Read Simple: 30 Ways to Declutter Your Life Online
Authors: Beth Jones
Tags: #Crafts; Hobbies & Home, #Home Improvement & Design, #How-To & Home Improvements, #Cleaning; Caretaking & Relocating, #Self-Help, #Motivational
30 Ways to Declutter Your Life
Copyright © 2014 by Beth Jones
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
The Emotional Challenge of Organization
It seems to be all the rage, doesn't it?
If you've been active online at all in recent years, you've probably heard a lot about minimalism, decluttering, and simple living.
What does it all
are these ideas important?
If you're a busy parent or just a busy person in general, chances are that you've stared at your living room before and wondered where everything came from. How did you manage to accumulate so much junk? And what do you do with the items that aren't junk but that still take up a lot of space?
Many blogs and self-help books urge readers to buy new organizational items. Spend a thousand dollars on bookshelves!
you'll be organized. Invest in beds with storage drawers!
you'll be organized.
But what about those of us who can't
to spend a ton of money on new furniture? What about those of us who want to simplify our lives without spending a fortune?
That's where this book comes in.
I'm a mom. I'm the mother of two little boys who love to make messes. Nothing makes my 4-year-old happier than dumping out his box of Lego bricks in the middle of the living room floor. My 7-year-old loves to do the same thing with stuffed animals. If I'm not careful, my living room quickly becomes a Pokemon center for injured Pokemon. It then transforms into Lego village: a world where Lego bricks come to life and marry Barbie dolls and stuffed animals. When that's finished, the room turns into a movie theater, complete with popcorn.
Did I mention that none of the toys were put away?
Did I mention that when you step on a Lego in the middle of the night, it hurts
Parenting is challenging for many reasons, but one of the most difficult parts of managing a household can simply be finding ways to keep your home organized even when you have children.
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can start getting your house organized. I'm not going to promise you that you'll never have messes or that your house is going to stay spotless. I'm not going to promise you that you'll never feel stressed out again or that you're never going to have to clean.
promise you is that you'll learn 30 ways you can start simplifying your home, minimizing clutter, downsizing your junk, and creating a more relaxing, more livable space for you and your family.
If you're tired of feeling embarrassed every time someone comes to visit, if you're tired of rushing to straighten up the house before company arrives, and if you're tired of feeling anxious every time you see the "problem areas" in your home, then it's time to get started.
First off, let's talk about some key terms we're going to be using in this book and why they matter. Once we've gotten that out of the way, we'll jump into each room of your home and find out some simple, easy ways to start cleaning up.
What is minimalism?
You've heard the term before. You've seen the Facebook pictures. You've seen the pristine closets that
But what exactly is minimalism?
Simply put, minimalism is living with what you need and not much more than that. Some people argue that minimalists live with less than 100 personal items. Some self-proclaimed minimalists say you have to give up your car, or the size of your house, or anything special or important in order to be a minimalist.
None of this is true.
In reality, a minimalist is simply someone who tries to live simply. A minimalist is someone who doesn't want clutter in their homes or their lives, someone who makes an effort to keep their home simple, and someone who realizes that there is more to life than accumulating "stuff."
This book isn't going to turn you into a 100-items-or-less minimalist. That's not the goal. Whether or not you decide to take up a minimalist lifestyle is up to you. This book is simply going to help you learn to get a little more organized and a little less stressed.
What is decluttering?
If you walk in your house and the first thing you notice is that there are no clear counters to put your groceries down on, you might have a clutter problem.
If you step into your bathroom and open your cupboard door to find piles of hair ties, hairbrushes, towels, creams, ointments, and hair curlers you haven't used in years, you might have a clutter problem.
If you're afraid to look under your bed because you aren't sure if there might be rats living there amongst the abandoned books, forgotten shoes, and lost socks, you might have a clutter problem.
Decluttering is the opposite of cluttering.
If you want to declutter your home, this simply means that you're making an effort to have a simpler house. Decluttering means getting rid of the junk, the stacks of junk mail, the boxes of mementos you haven't opened in years, and the piles of "skinny clothes" you can't quite seem to fit into.
