Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My Favorite and Trusty Decluttering Principles

Trusty Decluttering Principles and Ideas!

"Does it spark joy?" 
Full transparency: I haven't read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It's popularity was soaring enough, though, that I got the main idea. (And the folding technique! Game-changer!) The idea is that you should not keep items unless it makes you happy. I found that many items in my house instantly sparked happiness and it was a no-brainer to keep those things. Other things didn't. I had a picture frame that had to be propped up just right or it would fall over-I was always annoyed with it. So, why would should I keep it up? 

Some items aren't as easily identified as being joy-sparkers. For example, wearing a pair of socks might not exactly make you happy, but you'll see that there are pairs you always reach for and some you don't. The ones you always reach for are obviously favored, so keep those and toss the rest. 

TLDR: If it makes you happy or has a purpose, it's serving you just fine and you should keep it! 

"Is it a Just-In-Case item or a Just-For-When item?"
I heard this principle on The Minimalists Podcast. It made perfect sense to me, and I think it really marries well with the sparking joy principle. 

There is a big difference between holding on to an item 'just in case' versus 'just for when...'. Let me try to explain. You may have a snowboard, gloves, a mask and a ski jacket. If you are holding on to them just in case you might go snowboarding one day, you can probably get rid of those items. But, if you and your family go snowboarding every year, then you have those items just for when you go on your annual vacation. In that case, you can probably hang on to that stuff. It serves a purpose, it's not there just in case. 

This step actually requires you to go a little deeper than surface level. It causes you to really analyze why you are keeping things. It helped me to see reality versus what I would like to do in a fantasy version of my life. 

"Would I Buy This Again?"...At Full Price
If you were in a store right now, and saw your item on the shelf, would you buy it again? And if you aren't positive, ask yourself if you would buy it again, at full price. I found this question very polarizing! It helped me to decide whether to keep something or not very quickly, because the reality is most of the time it's a no. 

There are those favorite things that you have, though, that you know you'd scoop up ten of if you had the chance. I'm one of those weird people who finds a pair of pants that I like, and then buys every color they make it in. (True story. I have 6 pairs of the same ankle pants from Old Navy.) That's what I want my life to be filled with-my favorite stuff! Nothing I'm not completely happy with. 

"Organized Clutter Is Still Clutter."
My house was always neat and tidy, and people complimented how organized things were before I decluttered. So, why did I need to declutter an already organized house? Because, the clutter was hiding in about 100 bins throughout my house. Everything was tucked away or neatly spaced in cabinets. 

The thing is, organized clutter is still clutter. I had to go through everything! I can't even tell you what random junk I found hiding around the house. Scraps of cardstock were nicely placed inside my craft supply rubbermaid. Those scraps were literal garbage that I thought I'd keep 'just in case'. For what, I dunno. No one knew they were there, except me. The crazy thing was after my big purge, I had and still have several empty rubbermaids and bins that I was able to eliminate because of decluttering and consolidating.  

"Do I Already Have Something That I Could Use Instead?"
The cherry on top of organizing, is organizing without spending any money. I am huge proponent of shopping your own house first! This principle can be applied to little things, like kitchen tools. If you already have a good knife set, the chances of you needing an avocado pitter or melon baller are lower. (Except, I definitely kept my grapefruit knife..that thing is totally worth it.) If you have something that can do the job already, eliminate the extra. 

This is a great money saver too! About a month ago, our ottoman in the living room pretty much bit the dust. (#puglife) Before we went out and bought a new one, I remembered I had a small bench under our guest room desk. Because no one really uses that desk as a desk, I decided to shop our house first and move it into the living room. We will get a new one eventually, but only when we find the perfect solution. 

And because everyone loves a good before and after, I thought I'd share a little project my mom and I worked on this month! We were able to overhaul my parent's walk in closet, dresser, linen closet and bathroom cabinet. I haven't gotten to declutter in awhile, since my house is pretty much finished. Although, it's never going to really be finished! You do have to constantly reevaluate so that you can stay clutter free!

Trusty Decluttering Principles and Ideas!Trusty Decluttering Principles and Ideas!

Trusty Decluttering Principles and Ideas!Trusty Decluttering Principles and Ideas!
We were able to collect and donate 5 full black bags, an air mattress, and a bookshelf after just a few hours!

Okay everybody, leave a comment below if you love before and afters! Do you struggle with decluttering, or are you happy to get rid of stuff? What questions do you ask yourself when deciding whether or not to keep something? 

17 comments:

  1. Loved this post so much, Kristen! I am someone who struggles so hard with organization and living a minimalist lifestyle. However, this post inspired me so much.

    Felicity | http://oliverandmoose.com

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    1. Awesome! I'm so glad you found something helpful here. I've just benefited SO much from simplifying that I feel compelled to share stuff like this.

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  2. I like the idea of just in case vs. just for when. I've never thought about things in that respect. I need to tidy up our home. We only just moved in in October but a bunch of stuff was thrown into corners or closets so that we could feel "settled."

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    1. Isn't it interesting! I hadn't thought of it that way either. Moving is a so hard and such a process. You really need to stuff things into corners until you figure out what you actually need from your space! You'll get it sorted soon enough!

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  3. I have always been someone who holds on to everything and collects too much little junk. In the last two years or so, I've gotten into decluttering. I am still a newbie and still have A LOT to do, but I get a little thrill every time I find something to get rid of.

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    1. It is a thrill!! I totally agree. I think it's actually good for the brain.

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  4. Wow, these questions/ideas are insanely challenging!! My instinct is to buy things that are inexpensive even if they aren't the PERFECT fit....so if they were full price? I probably wouldn't get them!! Gah. All of this is so good to think about!!

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    1. Exactly Julie, you got it! Of course we all need to be reasonable, but you really shouldn't be forced to own anything that isn't serving you perfectly. I'm glad you found something useful from my post!

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  5. I have no problem getting rid of stuff that I don't use or need :) My husband on the other hand....we say he's a "collector"!

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    1. Oh goodness, I've heard this over and over again! Most married couples are opposites, so it's really not surprising to have two different approaches to things like this. Just do what you can! My husband took a few things out of my donate pile, and I was fine with that because he lives there too!

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  6. I'm working on completely re-doing my master closet and getting more organized. These were great tips! Sierra~Beautifully Candid

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    1. Please, please post before and afters Sierra! I'd love to see!!

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  7. I love throwing things out haha! there have only been a few times that I've regretted donating apparel, out with the old and in with the new (if needed) :)

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  8. This post is perfectly timed for spring cleaning!

    ​xx katie // a touch of teal

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  9. Such great tips - I definitely need to apply them and declutter. My closet could use a good sorting out - still holding on to clothes that don't fit me but I want to be able to fit into again. HA

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  10. You really are brilliant at this! I think it really has to become an entire outlook to work - without hiding areas (like the garage) - I found some really rubbish in mine today - things I'd kept like a lidded cat litter tray without a door - WHY. It will take weeks to get done and I will need to read your garage post again. I kept getting image flashes of it while seeing piles of old garbage out there - you have motivated me to get it done! :)

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  11. Reading your post made me realise that I too am guilty of organised clutter. I have stuff everywhere but if you saw my house you'd think i'm organised...
    Now onto your decluttering: Oh wow, 5 bags is A LOT.
    I edit my closet every.single.month one piece at the time, I usually get rid of about 10 pieces a month, in fact I just posted what i got rid of....

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