How do you get started? As simply as possible:
- Take just 10 minutes today to sort though a pile, or declutter a shelf or table or countertop.
- Put everything into one pile, and start with the first thing you pick up (no putting things back in the pile).
- Ask yourself: do you really need this? Do you use it regularly? Do you love it? If the answer to any of these is no, then recycle, donate, or give it to someone who might want it. Put it in a box for these purposes.
- Put things back that you need/use/love, with space between things. This is their “home” and you should always put them back there.
- Stop after 10 minutes, continue tomorrow for another 10 minutes, and so on, one small spot in your home at a time.
- If you want to do more than 10 minutes, go ahead, but be careful not to overdo it in the beginning or you’ll think it’s difficult and not want to continue.
Once you’ve gotten the ball rolling, here’s how to keep going:
- Keep decluttering in small bits. Pick an area to focus on each week.
- Don’t worry about perfection. Just get it simpler. You can always declutter it more later.
- Put your box of donation/recycling/giving away in your trunk, to get rid of next time you’re out. Email friends/family to ask if they want things — often you can find a good home for perfectly good things you don’t really use (that workout equipment).
- If you’re on the fence, use a Maybe Box (put things that you think you might need in a box, mark it with today’s date, put a reminder on your calendar 6 months from now to check on the Maybe Box. If you haven’t used it in 6 months, you probably don’t need it and can get rid of it.
- Get help. Sometimes you just can’t bear to part with yourself, but if you can get an outside person to make the decision (friend or family member), they are usually much more dispassionate and ruthless.
- Enjoy the space. Once you’ve decluttered an area, really focus on how much you love the simplified space. Once you’re hooked on this simplicity, you’re more likely to keep going.