Declutter – How To Let Stuff Go And Move Forward

This article is all about decluttering your home, letting Go of some stuff and moving forward.

I have not met anyone yet that looks forward to decluttering their home.  Depending on how much clutter you have accumulated in your physical space this can be a joyless task for some. Even though I love to get rid of stuff I still find certain areas and items tough to make a decision about keeping or discarding.

a joyous lady in a field on a sunny day

A mood lifter

That said the decluttering process can be incredibly rewarding. During the pandemic I did a small kitchen renovation job. The joy this brought me was immeasurable. I feel this way when I declutter a closet or area I haven’t paid much attention to for a while.

Expensive material possessions do not mean much to me, so it is not hard for me to eliminate meaningless physical things from my environment. I am a firm believer of keeping only functional, useful items and maybe a couple pieces of special handmade art pieces that I have collected from other artists over the years.

We all get wrapped up in our busy lives, raising our families and spending usually too much time at our paying jobs to notice the clutter piling up. 

Whether you’re moving to a new home or simply trying to create a more organized living space, decluttering is an essential step in moving forward and letting go of the past. By getting rid of items that no longer serve a purpose in your life, you can create a more peaceful and functional home environment.


The first step in decluttering your home is to assess your belongings. This is sort of like a shop keeper taking an inventory of the goods he has in stock so the decision about what to replenish can be an informed decision.

This means taking a close look at everything you own and deciding what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. It can be helpful to start your decluttering session one room at a time, and to break the process down into smaller, more manageable tasks.

If the idea of getting rid of a whole room of physical clutter is too much for you start with one small area, a drawer, a cabinet or one box. If you have a big project and take small steps to declutter your physical objects on a regular basis you will not only get the job done, you may have done so with less stress.

Taking one small step at a time may be the best approach for you. It just takes a little mindset shift.

An easy place to start

Where you start is not important, starting is. Just start. Pick up the object closest to you and ask yourself if you need it. Pretty simple. If you plan to keep the item, put it away- now, yes right now. If the thing does not have a designated place to live adopt one.

That said a very easy place to start is to dump out the contents of your junk drawer(s) and toss the things you really don’t need. You know what I am talking about! The broken elastics and twist ties etc.

Once you’ve decided what to keep and what to get rid of, it’s important to find a new home for the items you’re letting go of. 

This might mean donating them to a local charity, selling them online or at a garage sale, or simply throwing them away. By taking the time to properly dispose of your belongings, you can feel good about the positive impact you’re having on both your own life, and others if you are donating.

Understanding decluttering

What is decluttering

Decluttering is the process of getting rid of the physical items you don’t use, need, often do not want or even see. Cleaning out these things is the first step to create a more organized and functional living area.

This can include anything from clothes, books, and furniture, to sentimental items that are no longer needed. One of the the goals of decluttering is to reduce the amount of clutter in a space, making it easier to keep clean. A clean home effects your physical health in a postive way. Studies also show reducing the clutter will reduce your stress levels.

abstract colorful flowers - collage like design

The benefits of decluttering

Decluttering has a number of benefits, both physical and mental. By removing unnecessary items from your space, you will create more room, making it easier to move around and reducing the risk of accidents. This can be especially important in small spaces, where clutter can quickly become overwhelming.

For me I have a hard time focusing or relaxing in a space that contains too much stuff. The clutter totally distracts me. Going into a cluttered space is a visual overload and for me seems way too loud, which is proof that clutter has a negative impact on mental health. 

Better health

Decluttering can reduce stress levels and create a more peaceful environment. By removing items that are no longer needed, you will create a sense of order and control over your surroundings, which can be particularly helpful for those who struggle with anxiety or depression.

When you start to exercise your decluttering muscles you will begin to start forming new habits. As the piles of stuff diminish you will begin to feel lighter and this feeling will motivate you to keep practicing your new habits until they become second nature.

