GETTING ORGANIZED | What Happens When You Declutter Your Life

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March 10, 2014 by Erin C

how to declutter


It can be comforting right? A little cozy…and like you have “stuff”. It’s nice.

So why would you want to get rid of it?

Well, what is clutter? It’s stuff. Lots of it…that has little to no meaning or use to you in your day to day life and takes up space. It overstimulates you, causes you to take way longer to search for things, generally causes mental stress and keeps you in a mental holding pattern of a specific place and time when those things mattered. It’s holding you back.

The Cost of Clutter

Messy mail, clutter

What Happens When you Declutter

  1. You create space for new things to come into your life

I’m a big believer in the idea that if you clear the physical and emotional junk out of your life that you create a vacuum that life will jump into and fill with new opportunities. The key is being comfortable with that empty space and not trying to jump into it and fill it right away with nonsense, even if it’s a little unnerving at first.

2. You reduce your stress levels

When you are constantly overstimulated by junk and stuff to look at and deal with you naturally end up at a higher stress level. Decrease the clutter, decrease your stress.

3. You allow for focused thinking

It makes sense then that when half your mental energy isn’t being fractured between organizing, cleaning, sorting, searching for lost things and stressing over the junk in your home that there would be time to finally focus your thinking and put your energy into things that are truly important and meaningful to you.

So…there are a lot of reasons to get started.

For me, there’s an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment that surfaces when I declutter that makes me feel like I’m on a roll and have forward momentum. It’s a positive and energizing feeling.

That’s not the way everyone feels however.

So where does one begin?

Getting Started

Create Guiding Principles

The first thing to do is take some time to create some guiding principles for this process. The WHY if you will. Take a moment and explain to yourself WHY the clutter needs to go and WHY it would be awesome for it to be gone. How would your life be different? Describe the life and the space you want to live in. Think of it in a holistic sense. Get visual images of interesting interior decorating ideas. Inspiring ideas for sorting or organizing. Describe the feelings that go with that life – later you are going to use that framework to help you decide what’s coming on the bus with you moving forward or whether it’s served it’s purpose and should have another home.

Give Yourself Some Options

The trash heap isn’t the only place your clutter can go. Give yourself some options or you’ll end up keeping everything. Try 4 piles:

  • Keep & Organize
  • Recycle
  • Donate
  • Trash
Get a System

Even if you like getting rid of clutter (like me) sometimes you just need someone to tell you exactly what to do and how to do it.

I found a book a few years ago by Gail Blanke that really helped me reframe decluttering called:

Throw Out 50 Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life

It ended up being a huge help and a big mind shift for me in terms of organizing and streamlining. Her idea is to throw out 50 things, but what she really means is:

a) targeting one room in your house at a time and,

b) editing 50 categories of stuff

For example:

Thing #1 = Make Up…but more specifically Lip Products

Room: Bathroom  Category: Make Up   Item: Lip Products

Checking off this one thing would mean going through all of my purses and drawers to find all of the lip gloss, lip sticks, lip balms I have and editing them. Throwing out ones I’ve had for years (kinds gross thinking about that) and tossing ones I never wear and finding a home for the few remaining that I like and wear on a regular basis.

The idea is to target 1 thing a day, write it down/track your progress towards the 50 goal mark and keep going until you hit it.

Stick with one room at a time and then move onto the next,

Here are some of the categories that were big ones for me:

  • Towels
  • Shampoo/Conditioners
  • Perfumes
  • Nail Polishes
  • Eye Shadows
  • Mascaras
  • 1/2 Used Face Washes that don’t work for me
  • Sheets/Bedding
  • Belts
  • Dresses
  • Wardrobe (in general – weeding out things that don’t fit or I haven’t worn in a year)
  • Shoes
  • Books
  • Pens
  • Hangers
  • Tupperware
  • Condiments
  • Cleaning products
  • Toys
  • Place Mats
  • Serving Dishes
  • Glasses/Mugs (that I never use but take up space)
  • Teas/Coffees
  • Freezer
  • Mops/Brooms
Living Room:
  • CDs/DVDs (that you don’t watch or listen to)
  • Books
  • Knick Knacks (be ruthless)
  • Photos/Frames
  • Candles
  • Pillows

There you go. Almost 50 things on the list already!

Good luck, stay positive and remember your end reason for decluttering your life.


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So glad you made it. I'm Erin. I've got 2 kids, student loans and a shopping habit. Luckily I've also got a knack for finding great deals and a passion for making sure moms take care of themselves too. I hope you love my blog!

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