Decluttering does not mean that you have to get rid of all of your special belongings. It doesn't mean you have to get rid of your child's first outfit or your wedding dress. Decluttering just means that you take a look at what you own and ask yourself if it's actually benefiting you or if it's causing unnecessary stress in your life.
Why does downsizing matter?
No one likes clutter.
No one likes to have junk in their house.
No one likes having to fight their way through boxes or piles just to get to their bed.
No one likes having to try to remember whether their floor is carpeted or hardwood because there's so much junk covering it.
Downsizing is the process of getting rid of your junk. It's the process of getting rid of all of that extra stuff you have in your house and in your life that isn't benefiting you. Downsizing can be a great way to get rid of unwanted items before you move to a new home or it can simply be a way to clean up your home and make things look a little brighter.
Downsizing means that your home is going to look neater, nicer, and less cluttered.
It means that your home is going to look more organized and more simple.
Many adults find that downsizing is a great way to reduce stress. After all, less belongings means that you have less stuff to organize, less stuff to get messy, and less stuff to worry about.
If you're tired of feeling anxious, stressed, or embarrassed about your house, it's time to start downsizing. You don't need
stuff. You just need
Most families spend quite a bit of time in the living room.
While the living room offers a fantastic place to get together for board game night or to enjoy a favorite movie, the fact that it's a gathering place tends to mean that your living room can easily become cluttered and overwhelming.
Before you start downsizing your living room, you'll need to ask yourself a few difficult questions.
Do I like the way that my living room looks?
What things do I hate? What things do I love? What things do I want to change?
Is my living room usable?
Do we have enough space to watch movies? Does the furniture take up too much room? Is the room difficult to walk through without tripping on things?
What do I use my living room for most frequently?
Does our family spend most of our time sitting on the couch watching movies or sprawled across the floor playing games? Do we spend most of our time sitting on the chairs talking to guests or gathered around the piano?
The way that you answer these questions is going to help you start deciding what things should stay.
After all, you shouldn't get rid of all of your belongings. Many items have practical uses and even if you're trying to downsize, this doesn't mean that you have to get rid of your couch or your television set. You'll need to consider, however, whether something is worth keeping if you only use it once or twice a year.
For example, should you save that obscure board game "just in case" someone wants to play it at Christmas? Only you can decide the answer, but these are things you'll want to think about.
Is the hour of use you'll get from this item once a year worth storing it the rest of the year? Is the stress that your clutter causes you worth keeping something "just in case" you might have a guest who wants to use the item someday?
There's nothing wrong with entertaining friends or family members, but remember that they come to visit to see you: not your stuff.
Declutter Tip #1: Ditch the items that you never use.
We all have things that we don't use as much as we think that we should. Unfortunately, this tends to be a gateway for clutter. After all, if you
to use that treadmill in the corner, you should keep it. If you think that you
to utilize the picture frames you bought but never put up, you should keep it.
In the world of downsizing, keeping things "just in case" is destructive and dangerous. You'll never get rid of anything if you hold the mistaken belief that you might need it someday. You'll never be able to achieve a well-organized home if you're constantly afraid that you might want something someday.
Chances are that if you have an item you haven't used in a few months or - dare I say it? - a few years, you probably don't really need it.
Remember this: should you encounter a situation where you
an item, you can
borrow one from a friend or rent one for the day. (Local lending stores often rent out furniture and other items on a daily or weekly basis.)
For me, I bought an aerobic stair step. I just bought the one step and when I first purchased it, I used the item on a regular basis. After my family moved, though, it sat in my garage for three years. I kept telling myself that I might want it someday or that I ought to keep it. A $25 item ended up taking up a lot of space and driving me nuts for years before I finally decided to part with it.
Have I missed it? Not once.
Have I purchased another one? Nope, but I easily could at Target or Wal-Mart.
While getting rid of things can be difficult, remember this: items cost you money to store (especially if you have a storage unit) and money to move. Instead of stressing out about things that you intend to use someday, just let them go. Donate them, give them to your neighbors, or see if a local church has any use for the item. It will get some use and you'll be able to sleep easy knowing that you helped another person with your unwanted, unused item.