The very nature of habits do indeed become second nature, and you will come to find you are hardly even thinking about whatever it is you have trained yourself to do. It is like brushing your teeth. Do you even think about brushing your teeth or do you just brush your teeth because this is your habit? No and yes are my answers.

Clutter blindness is what I mean when I say we don’t even see all the stuff anymore. My pet peeve is dusty artificial green plants someone decorated with decades ago. I doubt they even see these at this point.

Overall, decluttering can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle, helping to create a more functional and stress-free living space. By taking the time to remove unnecessary items and organize your belongings, you can create a space that is both comfortable and efficient, allowing you to focus on the things that matter most.

The decluttering process

Like I said, decluttering is a task most folks do not look forward to doing. It is essential to let go of the past in order to move forward. I am thinking of, in particular, a person or couple downsizing from the home they have lived in for 30 plus years after having raised their family. Of course you don’t want to erase the past, it is unrealistic though to consider hauling it all with to your new presumably smaller home.

I am talking about decluttering old take out menus from eateries that have been closed for years and things like chipped mugs. I have discarded all the broken things I was going to repair and did not.

All the clothing that you will never wear again, get rid of it. If you donate gently used clothing someone else will benefit. Dress for Success is a cool organization that empowers women.

Why keep a dining service for 40 if you no longer entertain. These kinds of things. The things you surround yourself with today are the things that should reflect your life today.

Decluttering methodologies

There are various methods for decluttering, some methods involve sorting through items by category, rather than by room, and only keeping items that are either functional or beautiful. Another method is to keep items that only spark joy. This method means keeping the items that truly matter to you. I need to think more about this method.

I don’t know about you. My potato peeler does not spark much joy in my life. I do appreciate this little tool a lot though, when I am peeling a vegetable so I think I will keep this.

My decluttering method kicks in during the thought process of buying a non-consumable item. I ask myself the following questions.

*Do I need this? What function will this serve?
*Will this improve the quality of my life?
*Is this going to require maintenance?
*Will this item just be one more for the landfill?
*Is this object so exquisitely beautiful I cannot possibly live without it.

Most things do not make it pass this test. Mind you, I do not have an official questionnaire check list I run through each time I need something. My habit is so deeply ingrained I just intuitively think this way.

The rule that makes the most sense to me is the 80-20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle. In the world of decluttering the Pareto rule asserts that 80% of the time we use only 20% of our stuff. 

Think about this. How many cooking spatulas do you have? Do you usually use the same one or two spatulas?

This method is helpful for those who struggle with letting go of items.

an old jewelry box filled with what looks like colorful costume jewelry

Letting go of past possessions

Dealing with sentimental items

One of the biggest challenges in decluttering is dealing with sentimental items. These are possessions that hold a special place in your heart because they remind you of a person, place, or time in your life. It can be difficult to let go of these items because they are tied to memories and emotions.

To start, it’s important to identify which items are truly sentimental and which ones are just clutter. Ask yourself if the item brings you joy or serves a purpose in your life. If not, it may be time to let the object go.

Keep the memories without the clutter

Letting go of possessions doesn’t mean letting go of memories or emotions. It’s about creating space in your life for the things that truly matter to you. By taking it one step at a time and being gentle with yourself, you can move forward and let go of the past.

Keeping special mementos

For sentimental items that you do want to keep, consider finding a way to display or use them instead of letting them sit in a box. For example, if you have a collection of postcards from your travels, you could frame them and hang them on a wall or make a photo album.

If you still struggle with letting go of sentimental items, try taking a photo of the item before getting rid of it. This way, you can still hold onto the memory without holding onto the physical item.

Overcoming emotional barriers

Letting go of possessions can be an emotional process, especially if you feel guilty about getting rid of something or if it makes you feel sad. It’s important to acknowledge these emotions and work through them.

One way to overcome emotional barriers is to practice mindfulness and meditation. This can help you stay present in the moment and focus on your goals for decluttering. It can also help you identify any deprecating self-talk or beliefs that may be holding you back.

