Decluttering and minimalist living continue to be hot topics, and for good reason — many of us have a lot of things we don’t necessarily need in our homes.
Old clothes and folders of documents (physical and digital), sound familiar? We’ve all been there, and failing to declutter our lives could be doing us more harm than good.
Daily Hive caught up with author, speaker, and life-biz organizer, Jane Stoller during the launch of her second book, Decluttering for Dummies, to discover what holds us back from decluttering and the steps needed to take action.
In her book, she explores the topic of mental decluttering, getting rid of clutter at home or in the office, and digital decluttering. “Clutter has a lot of psychological implications on families, kids, surroundings, and having a clear focus. It’s connected with our productivity,” Stoller explains.
So, why do we hold on to clutter? “Many of us are emotional clutter bugs; we hang on to things because they’re sentimental or we think we have memories in them. Another reason is how we’re brought up,” says Stoller.
Is it too late to make decluttering a part of your lifestyle now? Absolutely not. The start of 2020 sounds like the perfect time for us, so here are six expert-approved steps to follow.
Start working on your decluttering mindset
Refocusing and having a decluttering mindset is key to getting started. Stoller explains that doing this brings about positive benefits like being more productive and focused on your goals, showing up better in the lives of your family members and also at work, whether you’re an entrepreneur or if you work in an office. “Being able to feel a bit lighter, more secure, and not worrying about stuff all the time — it gives you a kind of seamless approach.”
Tackle your bedroom first
Your bedroom is the first thing you see in the morning, and you automatically go to your closet. This is the place where you either start losing or gaining time, according to Stoller. Decluttering your bedroom first lets you set the face for the rest of your tasks. If you’re sharing a closet, it’s even more important to be laser-focused and only have clothes front and centre that make you feel good, the items you wear 80% of the time. “Start small with the closet and then move on to the rest of your house.”
Examine the digital clutter in your life
Have you ever thought that your digital life could be causing you clutter stress? Stoller says take your number one digital cluttered mess and focus on that in 2020. Maybe it’s an email inbox, files, or perhaps photos — start with one area only. “Digital clutter is stressing us out even more than our spaces are. Try and make a system that you can easily sustain.”
Pro tip: don’t declutter all your books and then buy new books because you feel like you don’t have any.
Don’t get additional storage (unless it’s absolutely necessary)
Living in smaller apartments is something we’re used to at this point, but when do we stop hoarding stuff? Self-storage is already a billion-dollar industry, and it’s only going to grow further if we’re not smart with organizing and decluttering. Stoller mentions how a client of hers spent $6,000 on a storage unit in two years and never went to it once. “If you’re moving and need to rent a storage unit for a few months, that’s okay, but not if you never use the stuff.”
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Focus on bringing value into your life
Stoller stresses that minimalist living can mean different things for everyone. “Minimalism should mean you bring only things into your home that really add value to your life.” You can have a lot of one certain thing (shoes, for example) if you use the items, appreciate them, and make an intentional decision to bring them into your space. But if not, decluttering needs to happen. “You can feel a lot more intentional about your time and your space if you try to live a minimalist life.”
Incorporate small tasks into your regular routine
Some of the biggest misconceptions around decluttering are that it’s overwhelming, not fun, and takes a long time to complete. Stoller explains that it can be an enjoyable process and you don’t have to do it all at once. “It’s easy to incorporate decluttering into your everyday life, even for 10 minutes per day. It doesn’t mean we need to be perfect; it’s aimed at benefiting your lifestyle.”
Discover more tips for decluttering in 2020 by following Jane Stoller on Instagram.