It is difficult to generalize, but my own experiences have revealed an often-ignored reality—deep down, everybody prefers their personal space to be clean. I have come across a few exceptions, like advertising guys neck-deep in work with assignments flooding their cabins. Besides these few instances, most people seem to feel more relaxed when their stuff is not littered and there is proper organization. Every morning, this viewpoint is enforced as I sip coffee by my bedside. The room is perhaps at its cleanest because the daily churn hasn’t started yet. My mind can trace everything that had happened yesterday. I am better at introspecting and making mental notes for the day to follow.
Exactly what is decluttering?
Use any dictionary to locate the word “clutter” and you will find meanings synonymous with mess, untidiness, and confusion. In its most literal meaning, clutter can be interpreted as litter or trash-like stuff. In a more practical explanation, clutter refers to a state of disorder where things are not maintained in an orderly and useful manner. Such clutter eats-up precious space. It exudes negative vibes of being weighed down, suffocated, and confused. Decluttered surroundings can make you feel anxious. Decluttering refers to the process of rearranging/restructuring your personal space. There is no scale for decluttering. You can declutter your table or the entire room.
Confused about how to declutter? Read ahead to find out how to organize your life…
Some people complain that maintaining an organized and neat personal space is difficult. I beg to differ. For starters, it is not something too technical or time consuming. Some basic discipline and a couple of daily habits are enough to keep you decluttered for life. The results are almost instantaneous. Every time you will step into an uncluttered room, you will feel liberated, as if you can breathe easily.
I believe that the projects people undertake for their own benefit have a greater chance of being completed successfully. So before you start on the mission of organization, talk to yourself. Accept the fact that your space can be better managed. Enforce the realization that you are decluttering for your own, personal good.
My initial attempts with decluttering have taught me a simple trick—start small and you cannot fail. Don’t make decluttering a weekend project. Start with a closet or a rack of shelves. If you fear that inspecting your room will reveal gross stockpiling, start with the garage instead. Give yourself time to come to terms with the fact that you have packed too much into too little a space. Remember that baby steps work best when starting something alien to your senses. I have developed a weekly regimen where I spend about 30 minutes to take stock of my room. I follow this with a quick round of categorizing and arranging things.
Keep it simple—Don’t make decluttering elaborate
Create a few categories according to which you can segregate items. For instance, the three groups can be comfort, functionality, and aesthetics. Functional items are needed regularly. These should be packed into easily-accessible storage spaces. Aesthetical stuff refers to articles of visual or artistic beauty only. I have realized that such goods are best managed when kept at a minimum number. Comfort-related items might not be visually appeasing. However, they are vital for you to feel relaxed.
You can make another group for things that don’t fall into these three categories. These can be—dumping and giving/selling.
Maintaining the keep pile is perhaps the most difficult task. You need to be very honest with yourself. I used to be a dedicated clothes’ hoarder until I realized that most of these clothes never get worn. The keep pile should contain things that you are sure of being immediately useful. The giving/selling pile can be overwhelming too. Most folks trying decluttering for the first time are shocked about how huge this pile can become. Selling used things is easy today. Just use one of the numerous online classifieds that allow you to sell your belongings for a reasonable price. If you know about the happiness of donating stuff, the process becomes even simpler.
Sometimes you need to be heartless
Like me, most folks have a tendency to be a bit conservative when it comes to dumping stuff. However, there is little else you can do with junk. You might be shocked at the growing pile of things that are of little or no use, but sometimes dumping is the only solution. Don’t have second thoughts about disposing things that were once dear to you. What is damaged beyond redemption is litter and you need to get rid of it. Don’t mislead yourself by making unrealistic plans about fixing such things.
Don’t be wasteful
You can be good at decluttering and still be environmentally-conscious. Paper and paper-based items can be recycled. Don’t dump paint and other chemical solvents into the sink. Harmful chemicals need to be packed and discarded accordingly. Try to think of ways to salvage some utility from what seems like absolute waste. For instance, things containing cellulose or plant matter can be used for making compost.