One of the main reasons someone would consider decluttering is simply because they are running out of space. There is something to be said for reorganising objects and improving storage options, maybe adding some storage space in previously unused areas, of course. But there is a difference between simple “reshuffling” and actually “decluttering”.
Yes: efficient use of space comes into the whole idea of decluttering, but it is not the primary goal. The real goal here is to limit the amount of stuff that we have and keep in order to be able to easily and quickly find and use what we have. In that respect, “reshuffling” is just a way to condense what is there in order to be able to add more – a diametrically opposed way of dealing with the issue at hand. AND also a much less efficient one in the long run. Why? Because condensing means that – whenever you need something from that condensed space – you’ll first have to know where to look, then find the space to unpack in order to use what you were looking for.
Let’s be honest for a moment: this whole procedure leads to a new set of things that clutter up your space because we are likely to leave the box sitting right there in order to place the item back in it later on. Right? Are you likely to do this straight away? Of course not! And – tadah! - you have now created proper clutter in your space. Decluttering, therefore, cannot mean “putting away” but rather “sticking to what you need and getting rid of whatever you don't need – and are unlikely to need anytime soon, or ever again.
It’s all about giving yourself permission to let go of things you suspect could be useful ‘someday’, ‘just in case’, ‘because they were expensive to buy’, because you received them as a gift, etc. All of these reasons COULD be valid, but oftentimes they are just an idea we have created to keep us from taking that decision to let go. Every single one of those items is holding you back whenever you come across it because each time you might get upset by it because it is in the way, you have no proper use for it, you do not like the look of it, or you are reminded that you made a wrong choice in the past buying it.
My rule of thumb: if it isn’t useful now and has not been for a while, let it go! If you know it has been or is being used, keep it.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.