Here are 10 lessons I learned after a year of decluttering. Yes It took us over a year to declutter our home.
I had never heard of the word “declutter”, until a few years ago. I must have been living under a rock! Today I am sharing 10 lessons I learned after a year of decluttering. Yes of course we cleaned out our “stuff” when we didn’t need it anymore, but I had never analyzed everything in my life before. In 2011 I moved from New Zealand to California. We whittled all of our items down to four pieces of luggage. I had debated shipping some items to California, but the price to ship the items out weighed the items worth. I guess we were minimalists and didn’t even know it LOL.
The clutter started to arrive when we had kids. We moved into our condo and started decorating. At the time I felt the more decorations I have the nicer my home will look. Then we added kids and next thing you know we had a lot of clutter.
By the time our second child arrived I started to feel really overwhelmed, but I couldn’t quite figure out why. As a stay at home mom I felt a large part of my day was picking up toys. Also organizing toys became my new hobby. In 2016 I happened to watch the documentary Minimalism. This struck a chord with me and immediately I realized I had too much stuff.
After a year of decluttering I learned quite a few lessons.
Active Decluttering = Time
I don’t care what anyone says, deep decluttering takes a lot of time. When I first started decluttering I got rid of the obvious things. As time went on I realized I could get rid of more and more. The only way you realize this is with time. I am in that financial category where I don’t want to have to replace things I realize I needed. As the decluttering process went on I would be very aware of what I was using and what I wasn’t.
My process was to go room by room and closet by closet to figure out what I needed. I didn’t want to rip the whole house apart in one weekend, become overwhelmed and quit. Slow was the way to go. If you have a lot to declutter pick out one item to declutter everyday. By the end of the year you will have 365 items less than the year before.
By decluttering we gained a lot of space! I had people walk into my house and say, “wow it looks a lot bigger in here”. It was true there was more space to move around. It can take a little while to adjust to having less. I was so use to having a lot of furniture. More furniture, allowed more items to be put on that furniture. Once I started eliminating furniture we didn’t need, I was able to eliminate the “decor” that went on that furniture.
Less Time Cleaning
When I first decluttered I thought I would never have to clean again! Well I was WRONG! You will still have to clean your home, but the cleaning process will go a lot faster. I realized having less decor meant less items to dust and move around. I still decorate because that makes me happy and makes our home cozy, but I don’t have a lot of decor.
Less Pick Up
The less we have the less I have to actively sort and pick up. This was especially true with toys. Toys can take over your home. When we first started our decluttering journey we kept toys in our living room. Looking at a wall full of toys made me feel like my house was a daycare. No matter how I organized the toys they would end up everywhere. I would put them away in bins and next thing you know they are dumped all over the living room. Once I started eliminating a lot of excess toys my home started to look a lot nicer.
I decided I was only going to keep the amount of toys that would fit into our boys room. Anything that couldn’t fit into their room would have to go.
Not Buying More
The more I decluttered the less I brought into our home. I immediately made the connection between decluttering and shopping. The last thing I want to do after decluttering is shop for a bunch of stuff that I am going to need to declutter again! I have become extremely aware of what enters our home, this includes; clothing, toys, furniture, papers, and especially items that can’t be used all the time. Also known as seasonal decor.
Once the majority of our decluttering was finished I realized I had a lot of time on my hands. All the time I use to spend shopping and organizing left me with some extra time on my hands. With this time I decided to start a YouTube channel and start working more on this blog. I also started to look at how I was spending my time.
I no longer live on autopilot. What I mean by this is I question why we do certain things or feel we have to do certain things. For instance I always felt every season I needed some new clothes. Now instead of buying new clothes every season I actually look at what I have and see if I really do need anything. This last summer I realized I didn’t need any summer clothes because I had enough. Another example is birthday parties. I use to put pressure on myself to throw a themed birthday party for my son every year. Now I remove the pressure and I only do a party if we are up for it.
By having less I am able to stay more organized. It is kinda obvious, but by getting rid of the stuff you don’t use frees up space for the items you need. I have also assigned every item in my home a place to live. Before decluttering there were always items that would float around our home. For instance my husband’s lunch box! He would come home from work and the lunch box would be shuffled around the kitchen. I finally realized EVERYTHING needs a spot, even items that come and go from our home.
Live in the Now
More than ever I am trying to live in the present moment. I think it is so easy to be caught up in a race towards something, having more or wanting more. Yes it is great to have goals and things I want to achieve, but I have realized it is very important to enjoy the moments we are in right now. When I had my first son I was always looking for the next milestone. Through the decluttering process something clicked and I realized I needed to really enjoy every moment for what it is right now. There is a saying “these are the good old days”. This saying can’t be more true. It’s easy to look to the past and say it was so much better or think it will be better when I have …
Movements Towards the Future
Decluttering led me to think about our future in a different way. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the thought of our future and where we will be in 5 or 10 years. I started making achievable goals toward our future. Again with the sayings, “a wall is made by laying one brick at a time”. This saying stuck in my head. It really worked for decluttering especially when I was overwhelmed. Decluttering one item, one room, or one closet at a time really helped. The same applies to how I think of our future now. I try to only think about the current steps I need to take to head in the right direction towards my goal.
I have learned so much from decluttering! My life looks completely different than it did two years ago, when our journey began.
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