In less than 3 months from now, we will have to move out because our rental contract is coming to an end and the landlord would like to sell the flat. It’s a situation that could be stressful for some, but this is routine to me. I would need more than 2 hands to count how many times I moved to a different place in my life… I just like a regular change of scenery! Now I can tell you that: it doesn’t matter how many times you did it before, the packing part is always the most painful. In between moves, I always seem to find a way to accumulate too many things.
Letting things go is not an easy task
I have so many clothes that I need 2 big wardrobes to fit everything in. Not because I buy too much but because I never get rid of anything. T-shirts I used to wear 10 years ago (it’s almost sentimental), dresses I never wear (but I might some day, we never know), the list is long. My desk is full of “stuff”, drawers and cupboards are overflowing. A lot of free space represents danger: I will find a way to fill up the space somehow, it’s like a pattern that keeps repeating itself. I now realise it’s very similar to how my mind works: I’m constantly overthinking.
Everything happens for a reason so I’ll use my next move to declutter properly. There’s no better motivation to make a start than when you have a countdown hanging over your head. There is only so much I can procrastinate this time, I have no choice but to do it! And the last thing I want is to fill the emptied space with more things again. My new objective is to keep a more minimalist approach to life. Because at the end of the day, you don’t own things, they own you.
Why should you declutter and learn how to live with less?
Below are some good reasons why:
- It’s an excellent exercise to learn how to let things go (physically but also mentally) – You will get more space to move around.
- A home with less stuff will make you feel more calm, peaceful and relaxed – Your energy levels will rise.
- It’s easier to clean and tidy up when there is less stuff – You will have more time for yourself.
- Choosing to own less means choosing to buy less – it will also save you money!
In so many ways, decluttering your space will help free your mind and have a positive impact on your wellbeing. Not only you’ll clear up the mess but it will force you to come to terms with things you subconsciously link with the past. And who knows, maybe you will find some hidden gems in the process too: things you forgot you even had under that pile of clutter!
Tips to make a good start
From my own experience, this is what I would suggest:
- Break down your home into smaller areas
- List what requires decluttering: closet, desk, bookshelves, etc
- Start with small and easy things you can get rid of easily
- What doesn’t have any value and is utterly useless, contributes to the mess and doesn’t make you smile when you look at it
- No difficult decisions at this point
- Prepare 2 boxes: one for unwanted things you want to sell, one for unwanted things you want to give away
- Does it have monetary value? Put it in the “to sell” box
- Do you have someone in mind who could use it? Any charity who could benefit from it? Put it in the “to give away” box (to prioritise if you don’t need the money)
- Ask yourself the right questions
- When was the last time you used the item? What are the odds you’re ever going to need it again? What do you feel when you touch the item?
- Remember you need much less than you think you need
- Don’t stop until your space looks spacious and harmonious
- Organise what’s left to keep the space clean
How to do it in a sustainable way
Going through a big decluttering will help you realise how much you own but have never used, and will prevent you from doing the same thing again. By consuming less, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a greener world. Not buying things that are unnecessary helps improve the environment!
“As consumers we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy.”Emma Watson
Before you make a purchase, you should commit to using what you have first. Do you really need to buy this new jumper? Does your kid really need this new extra toy? Some things are obviously reusable, but some others would need a bit more imagination. Look at them with a creative eye: maybe that old piece of linen can be used to wrap up a gift?
Some things you own might not be of any use to you, but someone else will definitely use it. Whether it’s a family member, a friend or someone you don’t know via charities, it’s definitely a good thing to do. What’s a better feeling than supporting local non-profits in your community? This is also probably the best chance to give your unwanted items a second life.
If there’s no better option than discarding it, do it the right way. Recycling stuff will reduce the amount sent to landfill, and make use of resources already available. Remember to keep your cardboard and other recyclables clean and read your local recycling guide.
If you are thinking of decluttering too (whether you’re moving out or not), I know it can seem daunting but you can do it!
Big Girl x
Some excellent advice here! I really need to get to work on de-cluttering.
Hopefully this will help you make a start! 🙂
Although I am somewhat of a minimalist, having 3 kids results in a massive accumulation of stuff. And then my entire home feels so cluttered that it’s difficult to relax. Your post has inspired me to select a small area to start instead of feeling overwhelmed by everything. Thank you so much for posting this incredibly helpful piece!
You’re making an excellent point, it’s even more difficult to keep a minimalist approach with a bigger family. Good luck decluttering, you’ll feel so much better!
I have such a hard time getting rid of t-shirts. Like, I have some that are vintage that were totally contemporary when I bought them.
Why does that drawer have so much gravity?
Then we have the same issue. I think the question we need to ask ourselves for each item is: Does it make you feel happy to keep it? If yes, keep it. Otherwise… You know what to do 🙂
Chances are you won’t miss it because you won’t even think of it in the future!
It’s so funny because I’ve read a lot of blogs that talk about the same topic, but none of them explain the situation as well as this one does.
Thank you! I’m glad I can help 🙂
I find it so hard to get rid of stuff, but these are great tips! It really does help to de-clutter.
Me too… But I realised I didn’t miss any of the stuff I threw away in the past. Let’s do it again until home feels more peaceful!
This is awesome!
I remember doing a similar thing where I only use 33 clothes for 3 months and it worked. Slowly working on having fewer items and not buying anymore. This is helpful especially when you always moving houses
That’s an idea! There’s so much difference between what we think we need and what we really need… Thanks for the tip 🙂
It was moving house that really set me off on my decluttering journey too! And I’m so much happier for it. It also automatically makes you more mindful of accumulating more stuff – I often find myself putting stuff back when I go shopping because I don’t want to create more clutter and mess up my organizational systems lol. It’s good for my mental health and good for my bank account too – it’s a win-win!
Sometimes life events force you to do the right things! Good to hear you’re happier now with less stuff 🙂 It’s definitely worth doing x
I couldn’t agree more about things being hard to let go of at times. But your point on donating them makes it easier knowing that they’re going to a new home and getting extra use out of.
Great post with great tips!!
Lettings things go is one thing, how you get rid of them is another. Donating should always be the preferred option!
Great! I just finished reading The Year of Less where the author talks about a similar topic and you have a point here! I also donated half of my things when moving out and I felt so free and refreshing after that.
That’s amazing! And I need to read that book. Definitely on my to-do list now 🙂
YES, YES AND YES. We just moved and it was after I sold a house in 2019. So I was able to do this twice recently. I wish I had been doing it all along on not waiting for a move. This will definitely be about how I live going forward.
Moving to a new place is the perfect occasion to do it, you have no choice… And it’s half the battle to know how you want to live going forward!
Yes! I am a huge fan of decluttering – so much good comes from taking the unnecessary stuff out of our homes.
I usually do it whenever I move (which happens quite regularly) but I should take the habit to do it more often. That will be my next challenge!