Based on things I’ve read and conversations with friends, it seems like a lot of people spent at least some of their pandemic lockdown time decluttering.
Here at The Joseph Group, we’re thrilled to be welcoming clients and friends back into our office, but after more than a year of being mostly closed, we had to do a little decluttering ourselves!
Of course, this trend of simplifying life by removing ‘unnecessary’ items really took off a few years ago when Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” took the world by storm (the book has, to date, has sold more than 1.5 million copies).
Then there’s Swedish Death Cleaning. This is also based on a book, “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter” by Margareta Magnusson. “Dostanding,” which translates to death cleaning, is the idea of slowly decluttering so, upon your death, your earthly possessions aren’t a burden for those you leave behind.
If you haven’t done much decluttering and want to start, there’s a lot of guidance online for when and where to start, what to hold on to, and how to give things away.
Kondo’s KonMari Method ™ is based on your feelings, advising you to pick up objects one by one and ask, “does this spark joy?” In her book, Magnusson asks, “will anyone be happier if I save this?” Both offer ways to frame the inner monologue debate that will go on in your mind as you declutter.
If you’ve already started decluttering, here are some tips for keeping the clutter away:
- Designate a place for everything. If you find yourself just putting things away, but not in a certain location, you’ll likely be in the same clutter-chaos boat before long. Pick a spot and make it a point to stick to it.
- Stop clutter before it enters your home. Resist the temptation to impulse buy. Ask yourself: Do I really need this? Do I really love this? Is it truly useful for my needs?
- Resist the urge to move clutter from one point to another. I think we’ve all picked up a pile of miscellaneous stuff on the coffee table and simply transferred it to a clear space in a spare bedroom. This doesn’t solve anything, of course. It only delays the inevitable.
- Never leave a room empty-handed. This makes decluttering a way of life.
- Help your friends and family stay decluttered. Give experiences or consumable gifts, such as favorite foods and flowers or a lovely plant instead of an object you’re not sure they’ll like.
- Be especially cautious when you experience a major life event, such as a death of a dear one. It can be difficult to part with things that tie you someone who is gone and the longer you hold on, the harder it is to let go. Choose just a few items to keep and cherish and give the rest away to people who will benefit from them.
- When you’ve accomplished your initial decluttering, snap a picture. Then post it where you can see it. It will help you maintain your gain.
The benefits of decluttering and staying (relatively) clutter free go beyond the tangible benefits of a tidy living space. Clutter can make you feel overwhelmed, reduce your productivity, and crush your creativity. Getting rid of what you don’t need makes room for what matters. It shines a light on what is getting in the way of your great life, plus it gives you an opportunity to share your excess with others.
Pick and room today and get started on the road to learning just how abundantly you can live with less.
Written by Michelle O’Brien, Manager of Marketing & Communications