Small steps will get you there

If you are planning to do your decluttering project in small steps the key to success is consistency. Decide what and when you will declutter and schedule decluttering into your calendar as you would any other commitment.

When you have a clear and concise goal and a well thought out plan of execution, small steps will work better for some because you may find the process more tolerable. If something feels manageable we are much more inclined to follow through with consistency.

Why? Because many of us procrastinate doing the things we don’t want to do. Planning a whole weekend of decluttering instead of a game of golf and relaxing after a busy work week sounds pretty unappealing to many of us. Decluttering one object a day seems pretty manageable and worthwhile.

The word meories witten in cursive with a quill pen

Keep the memories without the clutter

Letting go of possessions doesn’t mean letting go of memories or emotions. It’s about creating space in your life for the things that truly matter to you. By taking it one step at a time and being gentle with yourself, you can move forward and let go of the past.

Organizing your space

Once you have decluttered your home, it’s important to organize your space. A lot of people have a lot more storage space than they think. Without organizational systems in place you have much less chance of keeping your home organized and maintained. I am not talking about costly built-ins and this type of thing.

One way to do this is by using systems, such as storage containers, shelving and drawer dividers. Things that you feel need organizing to make your life simple and less frustrating can be bought without a big investment. It’s important to have a designated place for everything, so you can easily find what you need.

Another way to organize your space is by using the one in, one out rule. This rule involves getting rid of an item every time you bring a new one into your home. This helps prevent clutter from building up again.

Overall, decluttering and organizing your home can be a freeing experience. By letting go of the past and focusing on the present, you can create a space that brings you joy and peace.

Use functional storage solutions

If you want to spend some money invest in storage solutions that are both functional and stylish. This could include hiring a carpenter to build a custom solution for your needs. My closets all have the California Closet wire style shelving and this works for me. Storage baskets, or under-bed storage containers are available.

By following these tips, you can maintain a clutter-free lifestyle and enjoy your beautiful home to the fullest.

Maintaining a clutter-free lifestyle

It’s important to stay organized and keep things in their designated place. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Create a designated spot for everything

Assign a specific spot for each item in your home. This will help you easily find things when you need them and prevent clutter from accumulating.

Get rid of unnecessary items

Take time to go through your belongings and get rid of anything you no longer need or use. This will free up space in your home and make it easier to stay organized. Getting rid of duplicates will free up space.

Keep like objects together

Group similar items together, such as all your kitchen utensils, appliances or cook books in the kitchen. Keep linens and towels together in the same area. This will make it easier to find what you need and prevent duplicates.

Use functional storage solutions

Invest in storage solutions that are both functional and stylish. This could include shelving units, storage baskets, or under-bed storage containers.

By following these tips, you can maintain a clutter-free lifestyle and enjoy your new home to the fullest.

white wall, white desk. wood desk chair. Coffee cup, book and small wheat colored dried floral arrangment

Clutter free is a simpler lifestyle

Listen, some people are messy and more power to them. Some of us are nutty neatniks. I would never be so bold to say one way is better than another. I will step out on a limb, though, and ponder that even a person with messy tendencies will have a much easier time if their physical space is clutter free. 

Decluttering your home can be a challenging but rewarding journey. By letting go of the past and focusing on what you truly need, you can create a space that is both functional and peaceful, whatever decluttering method you choose.

Throughout this article, we have explored various techniques and strategies for decluttering your home. there are many ways to approach this task. Ultimately, the key is to find what works best for you and your lifestyle.

In addition to the physical benefits of decluttering, there are also mental and emotional benefits. Letting go of excess possessions can help reduce stress and anxiety, and create a sense of clarity and focus. By embracing a minimalist mindset, you can cultivate a greater sense of gratitude and appreciation for the things that truly matter in life.

So whether you are just starting out on your decluttering journey or are looking to take it to the next level, remember that every step counts. By taking small, consistent actions over time, you can transform your home and your life.

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

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