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Decluttering has been a trend for a while now. Thumbs up to Marie Kondo, a Japanese decluttering and tidying-up guru. But do we fully understand what it is all about? Do we need to throw out everything we don’t use or does not spark joy? And if we manage to do that, do we suddenly become happier and fight off anxiety?

Certainly, decluttering can help organise your life and reduce stress and anxiety. However, it might be very challenging and sometimes even intimidating to start. Worse even, it can be very emotional. And that’s one of the main reasons we fail. 

Why is decluttering important?

It saves time and money. Less shopping, less stuff needing maintenance and cleaning, less time searching for things, and less time organising and putting away.

Reduces stress and anxiety. Get rid of visual clutter and create calmer and more relaxing surroundings.  

Better money management. Become more intentional with your spending and what you bring to your home.

More time to pursue other activities and passions. No more wasting hours on various shopping apps.

Decluttering Methods

There are different approaches to decluttering out there. You can immerse yourself fully or take it at your own pace. It depends on your starting point, energy levels, patience and character traits. It is helpful to look into different decluttering methods for inspiration and ideas, especially if we don’t know where to start and how to cope. 

Marie Condo Method

Marie Condo’s method is not for the faint of heart. It does require making lots of mess before you can enjoy decluttered spaces. Marie advocated keeping only items you use or ones that spark joy and decluttering the rest. To declutter like Marie, you should sort out your entire home by categories and similar bits, not room by room. For example, to organise and declutter your stationery, you will gather all of your office supplies from all drawers, purses, home office etc., pile them up in one place and then organise. 

The Minimalists’ 20/20 decluttering method 

According to the minimalists, you should get rid of items if they cost $20 or less, and you can replace them in 20 mins or less. Now that is an effortless way to salute all the small and useless bits and pieces scattered around the house. 

Quarantine box decluttering method

Put any items you are unsure about in a “quarantine box” and close it without labelling it. Wait a few months. The idea behind this method is that you should try living without those items for some time to be able to make a decision. 

Backward hanger method

This method helps you declutter your wardrobe of clothing items that just never get used. All hangers should be facing the same direction at the beginning, then turn them when you hang back any used items, so you can see clearly what gets worn and what does not.

How long will you keep useless clothing in your closet before removing it? Is it three months? Six? One year? When the time is up, toss, sell or donate unwanted items. 

messy overstuffed closed that needs decluttering

Four box decluttering method

This method is suitable for beginners and is easy to implement. You will need four boxes labelled “put away”, “give away”, “throw away”, and “undecided”. Move around the room and put all out-of-place items into one of the four boxes. When finished, sort out the boxes. Throw away the rubbish, give away box can go straight to your car to be dropped off at the donation centre, and put away items to their proper places. The undecided box can be dealt with straight away or at a later date. 

Fly Lady suggests short decluttering sprints every day. Use a timer and get to work without distractions. Spend 10 to 15 mins every day. The entire house should be clutter-free in a few months. 

No Mess Decluttering method

This method is perfect for busy and overwhelmed people. You can tackle very small or large areas of your home. This method also allows you to stop at any moment without leaving piles of things that need sorting and putting away. Thanks to Dana K White for this one. In a nutshell, take out any trash and broken or expired items first. Then take any bits that do not belong in that area and take them to their proper place immediately. The next step is to gather items that you will donate, box them and take the box straight to your car. 

minimalist organised decluttered wardrobe

Where to start?

Commit not to buy anything new while you are decluttering. No home decor items, no new clothing, no new storage boxes. Use only what you already have.

Decide on the most critical areas of your home that need decluttering and organising. 

Pick a method that inspires you the most. Then decide how long (for example, a month) to try it out.

Opt for progress and not perfection. Decluttering is a journey. You should be able to learn a lot about yourself and your family while you’re at it. Explore and do your best to keep an open mind and learn.

minimalist clutter free esentialist bathroom

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