One of the things we first realized along this journey is that we had way too much stuff. We kept a hold of things that we should have gotten rid of a long time ago. Mind you, it wasn’t, and still isn’t, an easy process. As any parent knows we tend to hang onto things our children made. I kept drawings they did on napkins, an old wilted dandelion, and basically EVERYTHING they did in school. I think going through those precious things were the hardest. What helped me was telling myself that I can hold so many memories in my heart, but that I also can still keep a few things that I considered very dear to me. I made sure they fit in a folder, and some I put in the children’s memory boxes. So I physically cleared up clutter, but I more than happily cluttered my heart in the process.
The process of simplifying is starting one room at a time. The garage, attic, or basement, should be the first to go through. Why? Because it is the hardest and most time consuming. Make piles of items to trash, keep, giveaway, and sell. Do one section at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. Really look at each item. Do you really NEED it? Do you really NEED 5 of the same thing? After you go through a couple of things the rest will be easy. You will get a flow going.
After you are done going through a section, make sure to box up (we use bins) and label what is in there for easier access. For papers, use a foldable organizer. Follow the rules of how long to keep certain things (paystubs, taxes, etc.) Make sure to shred papers you are getting rid of. Be sure to store your “keep” bins from main rooms in your basement or attic.
Old clothes can also be used for other purposes. You can use old t-shirts for rags, and sweaters/jeans can be made into bags or skirts. Jeans can also be used to make headbands, pot holders, placemats or even a rug! Old socks are great for dusting or waxing. Repurpose before you throw out! Be sure to check with your local community to see where your unwanted clothes can be best be used. Many have shelters that can use them.
Simplifying doesn’t have to be a painful process. It is meant to keep life simple, less cluttered, and organized. We tend to hold onto things that we may use “one day”, but usually that day doesn’t come. Sometimes we need to let go and let our life feel the decluttering it sorely needs!