When I first began my simplicity journey I wanted my home de-cluttered – ASAP.
I felt suffocated. I had always been mildy irritated with the amount of stuff we had accumulated over the years but when I started to read and understand more about simple living, I became acutely aware of the clutter surrounding me and I wanted it gone.
A packing party wasn’t a viable option – not with four kids and a 3000 square foot home. I opted instead, to do a little bit everyday. Some days I cleaned out a drawer. When I had more time (and inspiration) I de-cluttered a closet or an entire bedroom.
It’s been a slow process and one that is yet to be complete, but I’ve reached a stage where I feel content (for the most part) about the stuff that has survived the purge.
When you start to de-clutter your home, it helps to build a routine so that you are de-cluttering on a regular basis. When you see the results of your efforts the process becomes almost addictive and you can’t stop giving stuff away!
Trust me when I say that the hardest part is starting.
I hope the list I’ve put together inspires you to get started. There’s no order to the list, feel free to pick and choose.
1. Pick three things from your closet and donate them (just pick 3 things you haven’t worn in the last 6 months).
2. Go through your medicine cabinet and throw out anything that is past the expiry date.
3. Go through your make-up and beauty products and throw away the stuff that you haven’t used in the last 6 months – it’s probably expired anyway! If you have products that are unopened or practically new (and they’re not expired) give them to someone who will use them.
4. Get rid of broken toys that can’t be fixed or haven’t been fixed for awhile (if you think you’ll fix it, then give it a week. If it’s still not fixed get rid of it).
5. Donate toys that you rarely allow your kids to play with because they are either too noisy or too messy.
6. Clean out your pantry. Throw out food that has expired.
7. Clean out a cupboard.
8. Clean out a drawer.
9. Donate a box of books: Old text books or novels you’ve read (you’re unlikely to re-read them). Perhaps you have a stack of old magazines?
10. De-clutter your bedside table.
11. Go through your DVD/CD collection. Be honest with yourself. Are you going to watch that movie for the umpteenth time?
12. Go through your closet and donate everything you haven’t worn in the last 3 (or 6 months).
13. Go through your Summer shoes and donate the ones you didn’t wear last Summer.
14. Do the same with your Winter boots. Do you have more than one pair of Winter boots? Do you need more than one pair? :)
15. Shred old documents: Bills and bank account statements that are over a year old, old passeports, your kid’s report cards from 3 years ago.
16. Shred your high school report cards from 20 years ago (I know some of you have kept these)!
17. Contact Canada Post to stop the delivery of junk mail (read more about how to stop junk mail here).
18. Donate the books that your children don’t like or don’t read, and the ones that they have outgrown.
19. De-clutter your inbox. This is on my to-do list and Leo at zenhabits has written a fantastic how-to post.
20. If you have big items that you no longer use or need (and they’re in decent condition) take pictures and place adverts on Kijiji or ebay. You’ll get rid of them and make money in the process. It’s a great feeling :)
21. Sort through your cookbook collection. I have a few that I use on a regular basis but I find I increasingly rely on recipes that I find on the internet. How about you? Do you have a stack of idle cookbooks? You know what to do :)
Just pick one… and get it done!
Once you make your way through the list, you’ll think of many, many more ways to continue the de-cluttering process. Good luck!