycles, rollerblades, enough clothing to dress our entire community, soap making equipment, beer brewing equipment, lap tops, computers etc. How far we have strayed from when our possessions were well used and cherished.

Flylady taught me that you can’t possibly organize these things. More importantly, you don’t have enough time to devote adequately to use and take care of all of these things. To me, a happy life involves a few simple pursuits that I enjoy and can focus my time on. I no longer need a house filled with hundreds of distractions. I choose the hobbies that are important to me. Mine are crafts (thank you Pinterest!), reading (almost exclusively from the library), and this blog (which requires no “stuff” and actually makes me money instead of requiring money to start.)

Now Jon was a different story. Jon believes in perfecting as many hobbies as he can possibly cram into his life. It’s important to me that Jon isn’t forced to alter his beliefs to fit mine just because we’re married. Within reason, I want Jon to choose the path he feels most comfortable with. Does that mean I’ll empty my 401k to fund his home brewing projects? Absolutely not, but it does mean that I’ll do everything feasible to make it possible for him to accomplish his goals while I work on mine. When given a limit and options of how to spend his money, Jon chooses to invest in his current favorite hobbies by selling equipment from his previous favorite hobbies.

Let’s say you love brewing beer. If you buy all of your beer brewing equipment second hand and in a few months decide that you would rather build a motorcycle, you can sell your beer brewing equipment and begin to purchase motorcycle parts. You will have lost almost no money. If in a year, you change your mind and decide that you miss beer brewing, sell your motorcycle (probably at a profit) and buy secondhand beer equipment again.

The only way to organize your house is by decluttering and reducing the things in your life. There are a few ways to do this. You can do this “flylady” style by spending 15 minutes a day in different rooms and throwing out anything that you don’t love or that you haven’t used in a year. You can sell 10 things from your home on eBay each week (this requires a time dedication of it’s own, since you have to spend a significant amount of time packaging and shipping.), or you can make a huge pile of stuff you want to donate and make a free pile outside and list it on craigslist. We did this once and loved the results. I was excited that my stuff was going to people that would appreciate it and I firmly believe in karma, we’ve received so many needed freebies, or excellent deals on craigslist that I’m happy to list for free when I don’t have time to sell.

**Head over to to learn more about combating clutter.**

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