In this new year, my husband and I have really been focusing on simplifying. We’ve felt emotionally and physically heavy from the amount of stuff we own. I was finding that my clothes weren’t fitting in my closet, the kids’ toys were disheveled, we couldn’t locate food in our pantry, etc. It was time to make a change. And it was a perk that we were moving because it was the best time to go through our stuff. The more stuff we could get rid of, the less we have to pack in a box, move, and unpack.
I treated it kind of like a game. How much stuff can we declutter and get rid of? And the more bags I filled and the more trips to Goodwill we took, the more free I felt. But, this can seem overwhelming, so I want to share with you some of the best places to start to declutter that aren’t hard but will make you feel so much better once they’re done.
And before I share those, I am still very much in process of doing this. I still own too many pairs of shoes, too many clothes, etc., but it’s about the process. Every one item I get rid of will make me one item closer to living a more simple lifestyle. Which in turn, will help me be more present with my husband and kids, spending less time organizing and cleaning the stuff we own.
Okay, let’s begin.
Kitchen cabinets. Do you have one (or maybe more) cabinets where you can only see a couple things in front and everything else is shoved in the back so deep you don’t even know what you own? Let’s fix that. Start with one kitchen cabinet. Think to yourself, “Do I use this?” I find that with kitchen stuff, it’s easy to justify keeping things just because you’ve used it once or twice. If it’s not a regular part of your kitchen, it’s most likely collecting dust and taking up space. Tell yourself that it’s okay to let go of things. For myself, I evaluated our pots, pans, and cups. How many do we actually need? Some things it’s nice & necessary to own more than one of, but other things, I only need one! For example, cups. We need more than 1 cup… we need to provide cups for our family everyday and for people when they come over, but do I need 12 mugs? Probably not. Or take pots and pans for example, do you need 3 of every size? Probably not. Free yourself of them. They take up precious kitchen space. Keep what you regularly use and get rid of what you don’t. Stop justifying things in your cabinets just because they’re always been there and you’ve never questioned its purpose before.
Food. Do you know what canned goods you own? Are you aware of what’s in your pantry? It can be so easy to forget what you have in the pantry so you just buy another one and then you’re left with 15 cans of black beans, 6 boxes of pasta, 8 sauces, and way too many snacks. Go through every item of food you own and ask yourself two things: 1- Is it expired? If so, throw it away. 2- Do we eat this food or use this condiment? If not, throw it away. Be aware of all the food you own so less goes to waste. And while you’re at it, you might as well wipe down the fridge too. We all know that gets crusty way quicker than expected.
Clothes. Start with your kids’ clothes. Do they need as many clothes as they have? Think through the current season and the next, what clothes do my kids need and what are they actually wearing/going to wear? Do you own a ton of cutesy outfits because they’re adorable, but you never gravitate towards putting your daughter in them? Then, get rid of them! Do they own 3 of the same style shirt? Is one better quality? Get rid of the others! Also, are there clothes in your kids’ closets that are too small for them? Put them in a labeled bin for a future child so they’re not taking up space in the dresser or closet. I bet there are also clothes with lots of stains that can be thrown. If your kid is not wearing it, get rid of it. There are shops you can sell nice kid’s clothes to (Once Upon A Child being one of the ones I know of).
Now onto your clothes. If you’re like me and love clothes, this is a bit of a bigger task. One thing I did when going through my clothes was think about the last time I wore it/how often I wore it in the last 12 months. It can be so easy to keep clothes based on memories or that thought of, “But what if I will need this?” Don’t keep clothes based on ‘what ifs.” If it doesn’t currently fit, get rid of it (unless you’re currently pregnant obviously). Keep clothes that bring you joy, that you feel confident in, etc. Keeping a more minimal wardrobe comes with its perks. It’s easier to mix and match outfits on a whim rather than having a lot of pieces that you can only wear at a specific location or with something else that’s very specific.
Decor. Everyone loves a home to feel cozy, welcoming, & cute. But, this does not mean that every inch of every mantle has to be filled. This does not mean that you need bins and bins of seasonal decor for every holiday. But, this does mean, you can be intentional with what you do own. That the decor pieces you put out actually bring you joy. Don’t hang a picture frame just because you have a free wall. Be okay with empty space. A cluttered house truly makes your mind feel cluttered too. And too many decorations isn’t always a good thing. I went through our multiple bins of decor pieces and actually thought to myself, do I see myself or my husband using this to style our home or future home? If I even had to question it slightly, I got rid of it. It’s as easy as that. My husband and I are currently reading the book, Cozy Minimalism, and we love it! It’s all about simplifying your home but not for the sake of losing it’s cozy feel. Get it a read if that sounds interesting to you!
Organization. If the items in your house have a place, you’re more likely to put them back in their place, resulting in things being more organized in your home, resulting in less stress and clutter. This can be done through creating systems and good organization skills for your stuff. Baskets are my best friend… I’m not joking, ask my husband LOL. When we moved last time, some people jokingly made fun of the amount of baskets I owned, but guess what? They help organize your home & stuff! I use them for toy rotations in the playroom, food in the pantry, hats and accessories in the bedrooms. etc. You’ll end up simplifying the amount of things you own by organizing them this way. You’ll realize what you truly have & what you actually need by having things fit into a small bin/basket.
Do you feel more free? I do! This is a process for sure and isn’t an overnight change. But each decision to declutter or get rid of an item is truly making your home more simplified.
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