It is springtime, and while most people are getting their spring cleaning on, I find myself once again much more motivated to get rid of clutter, throw things away & organize. I do not like to clean, but I love the feeling of organizing & minimalizing, and in order to really get things cleaned, I need to get the unnecessary out of the way & out of here!
Get Rid Of Clutter
There are 3 big things I have learned that motivates me to get rid of clutter.
~You Cannot Organize Clutter
~Clutter Attracts Clutter
~The More Items You Keep, The More Those Items Will Need From You. (putting them away, dusting them, fixing them when they break, etc)
Throw It Away
Thanks to Pinterest, I don’t subscribe to many magazines anymore. The few catalogs that come in the mail, keep in a round, shallow wooden bowl in my living room, to grab & read when I have a moment of slow living. I purposefully chose this container, as it will only hold a few magazines at a time, so it forces me to cull & recycle magazines before they pile up
These can pile up quickly and if not organized, can become expensive as buying duplicates can be pricey! Check the dates on medications & vitamins & dispose of them properly.
Receipts, Bills & Documents
Get the paper shredder out and get rid of out dates receipts & bills. Something we do every day that really helps with this type of paper clutter is going through the mail shortly after it comes, throwing out what is trash & filing what isn’t. My Todd gets credit for this daily habit.
Now that my girls are all teenagers, we don’t have as many school papers as we did before, at least, the crafty kind. I have a system in our home that works well for school papers. Each girl has a designated drawer in our home office desk. When I find my girls school papers laying around, I will gather them and put them in the drawer to whom they belong. That way I am not throwing away papers that need to be turned in. My girls will go through their own paper drawers when they get full. If you don’t have extra desk drawers, these stackable letter trays work well for this, too. You can use a labeler and put each child’s name on their letter tray.
I stopped keeping boxes “just in case I need them.” I used to keep them just in case I wanted to return the item, store the item or because the box could be used to wrap or mail a gift. I have decided that living a minimal life means getting rid of a lot of things I usually would keep “just in case.” Boxes, no matter what size, take up way too much room to store just have them hanging around. I break them down and take them to recycling as soon as possible.
Extra Plant Pots
I have great plans every year to use up all my pots but have found that they just sit around, year after year. I use a few large pots & got rid of all the small ones, including peat pots that I had good intentions to use, but always end up buying starter plants from the store instead of starting my own. I let go of that ambition to keep life simple.
Pens & Pencils
I have invested in some good quality pens and pencils, and keep them in just a couple of places in the house. I find they last longer than cheap pens and are much more enjoyable to use. There is something about a container of matching pens & pencils that just makes me happy! I keep a jar in our living room area where I like to sit and journal, a few in a kitchen drawer and the rest go in our home office. I also keep a few in my purse.
We just had our kitchen remodeled and updated last summer, and it was a great opportunity to get rid of dishes. Just like my pens and pencils, I am all about dishes that match. No more cupboards full of unmatched cups, mugs, and glasses. I buy square white dishes, use mason jars instead of plastic for food storage, and all other dishes & serving trays white and as simple as possible. These 16 oz goblet glasses are what we use for water now that we have teenagers, we do not have a need for unbreakable glasses or plastic. This has made a huge difference in keeping our kitchen cupboards organized & even simplifies loading the dishwasher since everything matches and fits well.
If a whole season went by and you didn’t wear them, get rid of them! If you don’t love them, get rid of them. If they only will go with a couple of outfits, get rid of them. You won’t believe how good it feels to donate unloved shoes to your local thrift store.
I recently went through our bin of nail polish and was amazed to find how many had become thick & gloppy. Some bottles were even empty & some we couldn’t get the lid off of. It is so nice to just grab the bin and know the few colors left in it will actually open and go on smoothly.
We updated our basement & moved a couple of bookshelves. In the process, we got rid of a bunch of unloved books. Oh my, talk about freeing! I now have empty shelves to decorate with things that I love. I was also amazed at what dust collectors books can be. We all have Kindle Fire’s, so we only kept reference type books & some classics that we couldn’t bear to give away. I noticed most of my cookbooks went, thanks to Pinterest I rarely use them. I also gave away a bunch of gardening books for the same reason...Pinterest! Another huge hull–old piano books that my girls used for piano lessons when they were young.
I tackled my closet last week and got rid of 2 big bags of clothes. Same rule for shoes applies here–if a whole season goes by and you don’t wear it, get rid of it. I started working on a capsule wardrobe, & I’m really enjoying the simplicity of my closet, even if I’m not doing the whole capsule wardrobe perfectly yet, I’m already experiencing how great it is to take away excessive options of what to wear each day.
I recently came up with a new system of jewelry storage & got rid of all my out-dated jewelry. I will share with you soon how I store my jewelry. It is a simple, non-perfect system that includes an egg carton and small cardboard bowls in a dresser drawer. It is not typical but it sure is working for me!
Makeup & Perfume
I am very minimal when it comes to makeup and all that I own can fit in one makeup bag. Yay! I recently went through all hair products, lotions, perfumes & essential oils and kept only that which is pure and that I use daily. Everything else I got rid of.
I used to buy so many notebooks when they went on sale during back-to-school time. Not anymore. It is just extra clutter.
Don’t keep it unless you love it. If it was given to you and you want to remember it but don’t love it, take a picture of it. Did you child make it? Again, take a picture and make an album of their creations instead of keeping every single creation.
These can sit and sit and collect dust. Updating our basement helped us get these moving, but we moved them upstairs and then they sat and collected more dust. Gotta get them out the door, not just moved around!
Minimalize, minimalize, minimalize! It is so easy to keep decor for years because you don’t even see it anymore as it has sat in the same place for so long. Look at each item and think “is this worth the dusting that I have to do to it?” “Does this bring me joy?” “Does this make my home beautiful and warm?” “Is this item dated?”
I am sure there are many more things that one could throw away, but this list is a great start and has really helped me lately. Our home is feeling more and more streamlined & simple, but I do have more work to do, especially when it comes to our craft closet, an upstairs desk, and our laundry room. I am seeing progress, especially as I get rid of clutter instead of trying to organize clutter!
The More Of Less Book
Want more inspiration to get rid of clutter and learn just how much purpose there is in doing so? Joshua Becker’s The More of Less is super inspiring and one of my favorite reads. Buy it on Amazon here.
What about you? Does clutter frustrate you? What are your clutter problem areas? Do you have a hard time throwing things away?