HOW TO DECLUTTER/TYPES OF CLUTTER ?

So you want to declutter your life? Great!

In this article, I will give you some tips and famous methods of decluttering.

Tips and tricks :

  • Document yourself. Google and YouTube are your best friends. Try taping “miminalism”, “how to begin with minimalism?”. You can also find some inspiration of my article : Minimalism Inspirations
  • Start small. Don’t try to declutter your house all at once, you will feel overwhelmed for sure. Pick a drawer, a closet, a room if you feel up to the challenge. Baby steps are always best. And remember, it’s a lifestyle change, do it at you own pace.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. We are all different. Your definition of minimalism won’t be the same as mine. I know it’s hard because you can feel guilty “I am not a minimalist, I have too much stuff”, “I can’t get rid of everything, how can I be considered as a minimalist?”. Relax. For some people, I am not a minimalist either and that’s fine. As long as you are proud of yourself, that’s the most important.
  • Celebrate every little step! don’t go shopping but treat yourself with a massage, a coffee with your best friend.
  • At first, keep it for yourself. Your friends and family might not understand why you are decluttering, and might try to talk you out of it, and might call you crazy.

Methods :

  • Packing party : Start by packing up your house in boxes, as if you were moving in the next few days/weeks. If you need something, pick it up in the box. After 30 days/60 days, as long as you are ready, get rid of the remaining items in the boxes.
  • Minimalism game : Try doing it with a friend, it’s fun and you can challenge him/her during the process. On the first day, you need to get rid of one item. On the second day, get rid of two. On the third day, get rid of three. When I say get rid of something, try donating/recycling/upcycling the item first. If you can’t do it, trashing the object should be your last resort. At the end of the month, you should have decluttered about 500 items!

Types of clutter :

Everyone has clutter in their life, even me (haha!). Let’s talk about those different types of clutter and what we can do about it!

  1. Bargain clutter. You are buying things/stuff just because they are on sale, even though you know you don’t need them. You justify buying those things by saying “it was on sale, it’s a bargain !”. I have been guilty of this one in the past, because I didn’t have a lot of money and I would go shopping during sales and buy random things on the clearance shelf.
    What can you do about it ? It’s all about discipline. When you feel the urge to buy something because it is on sale, try asking yourself those questions : Do I want to buy it because it is on sale or because I really need it ? If it wasn’t on sale, would I still buy it ?
    And what about the item that I already have ? Try donating or selling them, they are cluttering your space if you are not getting any use out of them.
  2. Expensive stuff clutter. You don’t use those items, and you keep telling yourself “I spend so much money on this, I can’t/don’t want to get rid of it”. Maybe they are clothes you bought years ago, but because of the price you paid, you don’t want to let them go. Everything depreciate with time. The shirt you bought 150€ ten years ago won’t be worth 150€ today, that’s for sure. If you haven’t used it for years and it is still in great condition, try selling it, to make some money back. You can always donate them to your local charity shop.
  3. “Fantasy self” clutter. Those are the things you bought because of your fantasy self. Maybe you are dreaming of going camping one day, so you went to the outdoor shop and bought a tent and a sleeping bag, but in fact, it’s been sitting in your closet for ages and your are not using it. It is time to break up with your fantasy self and let those items go.
  4. Emotional clutter. It might be one of the hardest type of clutter to part with, but it is an important one. Emotional clutter is all about negative emotions you have been holding on from old relationships, family situations. You can let them go by writing them down, or by saying things out loud, going outside in the forest and yelling… it’s up to you to find the best way to do it 🙂
  5. Sentimental clutter. Don’t try to declutter your life by starting with sentimental items, or you will probably feel overwhelmed quickly. Those items are the one that reminds you of memories, and which can bring back some nostalgia too. They no longer spark joy or add value to your life. Letting go of those items doesn’t mean you are getting rid of the memories, you just don’t need the physical item to remember those moments of your life. If you want, you can also take a picture of the item before letting it go, and then store them digitally.
    I have definitely gotten rid of sentimental items that didn’t spark joy anymore.
  6. Behavioral clutter. This is all the habits you have developed that make your space look/feel cluttered. examples : everytime you come home, you don’t hang up your jacket, you don’t put your shoes away in a closet, you live out of your laundry basket, you don’t sort your mail each time it comes and then you end up with a cluttered space. The only thing you can do about it is to break those habits. I found that always having a clutter-free space helps me create and reduce my anxiety level.

Thanks to the video of Ronald L. Banks for the inspiration 🙂