Let’s face it. Not everyone is a minimalist. Not everyone can get up one day and decide to throw all items that don’t “spark joy” in their house. For many of us, it just isn’t that simple.
There are things we own that don’t necessarily spark joy, but we can’t easily let go of, especially if they serve special functions. For example, people who are on medication might not say that their medicine cabinet makes them feel happy, but they can’t just throw away pill bottles for that reason. The same goes for your home office, garage workshop, closet, and other parts of your house.
That said, not being a minimalist shouldn’t be a justification for a messy, chaotic house. Take a look at how you store items around your house. Are cans and boxes stacked neatly in your pantry, or do you haphazardly place grocery items on the nearest shelf you can reach every time? Do you empty your laundry basket when it’s full, or do you let clothes pile up until you can’t ignore them anymore? If your belongings are starting to make you feel overwhelmed, and if the thought of trying to organize them feels like a hopeless task, it’s time to declutter.
Effectively organizing your house can make your life so much more stress-free. Not only will you be able to get what you need more easily, having a place that’s clean and orderly is more relaxing and pleasing to the eye. Decluttering can be daunting if the accumulated clutter is more than you can handle, but you can take steps to make it more manageable.
One Step at a Time
This advice may seem like it’s been done to death, but when we hear “one step at a time,” we often think one room at a time. This is alright but could feel overwhelming if the room is big. Instead of thinking about the entire room, look at one section of it. If in the kitchen, don’t look at all of it at once and focus on one cupboard first. Breaking your tasks into smaller ones makes each one more doable.
Taking on each task one by one does not have to be so time-consuming, though. Dedicating an entire day to organizing can be achievable if you live alone, but if you have other family and have more pressing tasks to do, multitasking can be your friend. Tidying up a room while trying to do the laundry? Grab that pile of clothes and get them to the washer already. In your laundry now? Grab those empty detergent bottles on the way out. The trick is to always, always tidy as you go. The more you develop this habit, the easier it will be to keep the house clean.
It’s Always the Season to Clean
Everybody does spring cleaning somehow. Welcoming the new season after winter’s gloomy months feels refreshing and gives you a renewed sense of hope. But don’t always wait for spring to come. A year’s worth of clutter is not worth looking forward to cleaning, after all. A regular schedule to declutter like every month or so can be a good habit to form.
A season in your life can also be a good mark for you to clean up. As your children go through a new chapter in their life, they will need new things and you will have to let go of old stuff. Young children will outgrow their clothes quite fast, so if you have a preschooler, they will constantly need to get upgrades. Every time you get something new, think about letting go of what you replaced.
Make a Checklist and Follow It!
Establishing a routine is hard because oftentimes, we don’t know where to start. In this case, having a checklist partnered with a schedule is very helpful. As mentioned earlier, decide on a regular schedule when you would tidy up and do your best to follow it.
As you pick up stuff, have four piles to help you sort them: keep, throw, donate, and undecided. Your Keep pile will be things that you still need and are using. Throw pile would be where broken, essentially useless stuff go. You can donate things that are still useful but don’t want anymore. Lastly, if you have things that hold sentimental value and you’re unsure whether you should keep or throw them away, put them in the Undecided pile and store them. In your next clean-up schedule, check your Undecided box and decide again.