Picture this: Your with your SAHM friends, and ALL they have been talking about is decluttering. How much they've accomplished. Tools they used during the process. And while you sit there feeding the baby, you think, “wow…these ladies got a lot more done than I have…”
Don't be that friend. If you think decluttering is hard, newsflash, you're kidding yourself. Maybe it's time to dive into the declutter definition:
De·clut·ter /ˈdēklətər/ verb
Remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place)“There's no better time to declutter your home” – Dictionary
Over the years, when I talk to friends and family about decluttering or organizing, I have heard the response, “sooo, will you come over and do mine?” more than a few times… This has always made me wonder why the act of decluttering seems so complex or complicated or tedious.
The term declutter was first used in the form of “decluttering” in the 1940s. Decluttering took off in the 1950s when Vogue Magazine advised housewives to “declutter” their living rooms. Physically, decluttering involves removing unnecessary things, such as unused baby items or clothes that no longer fit—figuratively, decluttering consists of organizing and making priorities to streamline your life.
What Does This Tell Us??
Basically, the decluttering meaning is not new, and it is not hard. Imagine, in the 1950s, when the average household had 5 children, homemakers were decluttering. Their kids were not entertained by tablets or TV, and their spouses definitely didn't help. Did they have less stuff than we do now? Probably. Regardless, our lives are simpler in so many ways now that having a chaotic home doesn't make sense.
In today's society, the average household has 1.8 children. However, the chaos of clutter is higher than its ever been. Why? Life is busier now—many SAHMs are over-scheduled and underappreciated. Practices and play dates take priority over the home. However, I think that is because so many adults believe decluttering is a complicated process or that they will have to get rid of all of their stuff in the process! That thought pattern changes today!
Is Decluttering Hard?
Nope. Negative. Absolutely not! The hard part of decluttering is getting started. My family moves a lot, so I have decluttered 5 homes in the last 12 years simply by moving. I refuse to pack anything that I no longer use/need. However, if you've been in the same house for several years, that decluttering process can seem overwhelming. Don't panic.
Refer to the definition again: “remove unnecessary items.” This tells us that decluttering is looking at all the things we have and getting rid of anything that is no longer purposeful. Baby gear when we know we aren't having any more kids. The CDs from high school. The VHS tapes in the back of the entertainment center. Not the things you love and use regularly. Let's focus on outdated objects.
Side note: if you are trying to declutter quickly, check out this post about How to Declutter Fast for tips!
Where Do I Start?
Honestly? Anywhere. You can pick somewhere super simple, or you can try to tackle the entire kitchen. The goal is that you START. However, check out the Declutter Boot Camp course if you want a little guidance into how you actually declutter. I'll walk you through those commonly cluttered areas in a manageable way. This course will give you the decluttering bug and is the first step in our Whole Home Organization series!
What Should I Keep?
If you have read about decluttering, you've heard of Marie Kondo. Kondo is known for her decluttering message of getting rid of anything that does not spark joy. Kondo is essentially the nemesis of the organizational products group, telling her followers not to store items that do not spark joy. Ever.
I'm not that extreme with my decluttering philosophy. I suggest focusing on anything unnecessary. Storing items that are essential but not frequently used makes sense. Storing seasonal items is necessary. When decluttering, you want to minimize the amount of stuff in your home and then organize it to help maintain the work you put in.
Keep it if you use it or have used it recently (within a year). If you haven't used it in 5 years and it's not in the garage, let's go ahead and get rid of that… (again, if you want a source to help you get started, check out the Declutter Boot Camp!)
Won't the Clutter Come Back?
Not necessarily. The disorganization will come back, but you can manage the clutter once you put the work in. Take the time to declutter now, and then get on a maintenance schedule to avoid accumulating excess items. Decluttering is a one-time process as long as you do your entire home. Organizing and maintenance are what you have to do time and time again.
Decluttering is an Investment
If you put in the work to declutter and get rid of the unnecessary items, you are investing in your future. Your future self thanks you! There are so many benefits to decluttering, but these are my favorite:
- Less Stress. Imagine knowing where everything is in your home?! It is possible!
- More Time. Decluttering can save you so much time by not having to search for what you need. Furthermore, if you have a decluttered home, completing other tasks (hello, cleaning…) is easier, so those processes are quicker!
- Quick-Wins. Since decluttering is so simple, you can get quick wins when you start the process! The junk drawer, done, WIN! Refrigerator, conquered, WIN! The dopamine is great to keep you going!
Don't get left out of the conversation the next time you hear someone talk about decluttering! If you think the process of decluttering is complicated, you've been misinformed. Start the process, and the Declutter Boot Camp can help, and then stay on track until you've completed the job. Invest in your future! No longer wonder about the declutter meaning; instead, put the work in now to reap the rewards!