How to declutter your life in a few easy steps

How to declutter your life in a few easy steps | Tyranny of Pink


If there is one thing I can’t stand it’s clutter.

I honestly cannot handle things lying around where they should not be. Now there is a huge difference between a collection of something and clutter. So, that giant pile of books in the corner of my dining room, the one that has been waiting for a book shelf for the last two years – that’s a collection. The bowl on the shelf with bits and bobs that get left on the kitchen counter and have no home – that’s clutter.

The stuff with “no home” is the stuff that drives me mad.

I am not a fan of trinkets or thingamabobs lying around. I have a habit of giving things away that drive me nuts and I firmly believe that my clutter could bring happiness to someone else. So by all means, let that happen.

So it was interesting for me to merge lives with someone who saves the old lightbulbs and batteries. Yes, my day is filled with asking never-ending questions like “but do we really need this old (insert random item here)” and usually the answer is a sheepish “no” followed by throwing things in the bin. We really didn’t need that shredded cable did we?

I would probably throw my own arm away if it fell off and lay around on the floor for a minute too long.

I must admit, the one place I tend to let get a bit too cluttered is my kitchen pantry. It always seems to be filled with old boxes of things I’ve forgotten to use up. Yesterday I chucked out an entire box of Quinoa that I’d totally forgotten I had in the first place. Why? because it was sitting behind the giant bag of old nachos.

Ugh. Clutter!!

How to declutter your life in a few easy steps | Tyranny of Pink

It’s time to address the Quinoa in the closet! 

1. Understand why we keep clutter

In order to get rid of the things that we keep which clutter our lives, we need to understand why we are hanging on to those things so that we can change our behaviour towards clutter in the future and prevent it from piling up all over again.

Guilt

Someone you love, has given you something you hate. Now you feel obliged to save it. However, it makes you miserable. It was given with the best intentions but that doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever. I was once given a tall thin gel candle by a loved one and I hated it. I saved that thing in a box for years. Eventually there was more fluff in the candle than could fit and I had never even displayed it. Instead, it caused me misery. Yes actual misery from carrying the burden of hating it but not feeling like I could part with it. I tell you, the day I chucked it out – I literally felt a load lift off my chest. Any regrets? Not even one.

Hoping it will be useful at some point in the future.

This is one I used to suffer from all the time. That niggling feeling that you will need something the day after you’ve thrown it out. Honestly though, how many times has that actually happened to you? Probably none at all. It’s not going to suddenly happen after you chuck out that damn candle either. If you haven’t used something in the last ten years (or even one) it’s probably served it’s purpose and can be safely given away to someone who will use it or just thrown out.

How to declutter your life in a few easy steps | Tyranny of Pink

Memories

So you wore that prom dress when you were 17 and you know that if you get rid of it you’re going to regret that for the rest of your life. Probably not the case but if it’s the memory you want, how about just taking a photo of it and putting that into a scrap-book. Or perhaps a certain item of jewellery reminds you of a great night you had. How about writing about it in a journal, taking a photo of the item and then saving that for all eternity. Then give the item to someone who can actually use it now. You don’t have the get rid of the memories, just the thing causing clutter in your life.

Procrastination

A lot of us struggle to get up and deal with the things that need our attention. It’s not that we don’t want to throw things out or pack them away it’s just that we haven’t yet managed to find the time to do so. We just keep putting things off. Before we know it, we are surrounded by things that have no value to us and cause chaos in our lives. We end up hoarding old envelopes and unopened mail all kept in a nice big pile of “will get to that later.” Procrastination is the breeding ground of clutter. Why do now when you can put it off till it has grown into a giant overwhelming pile of everything?

2. Steps to take to get it out your life

It's time to take action and finally get rid of that junk! #DeclutterYourLife Click To Tweet

Well, Rome wasn’t built-in a day and neither should you try to get rid of it all in one big chunk. Start small, with one drawer and then move to the next and before you know it you’ve cleared out the closet. When you’re done with the closet, move onto the room and slowly, your whole house.

Tools you will need

Time

It doesn’t have to be an entire day. Any spare amount of time that you have can be used to properly deal with certain clutter in your home.

Only 5 minutes to spare? –  Clear out a drawer in your bedside table

10 Minutes to spare? – Clear out the entire bedside table.

20 minutes to spare? – How about that one cupboard you’ve been meaning to get to for ages?

A day? – Spend it sorting through your home office and finally get around to sorting through that paperwork.

It doesn’t matter how much time you have but with the right mindset and a can do attitude you can easily tackle your entire home in small manageable bits. Eventually, you will be completely clutter free and that mountain of paperwork will stop weighing your shoulders down.

Four bags or boxes.

One for:

  • Junk that needs to be chucked out
  • Things you want to keep
  • Things to donate
  • Things to sell

Once you have these bags or boxes and a little bit of time set out, it’s literally a matter of just sitting down and emptying out that drawer. You can either tumble everything onto the floor and start with a big pile to get rid of or take each item out one at a time from the drawer and place it into the relevant box. Be very strict with yourself. Will you REALLY need that nearly finished tube of cream that you haven’t seen in 6 years? No, probably not. It’s probably expired SO CHUCK IT OUT!

