Less is More: Purge the Excess, Live Clutter-free, and Enjoy Life

You don’t need an expert to tell you that you have too much. From the 27 pairs of shoes that Whole Shoe Liquidator says you have in your closet to the arsenal of small kitchen appliances you never use, you have more belongings than you actually need. While this is certainly wasteful, the clutter this excess brings can be hazardous to your health, your home, and your relationships. However, you can change that starting today. Here’s how.

Start with the Obvious

The first step at decluttering your life is to make a quick sweep of your environment. If it hasn’t moved in the last 90 days, then there’s a good chance that it’s going to continue collecting dust. In the bedroom, your closet is probably hiding a horde of unneeded clothes, shoes, and accessories. So, clean it out by throwing everything on your bed and then separating what you find into categories. Be honest with yourself as you put the closet back in order, and don’t be shy about donating items you no longer use.

Repeat this process in each bedroom. Hang each item backward so that you can easily see at the end of the year what hasn’t left the closet. These items probably don’t bring you happiness, and they do not serve a practical purpose in your life.

Examine and Evaluate

You are off to a great start, but there’s plenty of work to be done. Spend some time evaluating your home and lifestyle. Pay attention to the types of things you use the most. For example, if you cook nightly, you may be better off investing in high-quality cookware than in pieces that will sit idle in the cabinets. MakeSpace.com asserts that choosing quality over quantity can save you time, which is your most valuable commodity. As an added benefit, there is the possibilty that quality items last longer and are worth repairing, ultimately contributing less waste to the landfill. Remember when people would buy quality with the plan of passing things down to the next generation? You can take this philosophy into all aspects of your life, including your toiletries, personal keepsakes, and entertainment items.

Make Household Chores Fun

If you have kids, or if you just don’t like cleaning, you’ll need to come up with innovative ways to make the process less of a hassle. Take recycling, for example. While it may be easier to toss your garbage into a single can, the fact of the matter is is that much of what you throw away can harm the environment (a graphic example is the Pacific Ocean Garbage Vortex). Find a visible spot where you can put recycling bins for paper, plastic, and cans. Let your children know that the family will enjoy a special prize when each is filled.

You can also make cleaning a game by using a points system to encourage organization. When your children earn a certain amount of points for doing chores, reward them with an afternoon out or let them choose the family’s dinner the next evening. Speaking of dinner, since your kitchen is one of the most-used rooms in the home, you will also benefit from enlisting your family’s help in preparing and cleaning up after meals. Not only will this keep things tidy, but it will also help to instill a sense of responsibility in the youngest members of your household.

Finally, create some house rules. Don’t allow toys in the living room, kitchen, or bathroom, and create a toy timeout for games, action figures, and stuffed animals left on the floor. This can be something as simple as a storage tote where these wayward items go for two or three days when they are not where they belong. The kids may eventually figure out that they don’t need the latest, greatest piece of plastic to have fun.

If you’ve ever looked around your home and felt overwhelmed or anxious, it may be time to downsize your list of belongings. Doing so will not only free up time for yourself and your family but will also make it easier to keep your home clean and your life under control.

Guest author, Suzie Wilson, is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success. Suzie is the founder and creative director of Happier Home and can be reached at info@happierhome.net.

Featured image source: Pixabay

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