When I moved into a cozy, 450 square foot one bedroom condo in DC – just barely larger than a college dorm room – I went through a major purging process. It’s funny how packing and moving can make you realize how much stuff you have!
Now it’s become a biannual cathartic process for me. Have I used this in the last year? Nope. Then it goes in the donation box. Decluttering feels freeing – less to maintain, less to keep track of. I realized that the time I was spending cleaning and maintaining a larger space meant less time getting out of the house and enjoying life!
Here are a few tips to help you get started decluttering so you can clear your space, free your mind, and spend more time on the activities you enjoy!
01. Store documents electronically. Let’s face it, sorting through mail and important documents can be a pain. Organizing your files electronically helps save trees and cuts down on paper storage in your place. Everything can be backed up on a hard drive and to the cloud – much less of a headache than sorting through piles and piles of paperwork. For paper mail, you can snap a picture and upload the files to your computer. This increases accessibility and findability through doing a quick document search on the computer vs. pulling out that box in the back of your closet and sifting through hundreds of papers.
02. Create memorable artwork. Ticket stubs, postcards, maps, and brochures can pile up. Instead of throwing away those old concert tickets from your favorite band or filing away a thoughtful note from a friend, display them as inspiring artwork! A vision board, scrapbook, inspiration notebook, or collage serves as a valuable visualization tool, bringing to life your accomplishments, interests, and travels and helping you re-live the best moments of the year.
03. Shed the excess items. Reclaim your space! First get rid of the duplicates – you don’t need two can openers, even if one is manual and the other is electronic. Choose your favorite and donate the other. Have items or clothes lying around that you haven’t used in years? Unless it holds some strong sentimental value, it’s probably something that you won’t miss a few months from now.
Tip. Don’t forget to take a picture of what you’re donating, so you can take it off on your taxes later. Donations can add up and end up decreasing your tax burden so keep track of your donations by documenting the items and their values on a spreadsheet and obtaining a tax receipt from the charitable organization.
It can be hard to bring yourself to clear stuff out; getting started is always the hardest part. Start small and consider bundling the decluttering process with other fun activities like binge watching Game of Thrones or catching up with a friend via phone.
“May all your weeds be wildflowers.” – Anonymous