If something isn’t your style or taste anymore but might still be better suited to someone else then by all means donate it. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure and you definitely don’t need it clogging up your life.

If you find something valuable you can pop it into the “sell” box and then put it up for sale on a community page or Craigslist or Gumtree. You can use the money you make to buy something that you actually need or love!

Sort through the Keep collection and decide if it’s REALLY filled with things you can’t let go of. One by one look each item over and ask yourself what you really want to keep and what maybe you just aren’t sure of letting go of. Remember to be strict with yourself. It’s holding onto things that you don’t need that got you into this mess in the first place.

Really need it? Okay fine!

If you decide that you really must keep things and obviously there will be things that fit into this category, then create designated spots for things that you’re going to keep and put them in their new homes immediately. Also, while you’re at it, develop a system for not letting things get back to the way they were in the first place. Make sure everything has a home the second it walks into your front door.

What happens when you finally let go of that clutter?

You feel lighter

You have more space

You have a tidier home and life

How to declutter your life in a few easy steps | Tyranny of Pink

Most importantly – you can stop feeling stressed every time you look in the closet and see a giant box of unopened and expired Quinoa. 

Jonelle |Tyranny of Pink

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19 Discussion to this post

  1. […] Great practical tips on de-cluttering from Jonelle: How to declutter your life in a few easy steps. […]

  2. I’ve been working really hard to declutter my life. I love your points about why we keep things and your recommendations if you don’t have a lot of time. Thanks for the info I’m definitely feeling inspired to continue on my decluttering journey.

    • TyrannyofPink says:

      Thanks Luanita, I think if we understand why we keep the stuff we keep, we can start to deal with it. Every little bit helps… and the journey of a 1000miles begins with a single step 🙂

      Good luck on your decluttering journey and thanks for stopping by!

  3. ruthmeaney says:

    I come from a long line of hoarders. But have recently started to really declutter and it’s wonderful!! Great article with some great suggestions. Thank you x

    • TyrannyofPink says:

      Ruth you should be so proud of yourself. I know how hard taking that first step can be! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! xx

  4. Beth Blacker says:

    I have no problem with purging…I do it on a regular basis and can’t wait for the Great Purge when we finally downsize!

    • TyrannyofPink says:

      Beth, you are a rare individual. I LOVE chucking out stuff too but generally I think people struggle – especially with the sentimental stuff.

  5. Kaitlyn says:

    I seriously need to declutter…. If only you could see my home!!!!

    • TyrannyofPink says:

      No time like the present 🙂 It’s a tough thing to get started on but it’s so worth it.. you should share your “decluttering” successes with me if you get around to tacking it! x

  6. Nicole says:

    The dreaded “d word”–declutter–at least it’s that way for me. I really resonate with you–the stuff with no home gets on my nerves too! With 4 kids, a dog and cat, and husband coupled with a fairly active lifestyle, things get messy pretty fast around my home! You’ve inspired me to tackle a little of my decluttering–at least in my home office so I can feel more efficient. By the way, love how your blog looks!

    • TyrannyofPink says:

      Nicole, I hear you! I have a troop of dogs, cats and a husband who LOVE to leave a trail of junk behind them. I eventually settled on a man cave for my husband where I could just close the door – out of sight, out of mind. He’s getting better with age though 🙂 Cleaning my home office always makes me SO happy and usually also inspires me to order new decorative pen holders! A good work space reflects in the work I produce – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! hehe

      Thank you. I must say, I love my blog look. It does feel very me!

  7. Steph says:

    I always do feel better when i take the time to declutter – I’m definitely fall into every one of the categories you mentioned though! Need to make this a priority “to-do”!

    • TyrannyofPink says:

      Steph admitting the problem is the first step 😉 It’s true though isn’t it.. you feel ready to tackle the world after chucking out a few old pieces of junk!

  8. jeanwise says:

    Inspiring me to get to work! Paper clutter is my worse enemy. I have copies of things I want to keep but not right away. need to work on a better filing system

    • TyrannyofPink says:

      Jean, I have that same issue with paper clutter. I’ve eventually found that having a “deal with later in tray” has made my life so much easier. Then once a month I file everything!!

  9. maddy1953 says:

    Oh dear, that procrastination gets me every time. Ten minutes you say? I might try it!

    • TyrannyofPink says:

      Maddy, it’s the baby steps that count.. start small and work your way up. The feeling of accomplishment is SO worth it! 🙂

  10. I always say if you don’t use something for a few months be rid of it. I don’t like clutter in my home. A very good blog; thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • TyrannyofPink says:

      ABSOLUTELY. I am a firm believer in that way of life too. If you don’t use something, it’s just clogging up your life and I believe that your home is a reflection of your mind. If you surround yourself in useless things – it’s maybe a sign of something deeper going on. Thanks for reading and the positive feedback!

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