No matter how much you hate it, decluttering is not a four-letter word. In fact, decluttering is an essential part of being able to have an organized, functional house. Whether you want to declutter before you sell your house or you simply want to lead a more simple life, downsizing your personal belongings is a crucial part of getting organized.

Unfortunately, many homeowners aren’t sure where to start when it comes to home organization. If you’ve lived in the same place for several years, chances are that you’ve accumulated quite a bit of stuff. While it’s never easy to get started with the decluttering process, it is completely possible to ditch the junk and start leading the minimalist life you’ve been dreaming about.

First off, you need to remember that all those things you own really are just things. But, for many homeowners, personal belongings have a way of becoming much more than just objects. They become special holders of memories. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to remember a special moment in your life, you need to remember that the memory lies within yourself—not in these items.

If you have a hard time getting rid of something that you really love but that you never use, ask yourself why you’re so attached to it. Is it because you still remember finding that seashell on the beach? Is it because that was the dress you were wearing when you and your spouse first kissed? Is it because your mom gave you that book before she passed away?

No matter what emotional ties you may have to objects, realize that keeping every special thing is one of the biggest inhibitors to organization. You’ll need to learn to let things go and to accept that the memory does not exist within the item. The memory exists within you.

Next, take your time choosing what goes and what stays. Many homeowners try to rush through the process (hmmm, possibly because there are more fun things to do?). While simply getting through it and getting the job done is a worthwhile effort, you don’t want to become overwhelmed or burnt out. If you do, chances are that you may quit—and thus never finish cleaning your house! Instead of being hasty, find a method.

First, pick one room and get rid of anything that’s piled on the floor. It sounds crazy, but you’d be surprised how many people start stacking up random things on the floor because they simply run out of room everywhere else—something that, I dare say, is a particularly common problem in home offices and dens. Spend an hour or two working on just this one room, gradually working your way from bottom to top. When you’re finished, call it quits for the day and take a break.

The next day, choose a different room. Lather, rinse, and repeat for several days until you’ve done each and every room that needs work. Remember, downsizing isn’t something that you have to conquer in a day or even a week. You have plenty of time, so just be thorough and try not to get overwhelmed.

Oh, and on a side note, it never hurts to have some killer tunes on while you work.

Finally, it’s also important that you decide what you are going to do with the things that you don’t want or need anymore. Many homeowners simply throw things away, but others want to do something meaningful with their possessions, particularly if these possessions were meaningful to them. Sometimes knowing that your belongings are going to a good home can be very helpful when it’s time to say goodbye.

Consider donating your belongings to a local women’s shelter, a thrift shop, or even a local church. If you prefer to make money off of your unwanted items, you could sell them online. While this means that the item will have to stay in your house for a few more days until it sells, offering an item online means that you’re going to get a bit of extra cash for something that was just sitting in your house (hello abundance!). The added bonus here is that the promise of a payout can be a great motivational tool.

Giving your home a good purge every so often can be a daunting task. But once you do manage to get through it, you not only feel proud of your accomplishment, but you feel loads lighter in house, body, and spirit.

 

Good luck!